IT Policies

The humorous side of IT

Some geek humor is only appreciated by IT pros. Alan Norton discusses clueless user stories, silly names, and more, as well as when humor and IT don't mix.

Whether you call it geek humor or IT humor, there is a class of humor told by IT professionals that only they understand and appreciate. Here are just a few categories of IT humor:

  • Stereotypical
  • Clever
  • Silly names
  • Puns
  • War stories
Warning! Humor on the job may result in the end of your career, or your head being chopped off -- whichever is in season at the time of the bad joke.

Stereotypical humor

A lot of IT humor revolves around the help desk. I recently watched the British comedy The IT Crowd and heard this stereotypical IT geek gag: "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Then there is the stereotypical clueless user story: "I had a call from one of the ladies in our department that her laser printer wasn't working. I traipsed the quarter of a mile over to investigate. As she was trying to explain the problem, I noticed that the printer was unplugged. Problem solved. Oh well, she was a very attractive and nice young lady."

Clever humor

You call support and get a man with a thick Russian accent. You initiate a little verbal banter to brighten his day by asking if he has any kids. He replies, "Da!" You opine, "Were your kid's first words YesYes?"

Silly names

The MIS department at one company where I worked published a monthly newsletter. It's name? The MIS Information Newsletter. I always got a chuckle when I pulled it from my mailbox.

You only have to look at the names of some computer languages to realize that IT folk have a bizarre sense of humor:

  • Joy
  • BLISS
  • Hope
  • Limbo
  • MAD
  • Boo
  • Goo
  • MOO
  • SNOBOL
  • Snowball
  • Boomerang
  • Groovy
  • Linoleum
  • MUMPS
  • Pizza
  • Racket
  • Squirrel

Puns

During a managerial staff meeting the head honcho gave a 20 minute presentation about "new paradigms". I told him that I thought his concept of paradigms was only worth 20 cents. Almost every single person in the room laughed. One of those not laughing? You guessed it -- my manager. For one brief moment I saw my career swirling around and down the porcelain waste removal device.

War stories

IT pros who work with clueless users inevitably have a number of war stories that they can share. This is one of my favorites from TechRepublic member Daniel.Muzrall: "I walked over, and peered into the 3.5" floppy drive. Sure enough, his disk...a neatly folded 5.25" floppy disk was jammed in there. If it don't fit, force it. If it still don't fit, get hammer..."

Want more? You can find additional war stories in the TechRepublic posts Laugh and learn from clueless users and 10 classic clueless-user stories.

Some types of humor and IT don't mix

Schadenfreude

Enjoying the misfortune of others, or schadenfreude, is one example of humor best left at home.

For example, your client is not amused when you tell him that his server has been hacked and all of the data is gone. You think it is hilarious and can't help laughing because this is the same client who berated you last week for overemphasizing security.

Sarcastic humor

You should avoid sarcasm as well. Sarcastic humor may be considered rude and not funny at all to the recipient.

Help Desk: "Hello, my name is Jonathon. May I help you?"

Frantic customer: "I think my hard drive has died."

Help Desk: "Don't worry, we'll send someone out there right away. You do have a backup, don't you?"

Frantic customer, who is now even more frantic: "No! You gotta help me!"

Help Desk with sarcasm mode on: "Hmm. Well prepared, aren't we? Guess you never were a Boy Scout, were you? Well, look at the bright side; if the hard drive is dead, you won't have to worry about cleaning up those old files and emails."

Slapstick humor

The perfect slapstick gag will almost certainly have a detrimental effect on that professional image you were trying to develop -- you just don't see too many IT people running around putting pen scanners up their nose or whacking someone upside the head.

Perhaps the greatest example of "acceptable" IT slapstick humor is the cartoon of a duck about to smash a computer with a large hammer. However acceptable it is in cartoon form, your boss probably won't find it amusing should you try it yourself for a laugh and a giggle.

And finally....

What can you say about the crazy, yet amusing acronyms chosen for the business of computer technology itself? For years, "MIS" was the acronym used. Can anyone say MIStake? Now it's called IT, which is hardly an improvement. IT does allow for the clever catchphrase "IT is it!" for IT's slogan.

What silly name could we possibly see next? How about Information Computer Knowledge or Business Information Technology and Computer Hardware (this is a reference to what irate customers do)? Actually, come to think of it, those acronyms might be more appropriate than MIS or IT!

If you have a sense of humor, you just gotta love those crazy and zany IT guys and gals. How about you? Do you have a sense of humor? Share stories about how you've used humor in your IT work.

Also read: 10 ways to use humor on the job

About

Alan Norton began using PCs in 1981, when they were called microcomputers. He has worked at companies like Hughes Aircraft and CSC, where he developed client/server-based applications. Alan is currently semi-retired and starting a new career as a wri...

75 comments
thiagorulez
thiagorulez

Good stuff, that was well worth a laugh. My favorite was the "paradigms" story. I wish I would have thought of that, that's an excellent pun. Our workplace is already pretty humorous, so I know they'd appreciate it. Thiago |  www.bennettlegal.com.au

georgepuzo42
georgepuzo42

I have to say some of the funniest things I have ever heard deal with working in IT. I guess though it is only funny to those who work in or have done so. Both my wife and I absolutely love The IT Crowd since it deals with IT departments. 


George Puzo | http://www.hosemania.com.au

dskyner1111
dskyner1111

Just got to mention this, Years ago I was trying to help a friend with an issue with horizontal lines going through his computer monitor,.I told him I would come over and check it out at no charge. When I went over, I proceeded to do the basic double checking of everything ( to make sure my first thought & impressions of the monitor being shot were right, ) I Checked the cords & connections, checked the resolution settings & refresh rate, tried re installing the drivers, all to no avail on solving the problem, I finely broke the news to him, telling him there is good news and bad news , he said oh ok what is it, I said good news is it is not your Computer, he sighed and smiled and said whew good, now what is the bad news I said your monitor is shot , I told him I had a used one out in the van I would give him ... he looked at me with a dead serious face and asked ..."How much would you charge to re install all the files and folders along with everything else I had stored on the Desktop on the original one .... It took me about 10 min to explain to him that what he sees on the screen is not STORED on the screen it's self, but on the hard drive of the computer. and all the screen does is allow you to see it, he didn't understand or get it, even when I explained it using his TV as an example saying the picture he sees is not a permanent part of the TV screen, it is just a signal that your TV receives, after it receives it, it decodes it, and displays the decoded picture on the screen, He didn't get it until I plugged the other good monitor in and showed him.

DesolateProphet
DesolateProphet

Sometimes the IT staff can pull the 'dumb user'. One of my guys was building a server and was having problems. Before it was over several guys are trying to troubleshoot the problem. Finally, someone remembers the basics. The network cable was unplugged. Everyone got a big laugh out of the 'dumb tech' that started it. I have seen a lot guys want to go for the complicated before checking the simple.

gopcs
gopcs

Around 1990 I worked for a "Beeper" company, you know - pagers that display a telephone number for you to call for a message. A secretary was trained to operate the tape backup machine for preserving the customer database in the BBL Paging Terminal. Every day that was her turn to backup the database, the Paging Terminal would reset. We would try to duplicate the anomaly with no success. After three of these events, she was asked to demonstrate the operation of the tape machine. As she stood on her tip-toes to reach the tape machine on top of the rack, her right breast neatly and gently pressed the reset button on the open-rack equipment. Needless to say, she was extremely embarrassed. A door was installed to cover the open rack. Problem solved.

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

In the early days, data was loaded from punched paper tape. Imagine a cabinet with your most common routines and boot loaders hanging like so many neckties. Mylar was an advance quickly surpassed by magnetic tape in an 8 track cartridge. Hard drives had huge platters, some with removable platters. Room upon room of half height machines with up to eight platters each, and removable in stacks of up to eight. Many of my home built machines at first used toggle switches to set data states and load into memory, one step at a time. Card readers and card punchers were just a method of preserving a data base, memory wasn't large enough to do more than one stack search at a time. Comptomotor (sp) they called it. Early day programmers started there. As a tech learning to repair the sorting machines (first IT job) we trained using test racks and the isolation method to locate faults. Faults were introduced with a little scotch tape on a board edge trace or between contacts on a relay. Later, we introduced tape to block an opto sensor. On an emergency call out for service,, the tech on call grabbed a box and filled it with what he thought he needed to fix the unit in one call. He didn't know the cards he pulled were test/training boards and were festooned with little tape pieces. After eight hours and reinforcements were called in (me) I grabbed my own box of parts and called the onsite guy to shut it all down, put all the original boards back in and wait for me. It took twenty minutes to get to the site and the guy had finished going back to square one. One card later and a final swap had us both out of there in 15 minutes. Later in or lab, we inspected his boards. Double checking the shelves revealed his mistake. A real exhibit of frustration when you throw everything you have at a problem and don't get the desire result. Assuming ones parts are not suspect has to be step one.

butkus
butkus

I worked for Seton Hall University.. So shorten Seton Hall Information Technology - SH... I forget the name they chose

Graynett
Graynett

after another failed backup my boy told me of my ID ten t error {l D10T)

Madsmaddad
Madsmaddad

The title always brought a smile to my face. It was called Whatsup.doc. Thanks for that for all those years Barry U. Peter M

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Back in the 80s, the USAF decided to get out of the 'communications' business and into the 'information systems' business. So, all Communications units–flights, squadrons, groups–were renamed as Information Systems units. This led to the creation of ISFs, ISSs, and ISGs, and the ensuing derogatory phrases, and this exchange in an airman's club: "What unit are you in?" "ISS." "What does ISS stand for? I suck seed?" "No, it stands for I Smack Stupid." Thankfully, we went back to being communicators after only a year or two.

pgprice
pgprice

It was 1972-73. The days of 360/370 IBM mainframes with huge banks of disk drives, each of which could store a fraction of today's cell phones. Each drive had two indicator lights -- a green "Ready" light and a red "Select Lock" light that would indicate a problem with the drive. The sockets were identical with a clear bulb behind a translucent plastic block in the appropriate color. A second shift operator thought it would be fun to switch all the colored blocks. He assumed the third shift operator would notice quickly when he came on duty and they would have a good laugh and switch them back. But, they got to talking and the third shift op didn't notice and the second shift op went home. About 3am, the third shift op "woke up" and saw all the red lights. Everything was working properly, but he call the Operations Supervisor who recommended he put in a call to IBM. They woke up a Customer Engineer (CE, i.e. repairman) in the middle of the night and sent him over. The really bad part was that the CE spent about an hour running diagnostics before he realized the "problem". Yes, the next day, something hit the fan.

glen
glen

Way back in the mid 80's I was on call on a particular weekend, and received a call at 3:30 AM from one of our clients who was attempting to perform a backup of their system. She was quite distraught because she was reading the documentation and she simply could not find a lower case b with a slash through it on her keyboard. I had to tell her to substitute the space bar for the b with the slash through it. It was understandably confusing on her part, but then she wanted to argue about it with me. I had to tell her "look you called me for help at 3:30 in the morning; just try the space bar." And I hung up the phone.

wparke
wparke

When I joined my current organization it was known as the Division of Informations Resources and Technology - DIRT!

gmeij
gmeij

I worked for a startup company who were busy starting a new website, I was on a seminar in another city when the manager phoned me that he wanted to know which was the backup server so he could take it to the website development company to try out the new site I said I thought it was not a good idea to use a backup server i case of a crash and could not the development company use their own servers to test a new site? No that was not an option so finaly i told him which one to use and said it was not my responsibility any more and he went with a college of mine and pulled out the server.

gmeij
gmeij

The compagny i worked for once had a power blackout the UPS's all worked but the security lockof the server room was electric so we could not get in the server room we had to climb over the doors roofs removethe roof panels and airco to get in ( and also discovered how to avoid the security lock) The power compagny restored the power after 3 hours luckily the servers were down too so they could not overheat. Gerard Meij

geekdad1
geekdad1

Data General's operating system had all of it's important files in a folder called sysdir. If it found a corrupted file there, the error message reported was. Help. Somebody raped my sysdir.

chriswright58
chriswright58

I was a helpdesk manager and was training up a newbie, we started talking about users and their issues and that getting to the bottom of things can be difficult sometimes. I said jokingly if you have any issues just say "not a problem sir, its an ID10T error, try rebooting and it should connect immediately" not thinking of it any further, I didn't realise that the person I was training was also an ID10T and about two weeks later I actually heard him say it to a customer..... You should have seen his face when I told him what he had just done.... it did make me laugh very loudly...

rivernidd
rivernidd

While working on the I.T. Helpdesk I had a frantic call from a lady who couldn't get her laptop to boot up....slightly further into our conversation I asked her....'Is it a Dell?' 'No', she said.........'it's Sharon Quality

chdchan
chdchan

I was once told off by my supervisor for suspecting that the end-user had pressed the wrong key leading to an error. Should I blame myself in the first place instead?

jgsmith01
jgsmith01

My favourite has always been LINC (Laugh, I Nearly Cried!) It was an early 4GL from Burroghs (I think?) in the 1980's - what a pile of c***

cbt_training
cbt_training

Interesting that no-one here has yet mentioned the older driver technology called TWAIN. If memory serves when hooking up a scanner or camera with SCSI cables or similar you used to need this driver. I was once told TWAIN stood for "Technology Without An Interesting Name" and hence your PC often needed a TWAIN Dwiver (sorry driver). A very bad pun but cute none-the-less.

Barc777
Barc777

Before I started working at my current employer 24 years ago on the mainframe, an order was placed for a 1000-card-per-minute reader. (Yes, Hollerith cards.) The vendor was out of stock on them, so instead shipped two 500-card-per-minute readers. I'm not sure if they intended us to load every other card in the readers, then start them a split second apart, or what. (As it happened, however, the faster machines were prone to jamming, our needs were not as pressing as a large company's, and it gave us a backup unit in case one failed.)

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

I enjoyed reading each and every one of them.

Tonyandoc
Tonyandoc

I set up a "trouble ticket" system when I was IT manager and it provided many a good chuckle. It could only be accessed from a networked PC and it identified both user and the sending PC. My favorite; in reply to a user message from her own PC my hard drive seems to have crashed, support sent back it may be just upset; hug the monitor and got the reply, after an interval you were right. Thats amazing.

ProfQuill
ProfQuill

A long time ago in a computer room far, far away, we had recently received an IBM 1403 printer. You old-timers might remember that as a large, fast line printer whose hood would open at the push of a button, OR when the paper ran out (usually spilling somebody's cup of coffee or at least the stacked printouts inevitably parked on top). One day shortly after installation, the hood would not open despite pushing the 'open' button or cycling power. Although I wasn't a hardware tech, before calling for service, I glanced thru the service manual and noted that the hood-opening relay was located along a particular side of the unit. I figured, what the hell, maybe the relay was stuck or got some crud in its contacts, so I administered a gentle kick to the side panel. Much to my surprise and the awe of bystanders, the hood opened and never failed again! I should have back-billed IBM $100; $1 for the kick, $99 for knowing where to kick (that was real money in those days).

jtjenkins213
jtjenkins213

I have encountered a few users who could definitely be classified as clueless. Back in the days of Windows NT, one user took it upon himself to "clean up the hard drive" by moving all the directories into separate directories that would be more "organized". He moved the "WINNT" directory, BSOD'd, and then proceeded to panic. Luckily it was recoverable (just booted to a DOS disk and moved the directory back). One other story is when we'd first implemented software to take over control of a user's desktop. We had sent an e-mail a few weeks previously about the implementation and asked users to be prepared for it. A user called in with e-mail issues, and so I took over the PC to take a look at what I could do remotely. The user proceeded to panic, shut down his computer, unplugged everything from the back of it while yelling repeatedly "I HAVE A VIRUS GET IT OFF NOW!" There are also the users who are in the high turnover positions at one company I worked at. The receptionist was always filled by temps and so when those temps found other jobs, they moved on. Well, one temp called me in early in the morning stating she can't print can't print. Well, we'd had issues with the printer before with a specific program so I thought that was the case this time. I walked over there, saw no light on the power for the printer, pushed the power button, and stifled my laugh. This would be a typical story except that not two weeks later, they were training a new receptionist, and once again, I was called for a printer issue. Lo and behold, the lady training was the previous user, but it was the new employee who had the issue. So, TWO people missed the power button. Sometimes I wonder if "clueless" is the right word.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

Aren't all the 'clueless user' anecdotes examples of 'laughing at someone else's ignorance/naievity'? Clueless-user war stories ARE schadenfreude, and (as was pointed out in the punchline to 'Stranger in a Strange Land') 'funny' IS when it happens to somebody else. And it's good that we CAN laugh, after all; implicit in the humor is the realization that it'll be our turn to be the one who slips on the old banana peel soon enough.........

greenstacker
greenstacker

Blonde Female Customer: My cup holder is stuck, AGAIN. I have pressed the button so many times and the light keeps on blinking. Support: Ma'am, did you put a oversize cup in the holder. The cup holder is of course the cd-rom and how do we know the customer was blonde. Its always the stereotype.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

In the past I had lead a very sheltered life as the Service Manager of several firms who sold Mainframes, crowds like IBM, Wang and so on and was used to dealing with Professionals who knew what it is that they needed. Well that ended and I setup the business that I now run which was supposed to help small business as I saw a gaping hole between Domestic Users and Large Business that was not being serviced. Anyway to cut a long story short I was approached by one of the staff of a Real Estate Office that I did work for, a smallish place with only 50 Computers so it was way too big for the Home Tech of the day and Way too small for a Professonal Tech, this was when Dial up first started. I was asked for a Modem by this guy who had told me that the major Telco here had given him a CD so he could connect to the internet. He was very pleased and thought that this was great when it really was just a way to get new customers on what at the time was a reasonably Slow and Expensive Internet Connection. Anyway being willing to push out a bit of [b]Good Will[/b] I sourced a decent Modem for the guy and sold it to him at my buying price. After all he did work for a very good customer and it was no skin off my nose so to speak. Well he came up picked up the modem and went home, as I didnt have to go out of my way at all it hadn't cost me anything and I was happy to help him. Next morning he was on the phone telling me that it didn't work, as I gave it to him in an unopened box I though well its possible that its faulty and we where talking about a 14,500 Baud Netcom which where reasonably good but I suppose anything is possible. After all I had worked with some really expensive hardware that sometimes just didn't work when you pulled it out of its packing so no biggy. I told him to drop it up and I would sort it out. When his wife brough it up I tested it on a system I had at home and didn't have any real issues once I had run the setup program properly. The destructions where a little vague so I explained to the guys wife who had brought it up what to do and to ring me if her Hubby had any problems. Next morning he rang me again and demanded that I come down and fix it for him. Again no big problem there well at the time I didn't think there would be so I got the address phone number and arranged to meet him at his home after he finished work for the day. What I didn't know at that time but I suppose I should have realized as he worked for a decent sized Real Estate Office was that he lived in a New Development. Anyway I didn't think about this just shoved the Address into my pocket and come the late afternoon I pulled the Street Directory out and looked for his address. No Listing well again no biggy the street directory wasn't the newest and as I had not got around to getting the newest one which had come out about a Month Previously I just dropped into a Shop and grabbed a new Street Directory. Again no listing so I asked for directions to the Area where this guy lived thinking no problems it can not be that big and I should be able to find the street when I get there fairly easily. Well when I hit the place I found it was massive with no street signs. So I started looking for a public phone, as this was way before Cell Phones where even dreamed of let alone being made available to anyone but the Uber rich. Well as it was a new development no Public Phones or shops or anything. I ended up driving about 20 miles back up the road to the closest shop I could find with a Public Phone an d ringing him for directions. Then I headed off again only to find out that his directions where not correct in any sort of form. Only took about 40 minutes to find my way back out and back to the same shop where I rang him again and went over the directions again. He was very specific that I had to turn onto Street X then take the second Left and on from there. I just pointed out that is exactly what I had done but after I took the First turn off that he told me about the streets just didn't exist that I was supposed to use so I sort of Insisted that he come down and I would follow him back in. Well that worked sort of but he came to a different location to where I told him to meet me and then when we finally linked up I followed him home. When we got there I sort of suggested that the second left was in fact the third left and he replied no that right the second left is a dead end so it doesnt count. Anyway I was there and when I walked into his home I was greeted with the Modem that I had supplied sitting on top of the TV with a ISP CD siting on top of it. When I picked up the Modem & Disc I asked where his computer was to which I got a Blank Look and he said [b]What Computer?[/b] He then pointed to the Destructions printed on the ISP CD that clearly said all you need to connect to the Internet is this Disc and a Modem which he took literally. I suppose the TV was supposed to give a display but I have no idea of how he thought he would input any instructions. :D Anyway I just grabbed a Check Book wrote him out a check for the cost of the modem and as far as I was concerned gave him his money back. He wasn't overly happy with this and wanted to be recompensed for his and his wifes travelling expenses which I would have been happy to do if I had of made anything at all on this instead of being a massive waste of my time. I just pointed out to him that I had done nothing wrong and if he wanted to take this any further he should deal with the ISP who had mislead him so badly and left as dipomaticaly as possible. I'm not sure what happened next but the Telco in Question Issued a recall of the CDs that they had sent out to all addresses as a Freeby and reissued them to any customers who asked for one. I was handed one of the new CDs and the only difference was on the printing on the face which was changed to b]All you need to connect to the Internet is a Computer a Modem and this CD.[/b] He was never happy whenever I went to that customer and until he found another job I was always blamed for not properly explaining that he needed a Computer to do what he wanted. Things have not improved with Home users ever since as far as I'm concerned. ;) Col

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

This was related to me by a fellow GTA. He was in lab and a student came up complaining that the pascal compiler was broken. "how do you figure that?" my friend asked. "no program output" was the reply. Upon examination of the code he discovered that the student had commented out the entire program! When this was pointed out, he stated matter of factly that was the only way to get it to compile without errors...

Mr. Fix
Mr. Fix

Shortly after one of my clients, a world-renowned author and lecturer, installed a VOIP phone system at home, he called me to complain that the phone would alternately be working and then go dead for long periods at a time. To the client's chagrin, everything was working perfectly when I arrived, a thorough check revealed no faulty connections, and I finally had to tell him there was nothing I could do but come back when it isn't working again. Upon reaching the door to leave, I turned to watch him flip a switch for the outdoor light but it did not turn on. At that same moment, though, I just happened to notice the lights on his phone adapter go out and I realized that he had plugged the phone adapter into a SWITCHED wall outlet. Clueless, he then flipped the switch next to it, the outdoor light went on, and he remarked: I'm always doing that, flipping the wrong switch!

aspir8or
aspir8or

This fits in the 2nd category. Just last week I got a text at 7am from a friend. Her - My 10 yr old has broken my computer. Can you come over now as I've got an essay I have to finish? Me - What exactly is the problem?. Her - I've got no sound. Me - Is it working ok other than that? Her - Yes. Me (not being a morning person) - I think that having no sound on your laptop is not an omen that the end of the world is nigh. No reply. 2 days later she rang and meekly asked if she could bring the laptop over. Her 10 yr old had managed to delete the volume icon after muting it. Not a big problem, and definitely not a 7am one.

lesaus1
lesaus1

When I got my first wireless keyboard, Win2K (I think) seemed to lose it - or maybe it was the BIOS. Several times, on bootup, I got the message "No keyboard found - press ESC to continue"

RichardLeuenroth
RichardLeuenroth

I worked for a compnay that manufactured IBM compatible equipment.One common compleint we had from users was that the keyboard keys were either too hard or too soft to press when pressig the keys. Well, our keyboards had what was called a clicker coil (basicallly a solenoid with an armature) that clicked when you hit a key. If it felt too hard to press a key, we would bend the armature closer to the coil which would reduce the amount of noise the clicker would make. If it was too soft, we would bend it further away and hence the armature was louder. Needless to say the customer was very happy with the keyboard after making this adjustment. Nothing was done to change the keys themselves. It was amazing to see how easy people can be fooled.

boomchuck1
boomchuck1

One of my favorites is the user (this has happened several times) who comes over concerned because their computer is beeping. When I check it out I find that the keyboard tray has been pushed back so the bottom of the desk is pressing a key. Pull out the drawer and the problem is solved!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I had a new client where I was asked to run some cable and setup a Internet connection for the staff. No LAN just a Network that allowed the staff to access the net. The guy that brought me in there I had known for ages and he had just moved there a few weeks previously. He talked them into bringing me in as I needed the money and didn't have enough work. His words not mine and not something I really needed either. They eventually buckled under his attempts and asked me to have a look and give them some idea of how much. Anyway the very first time I was there I gave them a cheap quote to run the cable and hopefully I would never be back so they wanted it done immediately. So latter that day when I had returned with the hardware necessary I started to run some cable from the Modem at the Reception Desk to the different offices. Then the guy who insisted that I be brought in asked me to look at his computer it was too slow for him. As I was then running a cable into the Owners Brothers Office I said shortly and finished that cable run. When I got to his office he had just finished selling a Big Dozer and was quite happy. He claimed that the Computer he was given to use had driven him crazy and he had thrown it out the window. OK no big problem there I just walked outside thinking that's it's a NB and I can pick it up dust it off and see what if anything was wrong with it. Not quite so lucky there though as when I got outside there is this guy and the person he had just sold the dozer to hanging out the window and giving the Hot & Cold Directions to where I would find this computer. It was under the left hand track of a 40 Ton Excavator and I quickly decided that maybe it's wasn't an option to even consider repairing this poor thing which incidentally was a desktop. I found it as part of the keyboard was sticking out from under this track. With words along the lines of Mad Bastard the only sensible thing to do was laugh at the insanity of the entire situation and I couldn't stop laughing mainly because of the way that these two people where caring on. Anyway not being good enough destroying the computer he then set about trying to crack me up in front of everyone there and I very quickly worked out that Laughing at the destruction of a computer with a new client the very first time you met them wasn't particularly a good look so I beat a hasty retreat or at least I tried to. The owner wanted the rest of the cables run that day and didn't want me to leave till I had finished so I spent the next few hours under the building pulling cable and ignoring the quips coming from higher up. When I hit the owners office I placed a bag of Wall Clips to mount the Wall Plates with down and proceeded to punch a hole in the wall where i had run up the CAT5 Cable. When I turned around the clips had disappeared and I was sure that I had brought them in but none the less I went looking for them. Needles to say I never found them and I had to hit one of the local Hardware Stores for a replacement and as it was the last one I wanted to get the hell out of there as fast as possible. Anyway I eventually finished that off thinking there is no way known that I'll ever be asked to return after the unprofessional conduct that I had displayed and as I was was leaving the owner hit me with what was I going to do about the crushed computer. I just explained that it couldn't be repaired and that they would have to buy a new one which was pretty simple as far as I though. His response was to ask what I had to offer. I have since replaced all of the systems there several times over and have been going there whenever I'm asked for quite a few years now. Whenever they have a issue they ring me and say words to the effect that this Steam Powered computer is Pi$$ing them off and if I'm not there quick smart I'll find the thing under something very heavy. Oh and those clips showed up at the next visit when I was asked what I knew about these as they had been found on the owners desk under something he had placed there and he didn't know anything about them. The smile he had on his face sort of made me think he was having a go though. Col

sboverie
sboverie

I was installing a work station emulator on an IBM AT for use as a terminal for an IBM S/34 for a coworker. She was used to being a touch typist and not familier with PCs. The installation got to the point where it displayed a message "Press any key to continue..." and I told her to press any key; her response was "I did!!". I had her do it again and watched her press the shift key. As a touch typist the shift key was the safest key to press to avoid a typo; but in this case was not considered an "any key".

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Usually involves Photoshop around here. Be mindful of people taking your picture randomly while you are working. It may seem like a nice friendly thing at first but next thing you know there are pictures of your head on a donkey all over the office. What an ass! Geek jokes are easy to share when they are blown up and printed out.

gclifton_BANNED1234567891
gclifton_BANNED1234567891

I work with a youger guy who's not had a lot of "help desk" type experience. The other day I got called to a user's desk becuase of a problem caused by the user's, errrr, issues. Once corrected and back at the office the co-worker asked me what the issue was and I told him it was a I-D-10-T problem. He was perplexed so I wrote it out on the white board, ID10T. He got it then....

rwidegren
rwidegren

One of our Help Desk guys got a call from a remote user who said that his computer was smoking and wanted to know if he should turn it off. Our guy told him that yes, he should turn it off and asked if it just started happening. The user said that it had been happening for about a week. When he was asked why he hadn't called a week ago he said, "But it was working until this morning."

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I've had weeks where my parts DOA rate approached 50%. On one call, I replaced a register main board five times before I got one that worked!

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

That's a very punny name. :-) It sounds exactly like something an IT engineer might come up with. Love your TWAIN Dwiver pun. The worst puns are always the best!

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

They just shipped what was in stock. That's what vendors do. It happens, but usually with lower priced items. I couldn't help but do the math on the 1000-card-per-minute reader - 16 2/3 cards per second. Amazing! We think of the 1970s and mainframes as the stone age but some incredible technology was built in that decade. Thank you for the clueless vendor story.

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

Hello Karl. Having fun at the expense of someone else's ignorance or naivety is schadenfreude only if it leads to misfortune or misery. aholtofus' example is not schadenfreude: "To move the pointer, move the mouse up, and she lifted the mouse 'up' off the mouse pad." bdfritts' example is schadenfreude if you are laughing at the result and not his ignorance: "When I got there I found where he had managed to make an adapter so he could plug the computer up into a 220 outlet to make it faster. Fried everything." You are so right that eventually it will be our turn to be the butt of the joke. You do need to be able to laugh at yourself.

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

And observant, my dear Holmes. Call me Watson because I would have missed it. Thanks for the story but now I can't help but wonder who the world-renowned author was - and no, I'm not asking. ;-)

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

Thanks for sharing. I can just picture a keyboard sticking out from under that huge yellow machine! Sounds like a fun client to work with.

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

The user is asked to press any key. His reply? "I can't find the 'any key'." Thanks for sharing your "any key" story.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

But Boring is not one of them. Everyone that works there except the receptionist is a Ex Earthmover who is likely to hit you as soon as look at you when they do not hear what they want to. Currently if I was to attempt to take anything in there with a W7 Ready Sticker or worse on it I get thrown out. OK that's partly my fault as I had a M$ Rep go there and have a talk to them. I don't actually know what happened as M$ will not say and those people just look toward heaven when he is mentioned and act like the Adams Family. But I know that they didn't sick the dog onto the guy from M$ mainly because they didn't have a dog there at the time. :^0 They do now however have a big nasty looking dog there that runs up to me wanting to be patted every time I go there. Shes a lovely dog but looks the part if nothing else. They put in a new Photocopier a couple of years ago that staples, Folds and cuts the Edge of the protruding paper. I knew that wanted a good unit but the finisher that they chose even took me by surprise. They had to put in a new building with a specially reinforced floor for just the bit on the end. That particular Finisher isnt even in the local Canon Office as its too heavy for their floor but otherwise its just a IR C2550i with all of the goodies fitted. I think it had something to do with the unit that was replaced by that machine which was only a few months old when the Guy from M$ attended and as it didnt have any Vista Drivers I think that they where told to dump it and buy a new one. Its was only a 50K unit so I can not see why they would not follow that advice. :^0 Anyway just before it was 5 years old it was replaced by the new one which most certainly has Vista/7 Drivers and they want to stick with XP and Office 2003 forever. The office bit will be OK but even I am trying to educate them that XP isnt going to be suitable forever. At least I have sold the Owner and his Brother a couple of 7 NBs for their kids and while they don't like the OS overly they do accept that its as good as XP in most respects and better in some. Just don't turn those things on in the Office and everything is OK. ;) The owner actually asked for a decent NB that wasnt too expensive so I suggested a Gigabyte Q2532M a great little NB that is sold here with a i5 CPU. Anyway I passed on the Specifications to him and the next morning he rang called me a [b]"Complete Bastard"[/b] and ordered 5 of them. Apparently he showed the specs to the daughter and got hit for several more. Not bad for a model that at the time wasn't as yet released. Its never boring there no matter what happens I have to admit and I personally love going there as other than the iPod thingy you never know what you are going to be hit with when you arrive. Col

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