How do you actually do this?

I know I’ve only been working in the I.T. Department for a short time, but some things have become amazingly clear.

I can't believe you're so flipping dumb!

When it comes to technology, people are amazingly dumb.

Now, I’m not saying I am the be all and end all of computer knowledge. In fact, I am the proverbial n00b in the world of ultrageeks.

When I started, I knew there would be problem people. I figured that most of the calls would come from the older folks who legitimately have reason to be technologically challenged. Others would be legit problems that required some system checking. In my wildest dreams, I never expected people — my age or younger — to be calling me with some of the problems that they do. A perfect example of this are the folks stare at a log in screen and can’t figure out how to log in to a machine because someone changed the username.

And yes, this did happen today.


I’m shocked to the point where I feel compelled to start a new section on the blog. I’m calling it “Tech 101.” I feel this is the only way that I’ll be able to preserve my sanity, and hope the technologically challenged can learn from others’ mistakes.

♣ ♣ ♣

Today’s entry involves 2 stories. The first comes from Nervous Panic Guy.

Rebel Without A Mouse

NPG needed to upgrade his Realplayer to be able to stream a video. But, naturally, security settings prevented him from doing so. My first reaction to him was, “Wait, people still use Realplayer?” He shot me an incredulous look, so I set to work on his machine. As I was working, he said he doesn’t understand why we have to have such restrictions on the machines.

“I mean, what, are you guys afraid people will be sitting there listening to rock ‘n roll music all day?”

Rock ‘n roll. Yup, before we know it, users are going to be greasing up their hair and riding motorcycles in the office. They’ll start smoking cigarettes in violation of office policy, wearing leather jackets or poodle skirts, and calling managers “Squares.”

Rock ‘n roll is IT’s biggest fear. Especially when it is the soundtrack in some porn … which is streaming from a virus-infested web site.

After NPG’s computer was upgraded, the screen came up where he had to put in his username and password.

And me and another tech watched him sit there and look at the screen for a full minute, stumped by 2 empty fields and a blinking cursor.

“Oh, this looks different than it did before.”

Yeah, because your username wasn’t already in the first field.

NPG is a perfect example of why the average user isn’t allowed to download diddly-squat to a company computer.

♣ ♣ ♣

Today was actually pretty slow. I was doing fresh installs on a couple machines, while one of the other guys was refurbishing a battered laptop.

Now, our users can be pretty rough on equipment since they’re out in the field so much, so we go through a lot of equipment. We’re always stripping one machine down and using its parts to build another. And again, in my short time there, I’ve seen quite a few things that made me shake my head.

So, when I heard the other tech say “What the fuck!?”, I wasn’t really surprised. But then he started laughing and said, “Dude, come here. How the hell does this happen?”

Now, if you can’t see this (it’s not really clear), all 4 cursor keys are gouged.

How the hell do you do this to your machine? Seriously? Even if you have long fingernails, why the hell are you using them on the keys? I mean, no other keys were damaged, just these 4.

Users, you continue to befuddle me.


4 Responses to “How do you actually do this?”

  1. February 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm


    Welcome to the world of “IT” support. You must support a lot of ITs and be driven crazy by them.

    By the way, the arrow keys are gouged because the user did a lot of on screen gaming. Probably gambling of some sort, I would guess. I’d install some sort of time-tracker on that machine before you give it back.

    and again


    At least you’re not supporting sales force laptops REMOTELY VIA DSL or yes, EVEN DIAL-UP


    • February 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

      Actually, this is a good kind of crazy for me, because I find myself laughing a lot … unlike my previous job, which was pure deadline stress.

      I’m also thankful that this is all inhouse stuff, and I’m not dealing with the public. The worst thing that can happen is we say, “Bring it in, we’ll take a look at it.”

  2. February 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

    oh I’m not laughing AT you, exactly, I’m just… initiating you into the world of site support. I think it’s a really good job for you. But it’s like watching a college kid buy groceries by himself for the first time and be shocked at the price of a box of fruit loops. “Have you SEEN this SHIT?! OMG!”

    Welcome, welcome, to the world of fruit loops.

  3. February 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    This is actually fairly easy to explain. The end users don’t see a computer the same way we do.

    To us, a computer is like an erector set. We figure out how it works, then we can make it do anything we want.

    The end user see it as a tool, like a hammer. They don’t want to figure it out. They just want it to work. They don’t care how hammers are constructed. They just want to pound nails in.

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