“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”
“If the automobile had followed the same development as the computer,
a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100,
get a million miles per gallon,
and explode once a year killing everyone inside.”
I have been involved with computers for many years. I remember using mainframe machines with data inputted on punch cards and bits of flimsy tape, and the machines, which in those days had no monitors, they were just glorified teletype printers, chugging (and I mean chugging) out the results that would have meant absolutely nothing to the uninitiated.
In the grand scheme of things all that wasn’t really so long ago, and at the time it was cutting edge technology and terribly exciting, although now it seems so archaic.
In those days you didn’t quite have to be a nerd or a geek (but it helped) although you did have to have a certain level of education and understanding of mathematics and computer science to be able to make the machines do what you wanted them to do. Or try to, they were a bit temperamental. These machines were also horribly expensive and were to be found only in universities and larger companies, thus, whilst people did get themselves into tangles now and again, there was usually someone on hand to help out.
Then along came the personal computer revolution, which we are now well and truly in the midst of, and which has changed the world forever.
Thousands of new companies were spawned out of this revolution, hardware manufacturers, software manufacturers, various support and service industries. People were churning out all sorts of stuff, a lot of it rubbish, some of it good, but all of it difficult for the beginner to use. Before the advent of GUI personal computers were not user friendly at all. Therefore at some stage in the proceedings those who bought them would get stuck or something would go wrong.
Thus were born the infamous computer “help lines”.
I have highlighted these before in a couple of earlier blog posts “Computer Company Help Lines” and “Cancel The Account”.
Here are a couple more non video examples that I hope you will also enjoy.
Tech Support: “I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop.”
Tech Support: “Did you get a pop-up menu?”
Tech Support: “Ok. Right click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?”
Tech Support: “Ok, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?”
Customer: “Sure, you told me to write ‘click’ and I wrote ‘click’.”
(At this point I had to put the caller on hold to tell the rest of the tech support staff what had happened. I couldn’t, however, stop from giggling when I got back to the call.)
Tech Support: “Ok, did you type ‘click’ with the keyboard?”
Customer: “I have done something dumb, right?”
Allegedly this is the transcript of a recorded conversation between a caller and a computer helpline. It’s a few years old now, but still amusing.
Tech Support: May I help you?
Customer: Yes, I’m having trouble with WordPerfect.
Tech Support: What sort of trouble?
Customer: Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.
Tech Support: Went away?
Customer: They disappeared.
Tech Support: Hmmm. So what does your screen look like now?
Tech Support: Nothing?
Customer: It’s blank. It won’t accept anything when I type.
Tech Support: Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?
Customer: How do I tell?
Tech Support: Can you see the C prompt on the screen?
Customer: What’s a sea prompt?
Tech Support: Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?
Customer: There isn’t any cursor. I told you, it won’t accept anything I type.
Tech Support: Does your monitor have a power indicator?
Customer: What’s a monitor?
Tech Support: It’s the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it’s on?
Customer: I don’t know.
Tech Support: Well, look round the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?
Customer: …yes, I think so.
Tech Support: Great! Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it’s plugged into the wall.
Customer: …yes, it is.
Tech Support: When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back, not just one?
Tech Support: Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable.
Customer: …OK, here it is.
Tech Support: Follow it for me, and tell me if it’s plugged securely into the back of your computer.
Customer: I can’t reach.
Tech Support: Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?
Tech Support: Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?
Customer: Oh, it’s not because I don’t have the right angle, it’s because it’s dark.
Tech Support: Dark?
Customer: Yes. The office lights are off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.
Tech Support: Well, turn the office lights on then.
Customer: I can’t.
Tech Support: No? Why not?
Customer: Because there’s a power outage.
Tech Support: A power… a power outage? Aha! OK, we’ve got you licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?
Customer: Well, yes, I keep them in the closet.
Tech Support: Good! Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store that you bought it from.
Customer: Really? Is it that bad?
Tech Support: Yes, I’m afraid it is.
Customer: Well, alright then, I suppose. What do I tell them?
Tech Support: Tell them you’re too stupid to own a computer.