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User's new notebook PC has a wireless network card. He loves it - for a day or so, until the battery goes dead. "Did you plug it into a power outlet to charge it?" asks systems administrator. "No," says sales guy impatiently. "It's wireless, why would I?"


Help desk worker gets a puzzling question from a user: Can she send e-mail to a company in the U.K.? She explained that she tried to e-mail some people in the U.K. and the e-mail came back. She was under the impression that e-mail was like the phone system, and since she couldn't make an international call, she couldn't send an international e-mail."



I can't connect with the network, remote user tells help desk. "After several minutes of troubleshooting, it was clear that the problem was the user's modem, which basically died," tech reports. Impatient user's next question: "Where can I download another modem?"


Systems Admin is browsing among the digital cameras at a big discount store when he overhears another customer complaining about the cost of the digital film for her camera. "She said it was too expensive to keep buying memory cards because she filled them up so quickly." He explains to her that she can copy her pictures from the cards onto a computer, then erase the cards and reuse them. The customer is delighted for a moment, then she frowns and asks, "Now what am I going to do with those 25 extra cards?"


New employee complains to help desk that there's something wrong with her password. No, it's not CAPS lock. "The problem is that whenever I type the password, it just shows stars," says user. Those asterisks are to protect you, tech explains, so if someone were standing behind you, they wouldn't be able to read your password. "Yeah," user says, "but they show up even when there is no one standing behind me."


Helpdesk: "Click on the 'My Computer' icon on to the left of the screen." Customer: "Your left or my left?"


Helpdesk: "Good day. How may I help you?" Male customer: "Hello, I can't print." Helpdesk: "Would you click on start for me." Customer: "Listen pal; don't start getting technical on me! I'm not Bill Gates, you know!"


Customer: "Hi, good afternoon, this is Martha, I can't print. Every time I try, it says, 'Can't find printer'. I've even lifted the printer and placed it in front of the monitor, but the computer still says it can't find it."


Customer: "I have problems printing in red." Helpdesk: "Do you have a color printer?" Customer: "Ah. Thank you."


Customer: "My keyboard is not working anymore." Helpdesk: "Are you sure it's plugged into the computer?" Customer: "No. I can't get behind the computer." Helpdesk: "Pick up your keyboard and walk 10 paces back." Customer: "Okay." Helpdesk: "Did the keyboard come with you?" Customer: "Yes." Helpdesk: "That means the keyboard is not plugged in. Is there another keyboard?" Customer: "Yes, there's another one here. Ah, that one works!"


Helpdesk: "Your password is the small letter 'a' as in apple, a capital letter 'V' as in Victor, and the number '7'." Customer: "Is that '7' in capital letters?"


Customer: "I have a huge problem. A friend has put a screensaver on my computer, but every time I move the mouse, it disappears!"


Helpdesk: "How may I help you?" Customer: "I'm writing my first e-mail." Helpdesk: "Okay, and what seems to be the problem?" Customer: "Well, I have the letter 'a' in the address, but how do I get the circle around it?"


No more floppy disks from home, Systems Administrator tells user whose PC keeps getting re-infected with viruses. A week goes by with no problems - then user's machine is infected again. Yes, she used a disk from home, user admits. "But I let the diskette sit on my desk for a whole week. Who knew that the virus could live that long?"


After a chain e-mail makes the rounds at this company, Sys Admin sends e-mail to all users reminding them that this is against company policy, quoting from the employee handbook about appropriate e-mail use. But this Systems Administrator receives an extra copy with a directive at the top: "Please print and distribute to all those employees without e-mail access."


Working on the requirements for a new version of an order processing application, developer gets a very specific request from a user: "On the accounts receivable screen, I want the system to tell me when I have checks that I haven't deposited."


Help desk gets the call from a receptionist whose tab key on the keyboard isn't working. "I told her to shake the keyboard upside-down and tap one corner on the desk." No luck. "I then told her to pick up one end about two or three inches off the desk and drop it. Hearing a loud thud, I asked what she was doing. She said, 'I am dropping one side of the laptop they just got fixed for me yesterday."


This university has a new voice-mail system, and tech aide watches as a vendor rep trains staffers to use it. Rep: "The first time you use your mailbox, you'll be prompted to choose and enter your password using the phone's keypad." Support staffer: "Can it be letters and numbers?" Rep: "Well, sure." Staffer: "Is it case-sensitive?"


A user calls the support desk and reports she's having trouble powering up her new laptop. She says the battery is good; she used it last night. The tech desk asks, "Is the laptop plugged in?" The user says, "How do I determine if it's plugged in?"


A user with a problem calls the help desk, saying "An error message just popped up. It's asking for me to hit OK or cancel. What should I do?" The tech rep says, "Click Cancel." The user promptly states, "Well, I already clicked OK!"


"I know you'll think I'm crazy, but Elvis keeps crashing my computer," this user tells help desk. And she's right - when she takes a CD-ROM out of the drive, Elvis starts singing. It was finally figured out: Apparently, she put an Elvis CD in the drive on top of another CD, and it got stuck on the plunger of the CD-ROM drive. When she took out a CD, Auto-run would start the audio CD (stuck on the plunger), and Elvis started singing!


User tells support tech that she knocked a key off her laptop. She replaced it, but now it won't work. Tech asks, "is the key loose?" "Not now," user replies. "It was loose, but I fixed it. I used super glue."


Phone system administrator reports a problem to vendor: He can't connect to the system remotely for monitoring and maintenance. Help desk: "Fine; a technician will remote into your system and fix the problem." Admin: "But I'm reporting that we can't remote in." Help desk: "Yes, that's on the ticket. I'll give it to the tech and he'll remote into your system and fix the problem."


Compaq is considering changing the command "Press Any Key" to "Press Return Key" because of the flood of calls asking where the "Any" key is.


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