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Jae Onasi
03-14-2007, 12:41 AM
Jae + Dave Barry columns = Danger.
Well, dangerous only if you consider getting assaulted by semi-bad humor dangerous.

This tech 'adventure' (to put it nicely) was just too funny not to pass on.
Note from Technical Support Hell (http://blogs.herald.com/dave_barrys_blog/2007/03/notes_from_tech.html)

Our tech adventures:

1. Trying to install Windows xp service pack 2 on my laptop.

I carefully downloaded the update and installed it. My computer decided that service pack 2 was Evil and Of the Devil, and would not start at all after that.
I called tech support. I spoke with a very nice man from a country across the ocean. We exchanged pleasantries about how awful it was for him to be working at 3am to help me out of whatever stupid thing I'd done to my computer. After much thought along with numerous questions and instructions without a resolution of the problem, he decided he couldn't understand my English accent, apparently, and referred me to someone who spoke True American.

We were absolutely assured by this new, really-from-Microsoft tech support guy that this 'should be working just fine' and would I please allow him to get on my computer to help me through the problem. Well, since the computer refused to play nice with xp sp2, that helpful (and nosy) thought died a terrible death. After a couple hours of me doing whatever he told me to do short of dancing in a loincloth down Michigan Avenue in Chicago, he finally said 'You know, let me give you the instructions on how to uninstall this.' That solved the problem.

2. Jimbo replacing a DVD drive.

Just remember this, spouses do not let spouses buy computer parts drunk. Or in Jimbo's case, because he was entirely sober, without consulting his Goddess Wife Jae Who Researches Things Prior to Buying Them So We Don't Drive All Over Creation Returning the Wrong Thing.

This adventure started when the DVD drive died while we were playing NWN2. Since Jimbo was close to the end of the game and ready to battle the King of Shadows and General Uber-Badness, this problem went from 'Merely Bad' to 'A Disaster of Epic Proportions'. Thus, we needed a new DVD drive, like, yesterday.

Rather than order the thing on the internet and pay overnight shipping which was still cheaper than Best Buy, he elected to go to Best Buy. After returning about 3 hours later from what is only about a 20 minute drive with a new DVD drive, a bottle of Diet Pepsi, a large bag of peanut M&Ms and 3 CDs of blues music, he attempted to install the part. And promptly discovered he had gotten the wrong type of DVD drive. So, this time (at his Goddess Wife Jae's suggestion), he actually took the broken one with him so that he would know exactly what to get. This proved to be more successful, and feeling the Call of the King of Shadows, he actually made it back home in 48 minutes.

Our trials were not nearly over. He attempted to replace the DVD drive, only to discover that the new one was taller than the old one by about .065 mm. However, this miniscule amount was sufficient to ensure that the DVD would not sit in that slot. After much thought (and more Diet Pepsi because caffeine always helps when you're working on delicate wiring), he determined that reversing the order of the CD and DVD players would solve the problem. He hooked them up...nothing happened.

At this point I decided to consult the trusty Help Desk called the SWK chatbox. Fortunately, the chat was fairly full of computer savvy people, including I think stingerhs, and Kitty Kitty, who was not inebriated at that point, I am happy to announce. Kitty was more than happy to explain to us the concept of master and slave, and in a complete fit of unrelated nostalgia, since Kitty, Jimbo, and I are all age 29 (multiple times), we all promptly broke into our rendition of the Depeche Mode song "Master and Servant" and so the chat devolved into some singing and a discussion of 80's one-hit wonders for awhile.

After Jimbo reorganized the drives' social structure and made the DVD the master over the CD slave, we thought our troubles were over. Jimbo powered up the computer, only to be met with the message that the computer was not recognizing the hard drive, as if it were North Korea and we had not yet normalized diplomatic relations. I explained the problem to the delightful people in the chat box (you really all do rock!), and Kitty and others talked us through possible solutions, including making sure all connections are tight, the power supply is plugged in, bios settings, power, maybe the HD also died, etc.

Now you should learn a very important and brilliant adage from the medical field: "Common things are common." It is far more likely that someone did something stupid and earned the consequences, and that it really is something insanely easy to fix, like an unplugged wire. You should also learn to listen to your Goddess Wife when she says "Make sure all the connections are tight!!" Then you should remember that wires don't just hang in mid-air in a computer box without some kind of reason.

After this problem frustrated all of us on the chat for another 1/2 hour or more, Jimbo was once more poring over all the switches, the system drain, and so forth when he suddenly says "Hey, I wonder what this wire is for--it's just kind of hanging here! Looks like it fits into a slot on the HD!" So approximately an hour after Kitty first suggested he check to make sure all the wires were plugged in tight, it finally was fixed. And the King of Shadows met his untimely death.

I'd love to hear what other adventures people have had....

stingerhs
03-14-2007, 01:28 AM
hehe, definitely a good thread idea. :D

as i've been working in a small computer store for quite a while now, i have a number of excellent stories that i could tell you. i think that for now, "The Guidebook on How to Solve Computer Issues" would be a great place to start. hehe....

How to Solve Computer Issues

Step 1 - Determine what the problem is. If the problem has randomly cropped up and is complete with an error message, skip down to Step 3. If the problem is a typical Windows problem or if you caused the problem or if you just don't know what the problem is, continue to Step 2.

Step 2 - Commence smacking your head against your monitor. If you require medical assistance afterwards or you still can't figure out what the problem is, dump give the computer to a friend or relative and skip down to Step 8. If you suddenly have a bright idea and figure out what the problem is, continue to Step 3.

Step 3 - First things first in problem solving: Google it (www.google.com). The massive amount of responses, especially in the case of a Microsoft or Windows related problem, should be enough to provide you with a solution. If you are provided with a solution, skip to Step 8. If the problem still persists, continue to Step 4.

Step 4 - Isolate the problem to a specific category such as hardware, software, or Windows. From there, use Google (www.google.com) to find several websites, or preferably web forums, that are dedicated to that category. Once there, pray to the gurus of that forum, and in the case of a Microsoft or Windows related problem, pray to them for forgiveness, mercy, and divine intervention on your pending doom. If, in the midst of their heckling at you for such a petty problem, they provide you with a solution, skip to Step 8. If it was a Microsoft or Windows related problem and you still don't have a solution, skip to Step 6. If your problem still persists, pray to them to spare you from hacking your computer and thus causing further problems since they have your IP address and continue to Step 5.

Step 5 - Determine the creator of the software/hardware and call the creator's tech support. While on hold for two hours, refrain from banging your head against the monitor. When you are finally connected to an operator, you can finally start banging your head against the monitor once you realize that the operator can only speak fluent Englian (or Indish, which ever language seems to make the most sense). If you can manage to make out what they're saying and come up with a solution, continue to Step 8. If you just simply can't understand what they're saying or the solution they provide you with doesn't work, continue to Step 6.

Step 6 - Go to a hardware store such as Lowe's or Home Depot. Once there, pick out a good, strong axe and buy it. You can, of course, not bother doing that if you already own an equivalent blunt object; in that case, go retrieve the object. When you return, put the axe or equivalent object to good use by smacking your computer with the blade until it quits whimpering. If this manages to solve the problem, skip to Step 8. If it doesn't, continue to Step 7.

Step 7 - Go to a computer store and buy a new computer. Once you return, skip setting up the computer to run Windows and wipe the hard drive. To avoid future problems that are completely inevitable, install Ubuntu Linux (www.ubuntu.com). Once you finish setting up your computer, continue to Step 8.

Step 8 - Sit back and relax with a cup of coffee for a job well done. If you required medical attention earlier, then make use of the phone and call your local emergency line. Problem Solved

Jeff
03-14-2007, 01:15 PM
http://youtube.com/watch?v=FVbf9tOGwno

CSI
03-15-2007, 12:14 AM
Folks...Computers are like us. They can be sick, they need to eat, they need to use the toilet. [What, don't get it? The "food" is electric. The "toilet" is the heatsinks and fans.] How you treat your computer, the computer would treat you that way. In other words, if you treat your computer miserably, your computer would return that favor to you.

Astrotoy7
03-15-2007, 10:30 AM
call me a braggart, but Ive never been truly beaten by any tech issue. I have sometimes determined conclusively there isnt a solution to something(eg. compatibility issues). but I always see a problem through as I view it as a learning opportunity. I sometimes post questions here and other places and almost always pop back and answer it myself later.

Im quite convinced that a run of the mill techie is not that knowledgable at all..... so many times ive popped into service centres and pc shops and asked questions that resulted in blank stares..... eg. "hi! do you sell SLI bridges?"

What I *really* love is when I ask for one thing and a crafty salesperson tries to sell me something else, insisting that what I want doesnt exist:

Astro: "hello, Im after the xfx 7950 gx2"
PC Store Clown: "oh yes, this one is very good" (proceeds to pull out the xfx 7300)
Astro: "No, I was after the 7950gx2, an sli, dual slot pci express card"
PC Store Clown: "Yes, this is PCI express" (points to logo on box)
Astro: "No, Im after the 7950 gx2!!"
PC Store Clown: "No such card. I have never heard of it."
Astro: Response Deleted :p

I also keep a mental scoreboard of times Ive helped myself and others/friends solve something a professional, paid techie couldnt.

Astro v Compaq : 2-0 (installing xp pro, locked partitions)
Astro v Belkin : 1-0 (DCHP config)
Astro v Netgear : 4-0 (IP conflicts, NAT problems, packet loss, 802.11g conundrums)
Astro v Network Admin(at my workplace) : 1-0 ; These server-serving types sometimes lose touch with the hardware basics.... He emailed me about disabling a chassis intrusion error message. My 'proper job' is working in a community health service as a physiotherapist, so its weird being emailed by 'the IT guy' about such a thing. Still, I fixed it :D

@Jae ... the person across the ocean was most likely not in your timezone ;) (unless of course you have already factored that in your anecdote) My friend had exactly the same problem with a netgear tech from India. He had to ring 3 times to get one who could understand him and vice versa. Mind you, this guy is married to an Indian lady, so is quite used to the accent..... if he was having trouble, others would find it more of a challenge...

lolz to it all I say

@ Moels link.... I hate that Vista shredder prick. He's a dud for not checking compatibility of his components. He could have returned, sold or donated that disc to a school. Idiot. :blast5:

@stinger... love that Linux propaganda :p .... I love the idea of open source, but for those that arent professionals or enthusiasts, its a nebulous mystery. I hope the promises of collaboration oft hinted at with the likes of apple and MS will one day be realised....I am definitely not holding my breath though.

mtfbwya

Jae Onasi
03-15-2007, 03:40 PM
(with some snippage)
Astro: "hello, Im after the xfx 7950 gx2"
PC Store Clown: "oh yes, this one is very good" (proceeds to pull out the xfx 7300)
Astro: "No, I was after the 7950gx2, an sli, dual slot pci express card"
PC Store Clown: "Yes, this is PCI express" (points to logo on box)
Astro: "No, Im after the 7950 gx2!!"
PC Store Clown: "No such card. I have never heard of it."
Astro: Response Deleted :p

:D Ingenious, aren't they?


Astro v Compaq : 2-0 (installing xp pro, locked partitions)
Astro v Belkin : 1-0 (DCHP config)
Astro v Netgear : 4-0 (IP conflicts, NAT problems, packet loss, 802.11g conundrums),
Astro v Network Admin(at my workplace) : 1-0 ;

Gotta love modern technology and its helpful tech support. :)

@Jae ... the person across the ocean was most likely not in your timezone ;) (unless of course you have already factored that in your anecdote) I think I was calling around 4:30 pm my time or something like that. When I heard an Indian accent, I asked him where he was at, and he confirmed India. I said 'my, it must have been the middle of the night there', and he told me it was 3am his time. I didn't know people could sound that chipper and happy to help at 3am. If someone woke me up at 3 am to talk about computer stuff, I'd be considering potential homicidal techniques.


My friend had exactly the same problem with a netgear tech from India. He had to ring 3 times to get one who could understand him and vice versa. Mind you, this guy is married to an Indian lady, so is quite used to the accent..... if he was having trouble, others would find it more of a challenge...
Oh, I could understand him pretty well, actually. :) Maybe he was used to a New Yorker accent or something, and I sounded strange to him with my nasal Wisconsin accent. :D

He could have returned, sold or donated that disc to a school. Idiot.Too true, especially the donating part, and he would have gotten a tax deduction for the donation, too. The shredding of the manual was funny, though. How often have we read something in those only to be completely confused?

Instructional manual: Please insert the raniskran into slot A.
Jae (looking at diagram): I don't see slot A on the diagram. And you know, this raniskran doesn't look anything like the raniskran in the display.
(Jae spends an hour trying to make things fit according to the instructions, and in frustration throws the manual in the air. It comes down upside down, and suddenly makes total sense).

Or even better--the ones translated from Chinese or German or something into English by a person who does not speak English fluently, but has somewhere found a Chinese-English/English-Chinese dictionary from 1950:

Manual: Inside the box first the raniskran you then on the maternal piece of lumber in place it not the tabs careful place snap being to break.

What he meant to say: First place the raniskran inside the computer case, then you snap it in place on the motherboard, being careful not to break the tabs.


@stinger... love that Linux propaganda :p .... I love the idea of open source, but for those that arent professionals or enthusiasts, its a nebulous mystery.
When I think about looking into Linux, I look at some stuff briefly, and have this moment of "meanwhile, Jae grows up in Kansas, wondering what the hell is going on." Then I go back to my current MS OS grumbling and say a few more choice words while I try to google a problem to get it figured out.

I hope the promises of collaboration oft hinted at with the likes of apple and MS will one day be realised....I am definitely not holding my breath though.
mtfbwya

I've gone, let's see, 26 years so far without doing CPR, I'd prefer you weren't the first after passing out from holding your breath for an eternity. :D

stingerhs
03-16-2007, 12:42 AM
Im quite convinced that a run of the mill techie is not that knowledgable at all..... so many times ive popped into service centres and pc shops and asked questions that resulted in blank stares..... eg. "hi! do you sell SLI bridges?"

What I *really* love is when I ask for one thing and a crafty salesperson tries to sell me something else, insisting that what I want doesnt exist:i love people like that when they come into my store (i work at an independent computer store). they always get so surprised that i actually know what i'm talking about. they also get even more surprised whenever i start making suggestions to them on a better solution for their problem. to top it off, that actually helps my sales total rather significantly as well. granted, that's when i'm in the sales room. otherwise, i'm in the back doing the PC repair work which i don't really mind doing.@stinger... love that Linux propaganda :p .... I love the idea of open source, but for those that arent professionals or enthusiasts, its a nebulous mystery.actually, Ubuntu is just as easy to install as Windows or OS X. not to mention that the initial setup (booting Ubuntu from the disk) makes it a snap to figure out how you want your hardware configured before you actually load it onto the HD. neither Windows nor OS X has that kind of functionality.

but i digress. a lot of people don't have enough tech knowledge to install Windows Vista (which is actually quite easy if the hardware is compatible), and Ubuntu does have its share of hardware issues as well. of the OS X installs that i've done, all of those have gone without a hitch, but then again, i've only loaded OS X a grand total of 5 times. :^:

milo
03-16-2007, 12:52 AM
@ Moels link.... I hate that Vista shredder prick. He's a dud for not checking compatibility of his components. He could have returned, sold or donated that disc to a school. Idiot. :blast5:

Why would he do that when he could use it to get more views on YouTube™?!

Det. Bart Lasiter
03-16-2007, 01:34 AM
Step 7 - Go to a computer store and buy a new computer. Once you return, skip setting up the computer to run Windows and wipe the hard drive. To avoid future problems that are completely inevitable, install Ubuntu Linux (www.ubuntu.com). Once you finish setting up your computer, continue to Step 8.
Psh. You know KDE is superior.

http://www.pro-linux.de/NB2/images/indiv/Torvalds_Linus.jpg

You will OBEY The Linus.

Ray Jones
03-16-2007, 03:36 AM
Yup, that is correct! So there is Kubuntu, then. But by all means, Debian is right what I need.

--

I NEVER talk to PC store monkeys or ask them for advice or the like, because I always know what I want, so it's like going in, getting the stuff and off we go. I case I'm undecided there's always the text on the packaging which is in 88% of the cases twice as informative and helpful as the guy who wants to sell me something.

Funny facts about Ray and technical extremes? Hmm.

Det. Bart Lasiter
03-16-2007, 03:00 PM
But by all means, Debian is right what I need.
Yep. Unless you spend 4 hours ****ing around with ALSA trying to get your headphones to work then realize that all channels are muted when you open up ALSA mixer >_>

Jae Onasi
03-18-2007, 09:36 PM
It's tough being human. :D

Det. Bart Lasiter
03-18-2007, 09:47 PM
Hey I chose to spend 4 hours on it. I had a lot of free time that day and nothing else to do.

Ray Jones
03-19-2007, 05:29 AM
Yep. Unless you spend 4 hours ****ing around with ALSA trying to get your headphones to work then realize that all channels are muted when you open up ALSA mixer >_>The good thing is, after installation ALSA even tells you that the channels are muted by default and that "you now can adjust volume using you favourite mixer".

Det. Bart Lasiter
03-19-2007, 10:22 PM
Oh yeah like I'm gonna read that jazz.

Ray Jones
03-20-2007, 03:10 PM
Since "Linux" messis are pretty much more useful compared to other OSs, I tend to do so. :P