Whilst working in a large UK University's central computing Help Desk:
Caller: Hi I'm calling about my email.
Me: Ok, are you using the web service or an email client like outlook express?
Caller: Outlook I think
Me: Ok, no problem. Are you getting any error messages?
Me: What does the error message say?
Caller: It said something about an incoming mail server
Me: Ok, well let
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A few years ago I was building an e-commerce website for a London-based company. The schedule was pretty hectic, but we pulled some all-nighters and got the shipment out in time for initial review.
After the review, the client CEO sends emails to me, my line manager and our CEO stating that we have hacked his website and intentionally added profanity and filth to the system. I was hauled down to explain our actions.
After calming the guys down to a conversational level, he showed me the "evidence" where, when the CEO enters information in the product search text box, it comes up with suggestions such as "inter-racial gang bang" when looking for "inter...". I calmly explained that the search box was named the same as that of Google's and that his search history was showing in the results.
The complaint was dropped without apologies or explanations.
Being in Tech support you never really think that you're going to make a huge impact in someones life. Not like being a doctor or the police. But its amazing how far giving a bit of advice could go!
A year or so ago, someone on Facebook pinged me asking for help on something. This is someone who never talks to me, and is a friend of a friend, knows me a bit. Suddenly they're all "Ahh hi mate!! You know something about computers, can i ask you something!?"
Anyway this person had split up with her ex not so long ago, and he had been using her credit card online to buy stuff. He'd bought an external hard drive, but it was one with built in encryption and stuff. I can't remember the make now. But it when I looked it up, it was the best of the best when it comes to securing your data, with various levels of encryption and password protection.
She was just asking me why the drive was so expensive. So I was explaining to her about the encryption. Then she was asking, why would he be needing all that encryption? So I simply said, either he's OCD about his security, or he has something sinister to hide.
Anyway I didn't think any more of it. Until she pinged me last week, and said. I need to thank you. I did some digging based on what you said, and I found out he was a paedophile. She asked her daughter some questions about him and it seemed that this guy had been at her. She went to the cops and they took his computer and uncovered a tonne of stuff downloaded. And now they've locked him up for it all.
So I was quite taken aback by that one! I was kinda meaning it in a bit of an off the cuff remark about hiding something. But she obviously had some suspicion and when I confirmed that this drive was the best of the best for hiding stuff, it gave her what she needed to start investigating this guy further.
I'm quite happy with myself over that one as you can imagine.
Basically it tells us that the Tech support we give might go further than you think!
TL;DR Told a girl that her ex's new HD was the best for encryption. From that she realised he was a peado, got him charged and put away.
So we've been rolling out a new network for operations for the past year or so (yes, it's a government job, and it hasn't really been a high priority).
I found out today that the big boss of the place who will primarily use this network (boss of about 5,000 people) was advised by his CIO that we should use the same default passwords for every user on this (classified) network and not allow them to change the passwords. Reason being, multiple users sometimes use the same desk/job manning the desk 24/7, and if the computer gets locked, they cannot afford to reboot.
facepalm On the plus side, the CIO will not be working there much longer...
I worked at Circuit City for the better part of 3 years, 2 of which were spent on the "FireDog" tech bench, where we often served the bizarre and just all around cooky customers of a North Carolina market.
We had a few interesting cases, here are just a few of the ones that made me go what in the hell are you doing?
1)I was off helping a customer purchase a computer as we often had to do when the store was busy. A colleague of mine, who I later went to Afghanistan with as a private contractor, was at the bench ringing someone up for a wireless router or some other smaller piece of tech. The guy walks up and asks her if we fix computers, which we obviously do, she quotes him our prices and agrees to. He then proceeds to place a food lion bag with a laptop and power supply in it on the counter. A bit puzzled my coworker decides not to bring up the oddity of bringing in a laptop in a plastic bag, she puts the computer behind the counter on our island that we worked on and locks it down within our laptop security bars. I get over there and instantly smell something wrong with the whole situation as the tech bench area now has a foul stench around it. We decide not to proceed with troubleshooting until the customer has confirmed what he thinks may have happened. My boss gives the guy a call and asks that all important question "What has happened in the past 48 hours that would cause your computer to not boot?" The gentleman responds with "Well my buddies and I got really really drunk last night and I think one of my friends may have pissed on it."
At this point another tech has arrived and is starting to fiddle with it a bit, my manager comes running out of the back of the store and about tackles the other tech away from the laptop, after they stand up he proceeds to inform us of the conversation he had with the customer at which point the other technician begins to vomit. We ended up not refunding the guys money and simply telling him to buy a new computer.
TL;DR Guy brings in laptop for service, informs us after he's left the store he thinks a friend pissed on it while drunk.
2) I saw a story similar to this one a few days, maybe a week ago but thought I would share anyways. A friend of mine, we'll call him Herp, worked on the Tech Bench with me, we often made house calls for those users who just didn't want to cart their computers all the way to the store. He was setup with a call from a gentlemen who appeared to be in his mid 20's, but not very tech savvy.
Upon arrival to the customers home Herp walked in and instantly noticed this guy had a rather strange amount of cats (something that strikes me at odd in that age bracket). Herp proceeded to do the normal troubleshooting steps we take then noticed that the front of the case was "dusty" he proceeded to blow it off with canned air. The "dust" wouldn't move so he took his hand, licked his thumb and proceeded to clean the front of the computer off, licking his thumb a few times here and there to get some other spots on the computer. He then proceeds to troubleshoot some more and figures out the guys power strip is bad, replaces it with a new one and gets the guy to pay.
On the way back to the store he gets a call from the guy, advising him that he thought the "lick and wipe" technique was a bit grotesque and advised him to stop and get some mouth wash, then he hung up the phone. A bit alarmed my buddy Herp calls me up and asks what the guy could have meant, between fits of tears and laughter I inform Herp that he just licked the guys dried up cum and should probably go to the store and buy some mouth wash, a toothbrush, and mints at the very least. He never lived that down, not until the store closed did he escape that story.
TL;DR Tech friend I worked with ended up inadvertently "licking" a guys dried up cum off the front of his desktop.
As I recall more i'll edit/update these and trust me, there are more, i'm just at work right now and it's not easy to type this much up and not get "stern looks".
Received this today. Not real sure how to reply.
I am looking for some help. I recently bought a SanDisk Ultra Solid State Drive. The box says it is a 2.5" drive. Do you know how many gigabytes are in 2.5"? I don't know the conversion rate. Or I can weigh it if you know how much a gigabyte weighs.
Thank you Kevin GOD BLESS Please do not print this
So I have a friend who works in IT for a local chain of stores. He's still learning the ropes, but he is usually pretty good about asking questions when he's not sure or if what someone is telling him seems a bit... off.
I tend to be the person on the receiving end of these questions. He called me yesterday and explains that he's pretty sure what an outside vendor is trying to get him to do is a bad idea but he wants to confirm it.
This being a multi-store retail establishment, they have two networks. One is a public network with internet access, and the other is secure and connects only to the main office via leased lines for handling all the inventory and transaction processing.
They have an agreement with a 3rd party company which provides a server to handle the back end for a specialist product kiosk that they have in the stores.
The 3rd party company is located many states away and wants to do all their troubleshooting remotely. The problem is the server is located on the secure network since it needs to talk with the payment processing and inventory systems.
Obviously, this means that they cannot remote in to the server since it's not on the internet. So they send my friend up there to swap the server over onto the public network so they can get in, and then put it back on the secure network so they can see if it works.
This is already a bad security practice, but ok...
The server is a piece of shit. Their IT staff can only be described as incompetent. So they can't get it to work. They want to be able to remote into it while its still on the secure network to see what it's doing.
Their IT guy suggests plugging both networks into the server at the same time, which my friend tells them is not possible because there is only one network port.
The guy then says "Why don't you get a switch and connect it to the server and then plug both networks into it"
This was the point at which he called me to confirm that this was in fact a really bad idea......
I proceeded to laugh a lot and tell him to report these guys for trying to cause a major security problem.
A customer called my store today telling me about the desktop he had purchased from my store just over a year ago.
He starts telling me how his monitor takes 20 minutes to turn on when ever he starts the machine. I start going over the general troubleshooting questions: have you tried another cable, another monitor, another wall outlet. He says he has, and I am leaning toward it being a faulty graphics card, which leads me to my next question.
Does it have a dedicated graphics card or is it using onboard video?
He asks how he can tell, so I point him to the back of the machine and tell him what to look for. A horizontal strip with one or two plugs, either blue or white, on the lower half of the machine.
He tells me that yes, there is a card there and there is a white cable running to the monitor from it. Then he pauses and mentions the blue plug further up the back that also has a cable running to the monitor.
So now it is a apparent that he has both the dedicated GPU and the onboard video simultaneously plugged in to his monitor. I mention that this might be the problem and that he should unhook the blue one and boot up.
He says something to the effect of "That was painfully simple. If this fixes it I'm going to smack myself in the head".
Next thing out of his mouth was, "Welp, while you're still here..."
And hung up.
If only I could get more customers with dumb questions to hit themselves...
Many years ago I was working for CEX. Nowadays this shop is all about games and DVD's but back then they did serious business in computer components, if you wanted to upgrade your 800Mhz CPU to 1.4Ghz then part exchanging at CEX was a pretty good choice. We would test all the hardware people would sell to and also test anything customers returned to see if refund was justified. What we didn't do is any kind of PC service or repair but we were on the high street with all our test benches visible behind the counter customers would assume we did and bring us stuff all the time. We would often help out but accepting any payment was not allowed.
One day I'm stood behind the counter and this guy flops out a Toshiba laptop next to me and is talking to one of my colleagues Ben. Seems his sound isn't working. Ben's gone through all the obvious stuff, it's turned on in the BIOS, drivers are loaded, not muted, everything looks right except no sound through internal speakers or when plugging into headphone jack. Apparently it had been working a few days prior, so Ben's telling him that if windows mixer is showing activity then something gone pop inside and there is nothing can be be done. He starts shutting down windows and turns to me to ask if he's missed anything.
At this point I realise what has happened as I've seen the issue before. These laptops have a hardware mute feature that is controlled by the function key. Function F4 activates it which is easily hit instead of ALT F4. On most laptops these functions keys make sound hardware show as disabled in the BIOS or just trigger windows mute function. This one just mutes with no indication what has happened.
I grab the laptop and with my left hand discretely hit the key combo which works even though windows is almost shut down as it talk directly to laptop hardware. With my other hand I close the laptop lid and leave my hand firmly on top of the laptop and start doing some shamen chanting and shaking my body about finishing with a loud "uurg", I then tell the guy I've fixed it. He just stares at me but I tell Ben to fire the laptop back up. The customer sighs as it goes through the boot process again but then the Windows 98 "ta da" sound comes loudly out of the speakers and his jaw hits the floor.
He tries to pay me for the fix but I tell him we don't do repairs and can't accept payments. He asks me how I fixed it and I tell him he saw how I did it.
I later told Ben what I did who annoyingly told the customer when he turned up a few days later.
TLDNR Used a function key combo to unmute sound on laptop, but made it seem like magic.
Just had an IBM employee on the phone complaining (CSR).
ME: Good day, this is Derpiter from Hurpy-Durpy Support.
IBM: I didn't receive any email with my support password!!!
ME: Erm, Ok... no problem, please go to our support page.
IBM: I am on the support page.
ME: ok, when you try to log in, you will probably see a button called "Reset my Password"
IBM: yes I see it.
[20 seconds breaktime]
IBM: should I press it??
ME: Yes you should.
IBM: Now i have a window with: "Username: " and a button "Reset Password". Should I press it??
ME: Yes you should rolls eyes
IBM: But I receive an error message saying "You didn't enter your Username"!!!
ME: Well you should first enter your Username, which is your email address and then press the button...
IBM: Aha ok.....
[another 20 sec break]
IBM: I received an email! "click this link to change your password". Should I click it? Normal click or double click?
ME: i'm pretty sure one click will be enough.
IBM: Aha ok... thanks. Will let you know if I need anything else.
TD;DR: IBM engineer prolly earning double what I get doesn't even know how to open weblinks on an email
Okay so I'm not tech support (not even close, although if anyone in the family has a computer issue I'm the one they talk to first) but this just sets a fire in my blood that makes me want to murder someone.
Basically, my mom switched emails in the last ~2 years when we moved to a new ISP. Her old email account was through our old ISP, and so her access to that account terminated when she moved to our new ISP, and she has a new account with them. Her antivirus coverage (which is through - ugh - Norton) didn't automatically transfer, of course, which is to be expected. No biggie.
So she goes to show me this email FWD today which I told her looked very suspicious and advised her to run a virus scan. When she went to go run said virus scan, she couldn't access the account because it was under her old email address and she didn't remember the password. Turns out she hasn't actively run a scan (only the background scan that runs automatically at 3 AM) since we switched ISPs. Since she can't access her old email account and that's how they get her password info to her, she thought the logical decision would be to change her email address associated with the account, which she did.
Then she logs in to Norton and it says she has 0 active days, when it should say she has 120 active days.
So anyway, she gets ahold of Norton customer support online who basically tells her that she's SOL, shouldn't have changed the email and can't reset her password, even though she knows all of the info associated with the account up to and including the credit card number. My mom asked if there were any solutions and he basically told her he could use the new email account and have her buy another time period, and have the old account (which, unbeknownst to her, was set to autorenew every year) deactivated and lapse. My mom told him that that was unacceptable and basically told him she'd be terminating service with them if that was the only option.
At this point I jumped in and mentioned to her that there were lots and lots of better, free software that would protect her just as well and probably better than Norton. My mom responded by saying that she "likes" Norton and doesn't want to move away from them, and had asked the guy if there were any other options available for her.
When confronted with the possibilty of losing a customer, he came back with (pharaphrased of course) "actually haha I'll just transfer those 120 days you had left of your anti virus protection over to your new email address, just need your credit card info again for the autorenewal", which my mother was much more pleased with, until he mentioned to her that she would have to purchase a full, new year of time on the new account in order for the 120 days to be transferred over.
After much hemming and hawing and quite a lot of protestation from me, my mom agreed and - as a bonus from Norton - he gave her (gasp) a whole 21 days of free coverage.
I can't decide what infuriates me more, my mom's refusal to believe either that a) an email she got from a friend might contain a virus (I initially had to show her that my own antivirus flagged it as suspicious before she would believe me), or b) that I'm not trying to scam her or some ridiculous bullshit, or c) the overall disgust for Norton customer service that I have right now. I hate that my mom is paying for this program and the best they can do for her is "well, our system is kind of skewed so that there is only one single way to retrieve your password, so if you don't have access to that way then you need to give us more money."
Guh, I'm sorry, this probably doesn't belong here and again, I'm really not techsavvy and this is REALLY FUCKING LONG but sitting through that was painful.
tl;dr my mom is computer illiterate and Norton sucks the devil's dick for kicks.