TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Hi, thought you might like this. I thought it was pretty good.
lakmdd -at- upstate -dot- net
And we thought we had problems!
So you think you're computer-illiterate? Check out the following
excerpts from a Wall Street Journal article by Jim Carlton --
Compaq is considering changing the command "Press Any Key" to "Press
Return Key" because of the flood of calls asking where the "Any" key
AST technical support had a caller complaining that her mouse was
hard to control with the dust cover on. The cover turned out to be
the plastic bag the mouse was packaged in.
Another Compaq technician received a call from a man complaining
that the system wouldn't read word processing files from his old
diskettes. After trouble-shooting for magnets and heat failed to
diagnose the problem, it was found that the customer labeled the
diskettes then rolled them into the typewriter to type the labels.
Another AST customer was asked to send a copy of her defective
diskettes. A few days later a letter arrived from the customer along
with Xeroxed copies of the floppies.
A Dell technician advised his customer to put his troubled floppy
back in the drive and close the door. The customer asked the tech to
hold on, and was heard putting the phone down, getting up and crossing
the room to close the door to his room.
Another Dell customer called to say he couldn't get his computer to
fax anything. After 40 minutes of trouble-shooting, the technician
discovered the man was trying to fax a piece of paper by holding it
in front of the monitor screen and hitting the "send" key.
Another Dell customer needed help setting up a new program, so a
Dell tech suggested he go to the local Egghead. "Yeah, I got me a
couple of friends," the customer replied. When told Egghead was a
software store, the man said, "Oh, I thought you meant for me to find
a couple of geeks."
Yet another Dell customer called to complain that his keyboard no
longer worked. He had cleaned it by filling up his tub with soap and
water and soaking the keyboard for a day, then removing all the keys
and washing them individually.
A Dell technician received a call from a customer who was enraged
because his computer had told him he was "bad and an invalid". The
tech explained that the computer's "bad command" and "invalid" responses
shouldn't be taken personally.
An exasperated caller to Dell Computer Tech Support couldn't get her
new Dell Computer to turn on. After ensuring the computer was plugged
in, the technician asked her what happened when she pushed the power
button. Her response, "I pushed and pushed on this foot pedal and
nothing happens." The "foot pedal" turned out to be the computer's
Another customer called Compaq tech support to say her brand-new
computer wouldn't work. She said she unpacked the unit, plugged it
in, and sat there for 20 minutes waiting for something to happen.
When asked what happened when she pressed the power switch, she asked
"What power switch?"
True story from a Novell NetWare SysOp:
Caller: "Hello, is this Tech Support?"
Tech Rep: "Yes, it is. How may I help you?"
Caller: "The cup holder on my PC is broken and I am within my
warranty period. How do I go about getting that fixed?"
Tech Rep: "I'm sorry, but did you say a cup holder?"
Caller: "Yes, it's attached to the front of my computer."
Tech Rep: "Please excuse me if I seem a bit stumped, it's because I
am. Did you receive this as part of a promotional, at a trade show?
How did you get this cup holder? Does it have any trademark on it?"
Caller: "It came with my computer, I don't know anything about any
promotional. It just has '4X' on it." At this point the Tech Rep had
to mute the caller, because he couldn't stand it. The caller had been
using the load drawer of the CD-ROM drive as a cup holder, and snapped
it off the drive."