/r/talesfromtechsupport

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Welcome to Tales From Tech Support, the subreddit where we post stories about helping someone with a tech issue.

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TFTS is where we post our amazing Tales From Tech Support, including but not limited to:

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  • Tech Troubleshooting Under the Direst of Circumstances;

  • Unsolvable Problems Cracked by Sheer Genius and/or Pure Luck;

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/r/talesfromtechsupport

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183

Struggles of Multi-Factor Authentication

So I work as your generic tech support for a retailer and we have people calling in to set up their MFA on their phones all the time. The org sends out detailed guides on how to set it up but they need someone to walk them through it anyway 乁⁠(⁠ ⁠•⁠_⁠•⁠ ⁠)⁠ㄏ

It's a pretty straight forward setup but people always find ingenius ways to make it difficult. Here's an exchange I had recently:

Lady: I wanna set up the MFA app

Me: Sure, if you've downloaded it already, you can login to this https://website to scan the QR code

Lady: Okay, I logged in where's the code?

Me: What are you seeing on the screen? It should show you the QR code as soon as you login.

Lady: There's a pairing key 12345678 and there's a bunch of options under that.

Me: Okay, that's weird... The QR should be right on top of the pairing key. Did it not load correctly? Anyways we have other options instead of using the QR, do you wanna setup your phone number instead for a text message based authentication?

Lady: No! I don't wanna use my personal phone number for work.

Me: Okay... fair enough, maybe try to close it out and login to the website again? You should see the code right there.

Lady: Okay I did that... Where's the code?

Me: ??? Do you not see a QR Code there? Like a BIG BLACK SQUARE BOX made of tiny boxes?

Lady: ??? That's the code? Okay... Kinda weird if you ask me. So what do I do now?

Me: Haha yea (you're the weird one lady ಠ⁠_⁠ಠ) ... That's what a QR looks like... Anyways, could you scan that code from the app on your phone?

Lady: How do I scan it? From my camera?

Me: No, you downloaded the app earlier right? Could you open that up and once you tap the add account button it should launch your camera to scan it.

Lady: Okay lemme try that. struggles for a minute... But how do I scan the code from my phone? Do i screenshot it?

Me: What? realizing she's opened the website on her phone, facepalming myself thinking I should've been more clearer ... Okay let's start over

32 Comments
2024/05/19
22:38 UTC

502

Can you send me a screenshot?

One of my first tasks at a new job about 11 years ago was to shadow someone who was identified for me as really good at her job so that I could write a training plan for others in her role. So I'm at her worksite watching over her shoulder as she works in some application, and something goes wrong that I'd never seen before. I asked her to take a screenshot and send it to me so that I could look into it more when I was back in the office.

She knows how to take a screenshot. Yay!

Then she opens Word. OK, I know a lot of people who paste screenshots into a blank Word doc to email it. It's stupid, but whatever, it's harmless.

Then she prints it. Wait. What?

Then she takes the printout over to the multifunction printer/scanner/fax and asks me for my email address.

Me: Can I show you something?

Her: Sure.

Me: *shows her that she can paste the screenshot directly into an email*

Her: ... *eyes widen* ...

Me: *shows her that she can email a document directly from Word*

Her: "Oh. My. Gawd. You just saved me SOOO much time!"

Sigh.

51 Comments
2024/05/18
01:19 UTC

252

Fixing a printer, it's like riding a bicycle only it's on fire, and everyone's watching you

Back after a one year hiatus it's your, no longer in the print trade, reprographer. After being made redundant I retrained as a dock officer (baliff for Americans) in courts. But that doesn't mean I've escaped from demon printers entirely and I'm still called upon to use my skills. After all, the UK criminal justice system is slave to knackered desktop devices well out of their league. And I made the mistake of letting my colleagues know what I used to for a living.

My major moment of aggravation has been hearing the telltale rattle rattle clunk of a device dying, which still makes me flinch. Occasionally I'm even called from the Dock to do what I can for the poor buggers. I can't carry my old tools, banned from custody suites as they are, so I've learned to make do - for instance handcuff keys make great flathead screwdrivers. Many delays in court cases are caused by printers believe it or not, failing to print required documents or mucking them up and I do my bit.

But nothing is more nervewracking than that time I was effecting my repairs in open court. Imagine the scene, jury is in court, judge is summing up, talking about documents that will hopefully be handed round in a minute and and me, legs peeking out from underneath the clerks desk as I try to fix a problem with the paper feed, and the beautiful whirr as it decides it will work after all and people can get their bundle! You don't see that in Law and Order (then again I wish real court was as interesting as Law and Order). The pressure was akin to disarming a bomb - every time the judge mentioned delays to the case and these missing papers I flinched and the damn machine mucked up out of spite. But it was pretty satisfying once done.

It may have nothing of the scale of my previous role, bit keeping this limping army running is vital, and of course its no other buggers job!

14 Comments
2024/05/17
21:05 UTC

180

Minimized or closed?

I am not actually tech support, but somehow I get roped into helping my coworkers with the basics every day. Yesterday, my boss was using a piece of tech in our office he rarely uses. He calls me over to explain it to him.

  • Me: hey boss, there's this handy sheet of instructions that I wrote taped to the desk right next to the equipment.
  • Boss: I don't need that, I have you!

Lucky me! So I walk through each step of using this item, ending with plugging it into the laptop which syncs the data. I clarify that the laptop isn't networked to our shared drives, so he'll need a flash drive to transfer his data (or email it to himself). He seems finished so I head back to my desk to do my actual job.

Two minutes later:

  • Boss: hey, is this computer networked?
  • Me: ...nope, need a flash drive

Two minutes later:

  • Boss: all the slots are full, where do I plug it in?
  • Me: unplug the device, your data is already synced

Two minutes later:

  • Boss: it won't let me
  • Me: did you close the program first?
  • Boss: didn't know I had to
  • Me: okay, I'll do it

So I close the program, eject the device, and reopen the program. Important to note, he had minimized it before I walked over.

  • Me: there ya go!
  • Boss: so you minimized it?
  • Me: no, I closed it
  • Boss: yeah, minimized
  • Me: no, closed. Exited out.
  • Boss: ...so it was here [gestures at task bar]
  • Me: nooooo, it was closed out. Clicked the X.
  • Boss: how did you reopen it?
  • Me: ...double clicked the desktop icon...
  • Boss: ???
  • Me: I'll demonstrate it again
  • Boss: huh
  • Me: I will add this to the instruction guide
  • Boss: not like I used it!
20 Comments
2024/05/17
20:12 UTC

261

Girl, we’ve been over this

So I’m not in tech support but was helping somebody with technical issues. For some context this was on a school computer and we were in a technical class that uses computers every day. We were editing clips of a movie and this girl needed help. I went to help her as I finished my work early. I asked her to pull up the files and she pulled up her C drive, which was empty. I asked her if she save the files to her H drive and she said no. I’m face palming right now as my teacher has engrained into us that any files save to the C drive are wiped automatically at the end of the day. I told her to redownload the files put them on her H drive and that she should talk to the teacher about how to work the software as she knew practically nothing. Mind you, we were taught all of this. She was eventually able to edit the film so everything was okay.

35 Comments
2024/05/17
17:58 UTC

399

One thing at a time...please

I'm a level 3 Network Support Tech for a large retailer. A ticket was sent to me first thing this morning regarding a PC not being able to print in one of our stores. Long story short, the PC was offline and couldn't print to the store printer.

Me: "The PC is showing offline for me. Can you verify the ethernet cable is plugged in securely into the computer and tell me where it's running to?"

Store Associate: "By the way, the cash drawer on this PC isn't popping out either."

Me: "Well yes, that's because the computer can't reach the POS server because it's offline. Anyway, can you verify the cabling for me?"

Store Associate: "Also, there is a light popping up on (some random piece of equipment that deals with the security alarm)."

Me: "Okay, let's try focusing on getting this PC back online first and we'll take a look at that. Where is the cabling going?"

Store Associate: "It's running to the desk phone."

Me: "Okay so it's piggybacked off the phone. That's good. Is the phone on?"

Store Associate: "No. I unhooked the phone this morning because it wouldn't stop ringing and I needed to get work done."

Me while shaking my head: "Okay well it gets ethernet from the phone so we need to plug that up to resolve your issues. Let's hook the phone back up and put it on Do Not Disturb. Your PC should come back up once the phone comes back up."

Store Associate: "What about that light blinking on the security equipment?"

Me: "Let's hook up the phone first and get the computer back online and THEN we will take a look at that."

I get the end user was wanting to solve everything right then and there, but I'm trying to focus on the main reason I called.. one task at a time, please! I'll be glad to solve your other issues once we solve the problem at hand..

43 Comments
2024/05/17
16:49 UTC

103

Displays and Dissonance

Cast your minds back to the early 90s…Windows 3.1 had been released, but my employer (Royal Air Force) was slow on the uptake. Amiga, Megadrive and SNES ruled the gaming markets, DOS was the PC weapon of choice, TVs were heavy and the Faults Control (Tech Support) section at an RAF Air Defence site was heavy on people, but light on chairs.

The Mk10 RADAR display (you’re seeing the clues to the username), was a heavy, cumbersome CRT thing, but worked with the same principles of a TV - the signals sent to it are ‘beamed’ onto the screen. This includes the ‘blips’ you see in movies as well as the text attached to the blip and the circles telling you how far something is. Those circles are called ‘Range Rings’ and the important fact for later is that the display creates them. Also, RADAR screens don’t go beep at every target (sick of telling my brother).

Now that that’s flushed out, remember the world of the simple joke, …being sent for: Tartan paint, a Glass Hammer, a Long Stand, Sky Hooks…Range Rings.

Our hero of the story (not me this time), told me of the time when a particular airman was new to a particular Station in Norfolk. It had been a few years before, back when they had this monstrous RADAR that shook buildings and made the floor tremble when the ‘Head’ (the spinning bit) was turned on. Said airman had just joined the RAF, done his basic and trade training and was at ‘real work’ on his first day. Somehow he hadn’t realised that the doors and stairs and multiple turns he’d been shown down meant he was now in an underground bunker. So when the walls rumbled and the alarms stopped he asked what that was… “You saw the big RADAR when you came in as well as the building directly below it that we’re in?” “Yes” he replies meekly. “Well it’s the monthly test of the defences. It’s a bit like Thunderbirds, the sides open and we get lowered so that only the RADAR Head is above ground” “Blimey” thinks our hero as the other leaves, chuckling to himself.

Minutes go by and then the Chief enters, introduces himself to the new bloke and decides it’s time to properly introduce him to work… “You see all of these displays? They’re faulty, keep giving the wrong distances. I need you to go to stores and get about 5 boxes of Range Rings” says the Chief.

Our hero contemplates and then reality dawns on him “Aaah you won’t get me that easily Chief, Stores is on the other side of camp and there’s no way I can get there when we’re 60 feet underground!”

NB To any Scopie reading this…you do know that Air Traffic Controllers can do your job? 🤣

13 Comments
2024/05/17
04:58 UTC

1,073

No, I won't tell you my computer name

I'm in Tech Support, and a user calls, saying they need help on the computer. For this user, it would be easier to just see their screen than try to decrypt their code. I ask for the computer name, which is printed on a white label on the laptop lid.

They hesitate.
I remind them where the label is.
They say they don't know.
I remind them where the label is.
They ask if I can find out from my end.
I remind them how it's one second to close the lid a bit, it'd be a minute to look it up, and where the label is.
They request that I find out from my end.
I look up their computer, find the name, and ask if the computer name is correct.
They say yes.
I ask if that's the name on the label.
They say yes.
I wanted to ask why they felt like wasting my time that can never come back but I just try to fix the issue ASAP so I can hang up.
Unprompted, they say that they didn't know if they were supposed to say the name.
I guess somehow they didn't trust the number they called, the company Tech Support line.

I'd love to see quantum computing take a crack at decrypting whatever goes on in their brain cell into anything resembling rational thought.
I guess next time I'll just say I'll call them back once I figure out the computer name.

79 Comments
2024/05/17
01:50 UTC

657

The PEBCAK is coming from inside the house

Today I have a simple story about the moment I realized my coworker, "Lucy," was really, really not a good fit for HelpDesk. There are more stories about Lucy, but those are for another day.

Setup: A decade ago, I worked for a financial company as your run-of-the-mill HelpDesk technician. Password resets, Windows issues, email distro lists, everything but network or hardware. Our department was small, only five employees, but we were going through a rough time with turnovers. I had gone from the newest team member to the most senior within a year of my tenure.

Enter our newest teammate, Lucy. Lucy was by far the sweetest person I have met in IT, and did several thoughtful gestures for me throughout my time with her. She always had a smile on her face and never complained. Really, I want to stress how funny and friendly she was. Because, unfortunately, Lucy couldn't troubleshoot herself out of a paper bag.

I first started to get the feeling that something was wrong within the first week of training. Obviously, everything is done with supervision at this stage, but I was concerned at how little she would do without direct instruction. It seemed like every time I would ask her to do something, her face would go blank like her brain was still processing what was asked. Even with very basic things, like clicking different options on a window.

Warning signals really went off when we asked her to do [simple operating procedure utilizing clear documentation] by adding information to an Excel document. We had gone through this process about four times prior, as it was a very frequent but easy task we did.

I look over after about ten minutes of her working on the procedure and notice that she's... still on the Windows desktop? "Hey Lucy, how is it going with [procedure]?," I ask, "Just let me know if you need any help with it; I'm not busy right now."

"I'm good, thank you!" she says, in a chipper tone. Lucy moves the mouse around but otherwise doesn't click on anything. Is she just playing on her phone or something? I wonder to myself, and take more frequent peeks at her over the next five minutes. No, she's not on her phone. She's just... staring at the desktop. For almost fifteen minutes now.

I decide to throw her a bone. "I found the easiest way to start is to open Excel first, then worry about [other step] next. Why don't you go ahead and do that, then I can show you the next steps if you need?"

She perks up. "Oh, okay! I can do that." There is another pause. I watch as her mouse moves over the screen, hovering occasionally over different icons on the desktop.

I speak up again, "Ah, it's the green icon, by the way. I know we have a LOT of desktop shortcuts, haha." She laughs and agrees, then silence again. Another few minutes pass...

I gently offer that the Start Menu might be the best place to go if she doesn't have Excel pinned. "Got it!" she eagerly says. I watch in amazement as her mouse moves from to the upper right... the lower right... the lower left... ... ... then to the upper left.

At this stage, I'm baffled. I get up to stand behind her. "Here," I say, making every effort to not sound flabbergasted, "we can do it together this time. Let's go to the Windows Start Menu." I gesture to the lower left corner.

"Can do!" she chirps, and the mouse begins its adventure anew. Right... left... up... down... 10 seconds... 20 seconds... 30 seconds of silence and a meandering cursor, all while smiling at the screen. I repeat my directions, this time adding that the Menu is at the far left on the Task Bar. "Ah, gotcha!" Lucy replies with a smile. Down... pause... right... pause... left... right... This time, I point, finger making contact with the screen, and ask her to click there. "There it is!" she says triumphantly, and clicks the Start Menu! She looks up at me with a beaming smile.

I breathe a small sigh of relief and try to shake off my confusion, keeping my face neutral. "Okay, great! Now that we are here, we just need to search for Excel to open it," I say confidently, looking at the obvious, white search bar with the cursor already flashing inside of it.

"On it!" she says enthusiastically, followed by silence... I see her move her hand from the mouse to the keyboard... to the mouse... keyboard... mouse... pause... ... ...

[clicks on Microsoft Word]

70 Comments
2024/05/15
15:49 UTC

299

A restart will fix it (but not how you'd expect)

The president of my company has been working out of our second office in another state all winter and was due to arrive back in town Monday. Friday afternoon I took it upon myself to do a once over in his office, restarting his printer and docking station to make sure everything worked smoothly since he'd been gone for a few months. I hate when he comes back in the building and something isn't working as expected because it's been sitting stale for so long. Everything seemed in line and I didn't anticipate any issues on Monday morning.

I get into my office at 7:51 and at 7:52 he walks in saying "Hey, I need your help with something."

"Sure. What's up?"

"Can you help me get these basketball tickets on my phone?"

Not what I was expecting, but at least nothing is broken. Normally if someone asked me for help with something like this I'd tell them to get lost but this guys name is literally on the front of the building so I agree to take a look. A colleague has sent him playoff tickets via a link in a text message. He clicks the ticketmaster link and it gives him an error. "Session suspended, try another location or another device." I take the phone, copy the link out of Safari, and try it in Chrome. Same message.

I ask him if we can go try the link on his computer and he agrees. I send the link to himself in an email so it will be in his inbox. We walk to his office and I have him pull up Outlook. He's about to open the message and he says "Oh, he also already emailed it to me" and shows me an email from the colleague with the ticket transfer message.

So I'm thinking "oh, this explains it. the guy retransferred the tickets via email so the fist link in the text is probably no good."

We open that link on his computer and he's able to log into his ticketmaster account and accept the tickets. They are in his account now, he should be good to go. But there is a message on the page saying "Your phone is your ticket, login from your mobile device to add the tickets to your wallet."

We go back to his phone and i just try pulling up the main ticketmaster(dot)com website and to my dread see the same "your session is suspended, try another location or device" message. Well, now i CAN'T use another device, it has to be THIS device so i can get the tickets into his apple wallet. I clear the browser cache and cookies. Same thing. I try incognito mode. Same thing. I switch from wifi to mobile data. Same thing.

I start looking up the error and it seems like ticketmaster has some checks in place and if it sees suspicious browsing behavior, it assumes you might be a bot trying to snipe tickets and blocks you. The TM support page says it's temporary and to try again later.

I tell the president i think it temporarily blocked him after he opened that first link so many times. We should let it cool off and try again later. "No problem. the game isn't until tomorrow."

I didn't see him the rest of the day and he took off early in the afternoon so we didn't have a chance to circle back.

He doesn't get into the office until about 11am the next morning and hands me his phone. It's been over 24 hours at this point, the temporary block must be gone. I open up the TM website and see the same freaking error... uh oh... I tell him there's still a problem and I need to figure out what to do next. He blurts out the passcode to his phone and heads out to lunch.

I take the device back to my office and start doing some research. Everyone online that has this problem gets the error because they are trying to do some shady crap to buy or reserve tickets and nobody has an answer for how to release whatever block TM puts on you. TM support articles say you just have to wait. I can't wait. The game is tonight. If he doesn't get these tickets, he's going to be out thousands of dollars and it's going to be MY fault because my fingers are all over this at this point. Is any of this even my job?

I figure the next step is going to be to grab a spare phone out of my supply, have him log into his apple id (if he even remembers the password), and accept the tickets from there. I'm not entirely sure how the apple wallet works. If he gets the tickets on one phone will they show up on his other one? I figure, worst case scenario, he has to carry this second phone with him to get into the game.

I'm waiting for him to get back from lunch to explain this asinine workaround when I think to myself "screw it. lets just restart this phone."

I restart the phone and am lucky I am staring at it while it starts up because once it does I see a message in the corner. For 1 brief second it says "VPN" and disappears. I go into the settings and find out that while this guy was out of town, he subscribed to a VPN service and installed it on his phone. Once I disabled it, the TM website worked perfectly normally. Saved again by a restart!

He came back from lunch and I said "I didn't realize you had a VPN on your phone." He says "Oh yeah, i got that a couple months ago. why?" I told him that the TM website apparently doesn't play well with with his VPN service and that once i disabled it, i was able to get to the website and that he should turn it back on once we get the tickets into his wallet.

He logs into the site, sees the tickets, and adds them to his apple wallet. Then i show him how to turn the VPN back on.

Mission Accomplished!

Then he turns back to me and says "So now, how do i transfer these to someone else?"...

21 Comments
2024/05/15
15:16 UTC

291

Good luck finding that link

i just got back from helping an employee and im a bit flabbergasted. this story only involves 2 parties: $me, and $employee.

$employee: "i need help finding an email. i sent it to myself from my phone and it didn't come through."

just last week this employee couldn't find an email that was sent by HR and insisted that it did not come through. i was able to find the email right away. i figured this was happening again. turns out that they were using some third party email app on their phone. i switched them to the officially supported app and the email went through. i figured my job was done at this point. as i go to walk away, $employee stops me.

$employee: "ok now how do i upload it to our payroll system?"

$me: "oh thats easy, you just download this file and upload it into the payroll system. you can find the file in your downloads folder."

$employee: "where do i upload it?"

$me: "you said it goes in our payroll system right? so i would start by going to payroll system URL"

$employee then types the URL into the email search bar. they spends about a minute hovering their mouse over the 4 emails that popped up in their search before deciding to click on one from several months ago. @employee blankly stares at the screen and scrolls down until a blue link shows up. $employee believes this is the link they are looking for and click it, however, this is not a url. this is an email address. its $empoloyee's own email address. $employee still hasn't realized what they have done and is surprised by the new message window that pops up. nevertheless they start to type an email asking for a link to our payroll website.

@Me: "good luck finding that link, let me know if you need help uploading the document when you find it."

11 Comments
2024/05/13
15:32 UTC

1,011

Never Had I Seen Someone So Happy

I used to work for a satellite television service company as an in-home technician. One day, I went to an elderly gentleman's home to fix his television service. We talked for a while and he even showed me his GameBoy Pocket, in excellent condition, with Tetris and Link's Awakening. He said he played it often to help keep his fingers nimble and his mind sharp. As a gamer myself, I thought this was really cool and impressed he kept it in such great condition all these years.

After I fixed his issue, I noticed a box with some unusual ear buds (they looked like hearing aids) and asked him about it. He said he has difficulty with his hearing and those were designed to help with hearing the TV, but he had them for two years and never was able to get them working. I asked if I could try and he said sure. After some tinkering, I asked him to put them on. His face just lit up and said he could hear the TV! The look of pure elation on his face moved even my old, craggy heart. He was so thankful, he tried to give me his GamBoy and games as a reward. I expressed my appreciation and politely declined, as I could never take such treasures away from him. It also saddened me that this guy lived alone, and for two years, nobody helped this man with something I thought to be fairly simple, but I am glad he now can hear his TV clearly.

33 Comments
2024/05/13
13:34 UTC

978

"What are we even paying you for!?"

This was probably the most unhinged user I've ever had the joy of supporting, and this was the first time that I ever raised my voice at a customer. This exchange was about three years ago now, so some of the timeline and verbiage is not exact.

Setup: I was the 24hr on-call support technician for T2 Software support that week. Our company has a 24 hour T1 Software support team that directly receives calls from customers, and escalates to T2 when it surpasses their knowledge. We also have a good rapport with the T1 guys, so we will sometimes take calls that need a more "authoritative" hand, such as when a customer is very upset or resistant to advice. We also have a mirroring structure for Hardware, with a 24hr T1 call center with an escalation to technician dispatches. Field Techs will usually try to do a phone consult before they are dispatched.

Also, there are no managers available after hours unless there is an absolute extreme emergency for which there is no precedent of action. During the day, this would have been a "let me get our manager," situation, but in this case, it was on me to just get them back up however I could.

The on-call phone rings for me around 11PM.

T1: Hey, VI. Got a really heated customer here. [Brief description of the issue] She called me a few hours ago, but she was very adamant that she did not want to troubleshoot with me at the time. I asked her to call me back when she was ready, and she just did. But now she's really hot and demanding to be escalated because her site has been down for so long. She's claiming that we did not "help her" enough (though I'm not sure how we could have)... I'm sorry, but do you mind helping here?

Me: Ah shit. Yeah, that's fine. [Gathers more information about issue] When did she first call in?

T1: First call was 6PM, so they've been down for about 5 hours.

Me: Crap. Okay, I'll handle it. Thanks. click

I give her a call, and she snatches the phone up before the first ring is over.

Me: Yes, hello, this is VI wit--

C [Word vomiting while I periodically try to interject]: WHY HAVE YOU TAKEN SO LONG TO FIX THIS WE HAVE BEEN DOWN FOR FIVE HOURS AND MY MANAGER IS BREATHING DOWN MY NECK BUT YOU GUYS HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT WASTE MY TIME AND NOT RESPOND AND WE ARE PAYING FOR TWENTY FOUR HOUR SERVICE AND YET YOU GUYS DON'T DO SHIT AFTER HOURS WHY ARE WE EVEN PAYING YOU??

Me: Ma'am, I do apologize, but we were told you were not able to troubleshoot with us when you initially called. We were ready to assist but did not hear--

C: BULLSHIT I CALLED YOU THREE TIMES AFTER AND YOU GUYS DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BUT TELL ME IT'S PROBABLY A SOFTWARE ISSUE

Me [Confused]: Y-yes ma'am? It does indeed to appear to be a software issue. That is why we wanted to attempt to address this with troubleshooting. Regardless, I am here to assist you now and would like to--

C: YOUR TECH GUYS DON'T KNOW ANYTHING I DON'T KNOW WHY WE PAY FOR THIS KIND OF SERVICE WHEN YOU GUYS DON'T KNOW SHIT AND IT'S ABOUT TIME I'M FINALLY TALKING TO SOMEONE WHO IS GOING TO DO SOMETHING

Me [Knowing T1 knew exactly what to do and was very knowledgeable]: My apologies, ma'am. Let's try troubleshooting now.

I attempt to assist her with troubleshooting, and we end up getting stuck in cyclical issues of me asking her to attempt a reset procedure and her getting lost about halfway through. The entire time we are working, she continuously repeats sentiments like those above about how angry and frustrated she is with our procedures and support. She ends up dropping a line about how "The Field Tech" wouldn't even attempt to help her, and I pause.

Me: Ma'am, did you say "Field Tech?" When did you talk to a "Field Tech?"

C: YES. I CALLED THE HOTLINE BACK AND THEY INSISTED IT SOUNDED LIKE A SOFTWARE ISSUE AND COULDN'T HELP ME, SO THEY HUNG UP ON ME. I CALLED THEM BACK TWICE AND THEY KEPT SAYING THEY COULDN'T HELP BUT FINALLY ESCALATED ME AND THEN THE STUPID FIELD TECH SAID THE SAME THING!! TWO HOURS WASTED!

Me [Lightbulb moment]: Ma'am, did you call the hardware hotline?

C: WELL YES I CALLED THE OTHER HOTLINE BECAUSE THE FIRST HOTLINE WOULDN'T HELP ME AND NEVER CALLED ME BACK. I WAITED FOR HOURS AND THEY NEVER CALLED.

Me: Ma'am, they asked you to call back when you were ready--

C: WELL THEY SHOULD HAVE CALLED ME BACK SO I CALLED THE OTHER ONE AND THEY WASTED MY TIME TO BY ASKING ME TO DO STUFF ON THE MACHINE THAT DIDN'T EVEN FIX IT

Her manager apparently comes down at this point to check on her, so she puts me on speakerphone. We are clicks away from resolving the issue so I try to drop the issue of "who called who," but apparently for her, she now has to double down on trying to throw us under the bus. As I begin talking, she starts ranting over me. At first I let it go, but it started to seem intentional. There would be a pause, so I would start providing instructions. As soon as I started speaking, she would cut in over me talking about how incompetent we all are. For the first time at this job, I start to raise my voice. The customer's complaints were essentially a nonstop stream-of-consciousness rant that I tried to talk through with the manager occasionally interjecting. The below exchange occurred with all parties overlapping.

Me: Ma'am would you please try to do this troubleshooting step I am asking? All I need is for you to click--

C [Finally addresses me]: NOW LOOK HERE I AM DONE WITH THIS NONSENSE AND I STILL CANNOT BELIEVE YOU HAVE ALLOWED US TO BE DOWN FOR SO LONG--

Me: I just need you to [Click final option] and we will be done--

C: NO SEE THIS IS RIDICULOUS BECAUSE WE ARE PAYING YOU GUYS TO SUPPORT US AND YOUR STUPID TECH--

Manager: You said [Click this] correct? I can--

Me: Yes please [Click that] and ma'am the previous technician was very competent but you did not call--

C: WE HAVE BEEN DOWN BECAUSE YOUR SUPPORT CAN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO--

Manager: Okay, thank--

Me: We have been supporting you this entire time but we cannot support you when you do not--

C: WHY ARE WE EVEN PAYING YOU 24 HOUR SUPPORT IF YOU DON'T SUPPORT US AFTER HOURS--

Me: Ma'am it IS ALMOST 1AM IN THE MORNING. WE ARE LITERALLY SUPPORTING YOU AFTER HOURS RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND--

C: YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN--

Me: I REALLY DO NOT, NOW IS YOUR SYSTEM WORKING OR--

C: I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT--

Me: IS THE SYSTEM ONLINE--

C: HOW DARE YOU INTERRUP--

Manager[With a faint hint of levity]: THANK YOU VERY MUCH [Company] TECH SUPPORT, WE ARE GOOD TO GO NOW, YOU'VE BEEN GREAT, HAVE A GOOD EVENING--click

I later confirmed with Hardware T1 that she had indeed called them yelling about why her software was still down. They did everything they could to get her to call Software T1, but finally relented to let the Tech take over and confirm she was using the wrong channels.

61 Comments
2024/05/09
16:40 UTC

214

It was almost perfect!

Ticket comes in from T1, user has no connectivity while hardwired. Check the troubleshooting, and everything I would have asked for them to try was completed and more.

Meraki showing nothing screwy the switch, so I call the user up. I ask them where the network cable from the dock is plugged in, and he says D8. Silently saying a prayer of gratitude we head back to the it closet. He turns his camera around and I see a wonderfully wired rack. No clutter, no loose cables, you could almost hear the choir of angels.

It had two patch panels - one marked Voice and one marked Data, with all the cables from the switch being plugged into the voice patch panel.

I mentally facepalmed, as I think I had figured out the problem - but needed to confirm. I pinged another hardwired computer, in the office, found out its location on the switch, had the user cable trace and lo and behold its going to the patch panel labeled 'voice' - confirming my earlier facepalm.

User goes back, connects to his dock, switched the cable from D8 to V8, and voila - we have a hard working internet connection.

I have my thoughts on why this played out like it did (probably involving the removal of desk phones), so I can't be too mad in the way. But to see a server rack so close to perfection with that blemish on it still breaks the heart a little bit.

8 Comments
2024/05/08
19:05 UTC

437

Why do escalations have to be like pulling teeth

I'll be honest that this is more going to be a rant to get out some of my frustrations, but I feel like this is not a unique experience so others might commiserate.

Backstory: I am a level two Support Technician for a company-specific software. Below us is the center ("Team") that takes calls and handles all hardware (that doesn't require a physical tech) and baseline software troubleshooting. Our Tier exists in the middle to handle most escalated issues not related to the actual scripting/programming. Above us is the Developer level team that handles that.

The role of Team is to answer calls from the customers and, at bare minimum, 1) Gain access to the system via Remote Access 2) Gather information about the issue 3) Attempt (usually pretty thorough) troubleshooting and 4) Create a case with above information and send an email notification. They then ping us on our chat software and/or call the hotline, and add us to the Remote Access.

Team via chat ping: We have an immediate escalation!! [Describes a network issue which can only occur if the customer changes their security or network settings, affects multiple PCs and one Server]

Me: [Checks case because we haven't gotten an email]

Case: [Has no info of steps done other than customer reporting "Nothing has Changed"]

Me: Hey Team, what about [basic troubleshooting step 1, Internal issue]?

Team: Customer claims "nothing was changed."

Me: ...Okay, then what about [basic troubleshooting step 2, Customer issue]?

Team: Idk, we asked them to check [step 2] but they won't because "nothing changed."

Me: Alright... did you remote in to verify [step 1 and 2]?

Team: The customer says "nothing changed," and [unrelated task] is still working.

Me: Well if "nothing changed" then this wouldn't be broken now. And [unrelated task] does not mean "nothing changed."

Team: Oh. [Goes radio silent.]

Email: [Finally arrives... still has no info]

Me: Boss (manager of both teams), can you clarify if Team needs to troubleshoot this? Others on Team have at least done [step 1 and 2] before.

Boss: I guess [Team member] doesn't know how to do [step 1 and 2]. Just log in and deal with it.

Me: Okay... Team, do we have remote connection to the PCs?

Team: Nawp.

Me: ...Great. Can you at least add me into the Server connection that you are hosting so I can start working on this?

Team: [30 minutes of silence]

Customer: [Sends rising temp email with concerns on why our tier has not joined their group call]

Me: [Has not received invitation or notice from Team that there is even a group call existing]

Boss: VI, why have you not joined the call?? [Forwards Customer email that we were not included on]

Team: [Finally adds me into the Server]

Me: [Throws laptop out the Window][Connects to Server and call, checks troubleshooting step 2, confirms issue is at step 2 (Customer issue), takes screenshot, sends to Customer, Customer relents, Customer resolves issue.]

Between lack of info from Team, Customer pushback, and Boss pressure, this was 50x more hectic than it needed to be.

90 Comments
2024/05/08
15:03 UTC

229

Which Account?

I work IT at Schools. We admin 2 accounts for students, Windows and Google. This is a conversation I have multiple times a day:

Student: Account not working. (Normally telling me a random story about how they found their account not to be working that has no relevance to the issue)

Me: Which one?

Student: The login one.

Me: Which "log in" one?

Student: For the computer.

Me: Ok, so your computer log in?

Student: No, the Google one!

TL;Dr You make me want to act violently

23 Comments
2024/05/08
09:24 UTC

289

Put the cables back where you found them!!!

Hi. First time posting here. And I think I have a somewhat interesting story.

So I work for a company and I am the IT guy. No diplomas or university education on computers, software, hardware or programing but because of the nature of the company, every year there are "schools - seminars" about training new personal. I always had a knack about computers and software so I said what the hell and I applied. I was trained in mostly how to set up basic servers and active directory stuff for windows and some theory about hardware but that was it. I never saw a switch till I actually got a job in the department.

Now when I say department cause of the special nature of the company I was instantly promoted to manager of the IT department. The guys working under me was people how came for 8-9 months and left. So I had to constantly train new guys. And since I was new myself you can see some of the problems that are going to come up. I had personal knowledge on stuff but never company IT level knowledge.

Anyway sorry for long background. To the story.

Most of our PCs are old. DDR1 and DDR2 machines. The work that was done on those machines was mostly office (word, excel) and PowerPoint and emails back and forth. Some of those.machine worked 24/7 with many problems during the day. I suggested we change some important machines for major user so they can work without problems during the day and night.

New machines came in. We formated them checked network, files etc. all good. So we decided to set them up at the offices. First pc was perfect working. User very happy. Second pc the same. Third pc.... not so great.

Due to the nature of the company it was better to change the machine during the night hours. So we changed the third pc around midnight. Pc was working fine but for some reason it wouldn't connect to domain network. No ip no nothing. Checked the cable. Fine. Checked ports. Fine. Checked switch. Fine.

I was WTF? What did I do wrong. By that time I was working as IT for around 1 year. I knew the system. I turn on a machine next to the one having problems. No ip. WTF?? Turned on another pc. I was connected to the domain, ip and all and was working fine.

Turn on another pc. No ip no domain access.

Long story sort I had around 250 machines and only 1/3 of them was accepting ip.

I started to check DHCP server. Everything looked good. I was checking switches, ports, cables, servers everything looked good. The only problem is that most machines would not accept ip from DHCP and if a machine that had accepted an ip for some reason was disconnected then it would not accept an ip again. On the other hand some random machines now and then were accepting ip's like nothing was wrong. At random intervals at random machines. Sometimes they would lose connection again and some times they just refused to accept another ip.

Work day started and I had 100 user with no access to the network. I was up and searching for 10 hours with nowhere near a solution. The only thing that I maged to figure out was that if I input a static ip on the machine it would work. So I had those under me to go physically to 100 machines and input static ip's.

Somehow we managed through the day but many things still weren't working. I managed to get some sleep after 20 hours awake and searching for the problem.

Next day I remembered while reading tech stuff on the internet about how a programm called Wireshark can check the packets of a DHCP transaction among other things. I had never used it before but I said what the hell. So I installed it and started filling around. Read some posts here and there and low and behold I found the DHCP transaction. And immediately I saw a problem. Pc was asking for an address. DHCP tried to give him an address, but there was another ip range that came in between and told DHCP that if I don't get an ip first then nobody gets an ip. Again I was WTF. What is this ip range? It's not even recorded on the network that I took over when I got the position.

Now again due to the nature of the company there was another guy that theoretically knew the network and build of the company but never was hand on to the technical stuff. But he was the most knowledgeable in the company at that point. So I went to him.

Me: Hey mate. You know the problem we been having the last day? Him: Yeah. Found anything. M: yes I found this ip range that I haven't the foggiest of where it comes from or where it belongs. Him: let me see. (Thinking I'm silence....) WTF is that??? Never seen it before. M: Well if you don't know it that can't be good. You are 7 years here. You should know it. Him: Nope. First time seeing it.

I was like WTF again. F.... my life. Now what do I do??

I went to another department involved with connecting ip phones around the company. I showed them the ip range. They look at it and then back at me and said we got no clue. That is not ours.

The department that was responsible about connecting the phones was doing cable management to the server room. Don't ask why. It was their responsibility. I asked again. Did you connect anything new? No Did something change? No Anything weird happened? No The answers I was getting were short and with a face like I was accusing them for what happened. Where I was just asking trying to make sense of the whole case.

I went back to my office and I was at my wit's end. I didn't have the experience needed to manage the problem. Didn't know what else to do. No outside help was coming because of the nature of the company.

Finally one of the people under me had an idea. He hit the ip I found and nobody knew where it came from on the broswer. Lo and behold the broswer loaded and it was a managed ip phone web ui. I was like WTF again and again. I went to the department that had the phones responsibility.

Me:Hey what is that?? Them: Them no clue. Perhaps it's the CEO separate line. Me: You told me that we don't have a network for phones that matched the one I found. Them: We don't. We don't know what that is. Me: How many phones we got like that one. Them: Just that one.

I was getting more irritated by the moment. I went to the CEO.

Me: Hey hi. Your phones creates this problem. Can I disconnect it so I can see the problem exactly. It would take a day tops. Ceo: No I need my phone. Fix the problem another way. Me: There is no other way I can think. Please let me take the phone off and fix the problem. Ceo. I don't care. I need the phone. Find another way.

So back to square one. Static ip to the machine and trying to figure out what is deal with the phones.

Fast forward a few hours I go to the office of the guy under the CEO. He also has a phone like the one causing problems. I check the phone. It was saying that it was trying to obtain ip. I call the department responsible for phone with the voice of a crazy guy to that point. They send someone to the office to see the phone. And like it was magic he came with a printed A4 page that had an excel table with all the information I was looking for. The ip address range that it was causing the problem. Usernames, passwords, who has the same phones. EVERYTHING!!!!

At that point I was batshit crazy. I go to the department for phones. I get in. I grab the guy responsible from the collar.

Me: WTF IS THIS???? And I throw at him the printed a4 page. Him: Well you know we found it and.... He was scared of me at that point. Me: Let's go!!! (And I drag him to the server room.)

I stand in front of the machines.

Me: Which f....ing machine gives ip's to the phones??

Him: That one he points.

I grab the ethernet cable.and I yanked it out.

Lo and Behold everything started working!!! Everything was right again in the world. Dolphins were jumping out of the ocean with the sun setting inside the ocean!!!

Me: Why the hell didn't you tell me about the phones and the DHCP server for the phones??? Him: Well the HQ of the company installed it and we.... forgot it existed...

I didn't know what to say... or do....

I called HQ

Me: Yeah hi. I have this problem and I narrowed don't to the DHCP server of the phones. Can you tell how it is supposed to work and where it connects HQ: Yeah sure. It is on the main switch of port 7 vehicles is set up at vlan 20.

I check the ports. That cable is at port 8. I remove it and connect it to port 7. Everything works fine.

Me: Thanks HQ. Everything is cool now. HQ: No prob.

I turn to the head of the phones department.

Me: Are you f....ing kidding me? You did the cable management a few weeks ago and confused the ports?? Him: No no we would do that. Someone else must have done it.

At that point I didn't even have the will or courage to continue arguing. I just left and went home to sleep.

The following days we returned the computers we changed from static to dynamic ip and everything works well since then...

So the moral of the story??? Never trust anything somebody else tells you. Always check stuff on you own.

But at that point I was lacking much needed experience so I had to rely to what the other people were telling me who had more years to the company....

And finally I have to to insist the the "company" was in the special nature category. I don't think I can say more. I use the terms CEO and departments but they are not the correct terms. But for the sake if the story I think you fellas will get it.

Sorry if I didn't use more technicall terms for the IT stuff but English is not my first language so sometimes it takes a little more time to remember the correct term.

Lastly sorry for the long post!

42 Comments
2024/05/08
12:35 UTC

284

The useless ones

Working in an msp and one thing that pisses me off the most is when you take over a client that has internal IT staff and there is this one minion among them that behave just as end users, complaining about what's not working and never doing the basic troubleshooting steps or offering solutions.

Imagine getting call from said minion, "camera dropped off the network."

me: can you check the ethernet connection.

Internal IT: complains about having to check it. Mentions having to contact camera vendor that installed it. Blames it on changes I remotely made

Day 2: me: did you check the ethenet connection.

Day 3: me: did you check the ethernet connection

Day 4: internal IT: camera been down few days now we need this resolve Immediately. It was working fine before.

Day 5-6 I ignore

Day 7: Internal IT: I found the cable that connected to the camera, it was label. The cable was unplugged

Above is just 1 case out of others I have endured. Only if I could digitize my hand to 1s & 0s, travel across the www, decapsulate, and deliver a blow that upgrades his existence from useless.

23 Comments
2024/05/07
22:13 UTC

1,376

Customer refuses to use ticket system, I'll refuse to assist until they do

$User emailed our support group:

$ITPersonNoLongerInThisDepartment,

Every day that I would like to print using the printer in my office, I have to turn the printer off and restart it to get connected.  Today, I am trying to scan, and that trick did not work.  The printer tells me that it is not connected to the computer.  I am not sure why that is an issue nor why printing is a daily issue.  What should I be looking at to correct this?

$User

Okay whatever, should be a simple fix, I'll get one of the lower tier support people to go handle it.

I create a request in our help queue and respond via the ticket asking to confirm the location of the printer, the make/model of the printer etc: (We only use Dell/Apple computers)

Hi $User,

Just to confirm;

This is the Canon printer in $Location?

Can you please provide us with the service tag number of your computer? It would be located on a black sticker and is approximately 7 characters in length.

Thanks,

$OP

Instead of clicking the button in the notification email to open up the queue and chat box, they deleted the default to address and put in my own personal email. An email that is essentially an abandoned inbox. (I just so happened to notice it when signing into that account)

$OP,

It is the Canon printer in $Location, and there is no black service tag.

$User

I respond (via email) that this will be the only communication from me via this channel, and I explained how to properly use the ticket system:

Hi $User,

If responding via email, please do not change who the email goes to. It will automatically add your reply to our request queue, so our entire team is able to see your response. I do not regularly check this inbox so I sometimes will miss messages that come to it. (I use $primaryEmail ; this account is just a role account for administrative IT purposes) . 

Alternatively, you can click the [View Comments] button and it will open the ticket in a new tab of your web browser. 

I will add these to our notes in the request we've created. 

All further correspondence should be done via $TicketSystem.
Thanks!
$OP

Sure enough, 5 minutes later and we have another email in the same abandoned inbox:

$OP,

Understood, but I prefer dealing with a person.  That way I know that someone is responsible.

Like?? If anything the ticketing system keeps us more responsible as it allows the entire team to stay caught up on a ticket so they can pick it up if necessary (original tech gets sick, has other meetings etc)

At this point I'm not going to respond until they reply via the proper way. They've used the system before..

174 Comments
2024/05/07
19:32 UTC

322

I'd give you credit if credit were due

Rolling out a new version of a software we use - transitioned from PC based licensing to user based licensing. I send out a wide email detailing what to expect, the emails that will come from the service, and when we will roll out the actual software. Getting their accounts sorted in advance to safe a headache at the launch.

Instructions were to the effect of: Follow the instructions in the account creation email. Wait for software to be released through software portal.

Ticket comes in: Need admin to install $NewVersion. Typical request from someone who doesnt follow rules, downloaded software on their own, and wants it installed. Close the ticket, remind the user of our policy, and of the instructions in the original email.

Reply comes back with an attachment, email conversation checking in with another IT member its 'part of the rollout', and that he figured it was time to get it installed. As well as 'Give me some credit for knowing not to download software with Admin approval'.

Not to mind thats been our policy the entire time both he and I have been here, I can feel there's a disconnect. So, with a quick little check of his PC, there it is, the installer just sitting there.

So no, I wont be giving you any credit, because not only did you ignore recent instructions, company guidelines, but you also lied to me.

Users man.

26 Comments
2024/05/01
20:02 UTC

1,152

Big Brother is always watching. Always watching.

Lately I spend a lot of my time auditing license usage. Essentially, I review our internal logs and look for users who haven't used an application in a long time or perhaps have never used it. Then I ping the relevant users to confirm "you don't need this anymore right?"

Most of the time folks agree I can take the license for someone else to use. Their role changed or their team switched to a different app, etc etc. Sometimes they explain that their usage is seasonal, and they typically only need it at the end of the quarter, but they always do need it. That's the pattern. We exchange a few sentences and I move on.

Occasionally I run across a user who adopts a different approach. A chat I had today with a user encapsulates how the different approach normally plays out.

Me: I'm writing to you about your usage of the Example app. We have relatively few licenses and I've been asked to do a review. You were assigned a license back in October of last year. I see you've been using the app consistently. Are you using it to create new content? Or just to view the content that others have created?

User: I do both. I use it to create new content and to view content.

Me: May I ask what content you're creating? I checked the logs and they don't document you creating anything.

User: Well, I'm new to my role. I've been viewing up to this point but I will create new content going forward.

Me: I'll move you to a free restricted license. You'll be able to view content that way. Your experience won't change. Once you do need to start creating content, please submit another ticket and we'll follow the process.

User: I'll have my manager contact you.

The next person I pinged said that they use the license every day. I pointed out that the logs said they hadn't logged in for almost two months. They responded that they had been temporarily reassigned and once they get back to their old team they'll go back to using the app daily again. Same exchange. I explain I'm taking it back and they complain.

This job would be so much easier if users were honest.

105 Comments
2024/05/01
16:56 UTC

379

Laptop is sluggish but it’s not the laptop

Today we had a phone call in today about a user's laptop being slow. At first we thought it was due to Microsoft 365 filling up the storage which is a known issue to us but he also mentioned it could be the battery which with his specific make and model, we have had warranty claims for.

I remote on to clear the storage on this laptop and so far it works fine, I disconnect only to have a second call come in to say that this user is still having trouble. While on the laptop, our 2nd line support checks the CPU and memory usage in the background, but there are no signs of high usage. Eventually during that call, we decide to set up and arrange another laptop for him, so I get it set up and ready to go. But because of how we operate, it's remote so I could not visit him in person, after I send a confirmation in the ticket that it's all been arranged for delivery, etc. I was expecting the issue to be that the fan was clogged since we have figured it out that the higher up the corporate chain you go up, the worse the state of the laptop is in. (His manager's manager is the CEO). However, he phones back AGAIN. This time it's different, he found out the issue why it was happening.

His mouse.

It was his mouse, the end user touched the touchpad and noticed it was acting smooth, so he swapped out the mouse. What makes this even better is that I had the exact same issue, my old mouse was sluggish, so I grabbed an old mouse from when old equipment from one of our offices came in and it works just fine for me now. We both had the same issue which isn't a lot but weird it happened twice.

If you’re out of luck on issues, change the mouse

46 Comments
2024/05/01
16:35 UTC

465

Per your request

Today

It is another day spent in glorious service to <Faceless Megacorp>.

Today's honour is to build up two rooms for presentations. The ticket comes through for X number of desks with dual monitor desktop computers and one presenter PC, and the same in the neighbouring room.

My chest tightens, my voice falters. I weep silently for the prestige bestowed upon me.

Mine is to trolley forth the requisite number of PCs, and twice their number again in displays, to unbox and connect, document seating plans, import assets and image.

For Mother Nation. For the AllFather. For Empire.

I submit my humble work for approval. The Estates Organiser has "seen" my message. There is no query nor reply, silence is the reward for adequacy. I offer my presence on the next day to guide our Presenter to their duties.

The Next Day

Me: "Your rooms, my Presenter"

Presenter: "WTF IS THIS????"

Me: "...Presenter?"

Presenter: "THERE'S TWO OF THEM??"

Me: "As you wished, I have made so?"

Presenter: "Yes yes excellent work, but there are TWO ROOMS??"

Me: "...?"

Presenter: "But there's only one of me, isn't there?? What am I expected to do, stand in the corridor and shout through both doors?? I start in 15 minutes!!"

"It's not your fault, I'll take this up with Estates" The Presenter is generous, and forgiving.

It is another day spent in glorious service to <Faceless Megacorp>.

28 Comments
2024/04/30
15:09 UTC

226

Psychics-R-Us

My father, while a decent engineer, can be pretty damn clueless when it comes to computers. Combined with his inability to understand the concepts of privacy & boundaries, as well as his tendency to cut people off mid sentence, he can be very difficult to work with.

I get a call from him one day, asking why the internet was down for his whole neighborhood. I did a quick check and the only notification was that the ISP the neighborhood was well into the process of switching to a local FO provider. They were also spamming the neighborhood with notifications, flyers, and signs all over the neighborhood, telling people when this was taking place.

When I told him to read one of the notifications, he was surprised that their area of the neighborhood was being switched over. He asked me when they would be finished, as if I had any clue. I even told him that I didn't work for FO provider and so his guess was as good as mine.

12 Comments
2024/04/29
16:52 UTC

536

This guy... would like... to connect... to his computer

About 13 years ago, I was working IT at a major hospital, and while we had difficult users, one made us both amused and frustrated.

One day, he calls and said "I would like... to connect... to my computer." He wasn't upset or saying it in any angry way, it was clear that English was not his first language. My coworker who had the patience of a saint got the first call. After much trial and error with the language barrier was able to discern that he just needed his password changed.

The next day, same thing. He calls again, and we help him & send him on his way. Every day for a week, he calls and always starts with the same "I would like to connect to my computer." A couple of us were thinking the guy was either was somehow senile, or trying to pull a joke on us.

The last time he called, one of his assistants told us that he was indeed senile. How he still had his job was anyone's guess. The calls eventually tapered off to maybe once every month.

23 Comments
2024/04/29
14:35 UTC

268

Why am I notified about list entries that show me as the key contact?

Some days, I think easy questions would be a "nice" way to experience a technical support job, and then you get something like this.

First, understand that $powerUser has had many instance of "not getting it" in the past, for functions for the $platform which we support and they use. This clue-sink-nature has persisted in spite of multiple e-mails from multiple analysts and in-person meetings. $powerUser also deleted production data once, while browsing it, thinking that "delete" simply removed it from the results they were looking at.

I received an e-mail from $powerUser complaining about getting multiple e-mail notifications about a $webCollaborationTool's list. It is important to understand that $webCollaborationTool isn't part of $platform, it is one of those "cloud" applications that let people work together. Our group doesn't support that cloud; we use its applications like everyone else does. For one of them, we have a list for requests, and when you create an entry, you have to specify the person who is the key contact for that request.

So someone else created a bunch of requests and named $powerUser as the key contact. They decided to e-mail me to ask why they got so many e-mails.

I should note that I had nothing to do with setting up this list. I had nothing to do with creating the requests. The requests don't involve me at all. I'm not the manager of the department in question.

Apparently, that makes me the perfect person to address this issue.

TGIF

17 Comments
2024/04/26
21:01 UTC

667

Blurry Webcam

User: My camera quality when I go into meetings is terrible, I need a new laptop.

Me: Ok, I'll remote on and take a look, see if it's settings related.

Me: *remotes on and checks cam drivers, reboots and does a test call: The camera is still low-grade quality, darker and blurry.*

User: See, can I get a new laptop then?

Me: *noticing the tub of lip balm on the user's desk through the blurry camera*

Me: Can you get a cloth and wipe the front of the camera for me?

User: But it looks fine on this end.

Me: Indulge me, I just wanna check.

User: *movements of a bright cloth of the camera then moments later crystal clear video*

Me: There, fixed it, must've been when you put lip balm on, might have smudged it on the camera when you opened the lid.

User: *With a look of utter shock and confusion on their face*

User: Yeah, you can close the ticket... thanks...

The simplest fixes are usually the answer. :)

79 Comments
2024/04/23
18:15 UTC

481

"Here! Use this!" - A tale of non technical users offering to fix technical problems.

A while back, I was working for a group that was trying to setup a grass roots esports event. One of the issues is that we needed to network together a series of high end cameras, but nobody had the budget to buy purpose made hardware, so it was literally a box of random ass equipment that "should do the job" offered up by various people who were running the event. We're talking a daisy chain of switches, the odd 5m CAT5e, and at least 2 home routers.

At some point, we run out of places to patch things. The call I make is to buy a 5 port ethernet switch. I'm handed something that "Looks" like a PoE switch. It's actually an edge router.

Guy in charge: "Here, will this do?"

Me: "No, that's an edge router"

Guy in charge: "It has network ports, what's the difference? I've used this before no problems"

Me: "That is an edge router. It's function is to act as a dhcp server to all devices on its network. You don't use these to patch a few things together, you use this to connect a LAN to a WAN."

Guy in charge: "Just try it please"

whatever, plug it in, yeah everything connected together. Venue calls me 2 minutes later.

Venue IT: "Hey uh, something you guys plugged in just took down half the network, there's a rogue DHCP server on the network, please remove it"

Me: "On it." Unplugs edge router "Did that do it?"

Venue IT: "Yup."

Guy in charge: "Why did you unplug that, it was working"

Venue IT: "It broke our network, please find a different device to do the task or we're doubling the fee."

and that's how I was tasked to run up to the store to pickup a switch last minute.

EDIT: before anyone asks "they can afford high end cameras but not networking equipment", a lot of the equipment was on loan. Being grass roots, there was a lot of people with limited technical knowledge calling in favors from work, etc, to bring in equipment. These people were good at what they did, but what they did wasn't network/systems administration

44 Comments
2024/04/23
05:02 UTC

625

Love my wife, but she's an end user too!

This one happened at home with the wife

My wife walked passed my home office setup and immediately gasped in shock. I turn around to see her jaw dropped and she is looking at me in disbelief

Wife: “Why did you buy this? How much did it cost?” looking at my newly set up monitor

I realized immediately she mistook the monitor for a PC, even though I told her I had plans to buy a monitor, bu’wha’evah

Me: “This? It cost only 200€.”

Wife: “WHAT? That is a STEAL! Where did you get it from?”

Me: “No honey, that’s not a new computer, just a monitor”

*Blank stare that communicates further elaboration is required*

Me: “See this cable that is linked to my laptop? I just connected them together.”

Wife: *still not quite believing me*

I pull the cord and show that it is just a monitor, she accept’s that it is in fact not a computer. Somewhere in her eyes I could see that the concept of a monitor is still somehow baffling to her.

Wife: “Omg I thought that thing cost 1000€, I thought you spend all our money.”

Me: “Honey, I would never do such a thing, that is more in character with you.”

Wife: *laughs* “yeah that is true.”

After that exchange some time passes and I connect my phone to the monitor through my docking station. The wife is again awestruck that my phone’s screen is on the big monitor.

Wife: “Wow, your phone can connect to the monitor? Can mine do that too?”

Me: “Yes darling, it can an-“

Wife: “Omg organizing my foto albums could be so much easier with this!”

Me: “... yeah it could (why did she cut me off?)”

Wife: “That is so amazing, wow ...” *as she wanders off*

98 Comments
2024/04/22
21:48 UTC

219

Phone Repair Shop – The Saga Begins

This is the origin story of how I became the shop's de facto IT/tech support. I like writing these; hope you enjoy.

I work in a very small shop. When I joined, it was just me, a coworker, and the owner. After one month, two new apprentices joined—basically two inexperienced teens from the 'iPad generation' who barely could operate a computer. My coworker, while an amazing worker, only knew what he had to know about computers, like printing labels or using Excel. The boss-man worked mostly remotely because of his newborn. So that left me with a higher level of Google-fu and troubleshooting skills.

My job initially dealt with customers and back-office tasks. However, I always tried to come up with new helpful ideas for the firm since it really had a significant impact on our quality of life, structure, etc. Also, my employer is a really nice guy who isn't exploitative, which motivated me in the first place to go 'above and beyond.'

I quickly noticed that our day-to-day operations were really disorganized. Work was getting done, but it was a total flustercluck. One problem, in particular, was that we sometimes didn’t order replacement parts for waiting customers. Since I dealt with customers, it mostly fell upon me to apologize for the inconvenience caused. Really embarrassing situations. It turns out the cause of the problem was that we simply forgot to do so! We literally applied the everso reliant method of 'just remember' to handle ordering parts for customers. Occasionally, when the Lord bestowed my coworkers with his blessings, they would write the job order on a sticky note that, at times, was placed in view of our workstations.

I couldn’t fathom how in the world there was no system in place for handling orders for repair parts. Neither did we have an inventory management system; our policy was 'look at what’s in the box, that’s what we have.' Internal pain.

I quickly threw up a very rudimentary solution. My solution was nothing more than a Google Doc with a table that used the job number, phone model, parts to order plus status. It was as simple as it gets. Just fill in the info and set the status to 'ordered,' 'shipping,' 'delivered,' or 'not available.'

It took more than a month until my coworkers used the system properly. Now it has become a staple in our daily operations. Which is flattering and concerning at the same time. In the end, it works much better than the old 'system' (surprise Pikachu face), yet the list was effed multiple times over, which then I had to fix. Thank the universe for the version history feature! Everyone was happy, the team as well as customers. My God, they still managed to miss orders and accidentally delete rows above or below where they intended, although that happened more seldom as time went on.

And that basically marks the first of MANY significant tech improvements I made. That, in return, led me to learning some basic JavaScript and programming a basic inventory management software.

14 Comments
2024/04/22
16:07 UTC

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