Got a call from a woman said that her laser printer was having problems,
the bottom half of her printed sheets were coming out blurry. It seemed
strange that the printer was smearing only the bottom half. I walked
her through the basics, then went over and printed out a test sheet.
It printed fine. I asked her to print a sheet, so she sent a job to
the printer. As the paper started coming out, she yanked it out and
showed it to me. I told her to wait until the paper came out on its
own. Problem solved.
I had been doing Tech Support for Hewlett-Packard's DeskJet division
for about a month when I had a customer call with a problem I just couldn't
solve. She could not print yellow. All the other colors would print
fine, which truly baffled me because the only true colors are cyan,
magenta, and yellow. For instance, green is a combination of cyan and
yellow, but green printed fine. Every color of the rainbow printed fine
except for yellow. I had the customer change ink cartridges. I had the
customer delete and reinstall the drivers. Nothing worked. I asked my
coworkers for help; they offered no new ideas. After over two hours
of troubleshooting, I was about to tell the customer to send the printer
in to us for repair when she asked quietly, "Should I try printing
on a piece of white paper instead of this yellow paper?"
A man attempting to set up his new printer called the printer's tech
support number, complaining about the error message: "Can't find
the printer." On the phone, the man said he even held the printer
up in front of the screen, but the computer still couldn't find it.
And another user was all confused about why the cursor always moved
in the opposite direction from the movement of the mouse. She also complained
that the buttons were difficult to depress. She was very embarrassed
when we asked her to rotate the mouse so the tail pointed away from
For a computer programming class, I sat directly across from someone,
and our computers were facing away from each other. A few minutes into
the class, she got up to leave the room. I reached between our computers
and switched the inputs for the keyboards. She came back and started
typing and immediately got a distressed look on her face. She called
the tutor over and explained that no matter what she typed, nothing
would happen. The tutor tried everything. By this time I was hiding
behind my monitor and quaking red-faced.
I typed, "Leave me alone!" They both jumped back as this appeared
on their screen.
"What the..." the tutor said.
I typed, "I said leave me alone!"
The kid got real upset. "I didn't do anything to it, I swear!"
It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud. The conversation
between them and HAL 2000 went on for an amazing five minutes.
Me: "Don't touch me!"
Her: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hit your keys that hard."
Me: "Who do you think you are anyway?!"
Finally, I couldn't contain myself any longer, and fell out of my chair
laughing. After they had realized what I had done, they both turned
beet red. Funny, I never got more than a C- in that class.
This guy calls in to complain that he gets an "Access Denied" message every time he logs in. It turned out he was typing his username
and password in capital letters.
Tech Support: "OK, let's try once more, but use lower case letters."
Customer: "Uh, I only have capital letters on my keyboard."
Email from a friend:
My friend was on duty in the main lab on a quiet afternoon. He noticed
a young woman sitting in front of one of the workstations with her arms
crossed across her chest, staring at the screen. After about 15 minutes
he noticed that she was still in the same position, only now she was
impatiently tapping her foot.
He asked if she needed help and she replied, "It's about time!
I pressed the F1 button over twenty minutes ago!"