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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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Hi, Everybody!

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

  • Incredible Feats of Networking Heroics;

  • Tech Troubleshooting Under the Direst of Circumstances;

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

  • Moral Support after Having Dealt with Difficult Clients;

  • And of course, Stupid User Stories!

There's a bit of a lull in the queue just now, so kick back, grab a cold one from the secret tech fridge behind the server rack, and share your best tales among friends here at TFTS!


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TFTS Top Tales - The Complete TFTS Archives


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So, a few days ago it was a fairly normal day in the office. My compadre and I are busier than usual--we're finalizing setup upstairs for a training meeting next week that required us to scrounge up every unused PC that isn't an antique, preparing a package to get a new location opened, and that's all on top of tickets that range from daily database mainenance to helping the hapless to the occasional hairpuller where we have to try and get help from vendors that don't exactly have the best customer service. All in all, we're pretty focused on our workload.

Meanwhile--whack...whack...whack--we hear a manager who's in the office from their store this week hitting his phone to try and get it to work. It's not abnormal to hear percussive maintenance going on from time to time--folks getting frustrated with their mice or keyboards when their PC locks up for a few seconds while processing something, so we mostly brush it off. I wind up taking a long call to resolve some issue at another store.


Still on the call, trying to sort out some connection issue with a printer or scanner if I recall.


The manager is starting to just continuously beat this phone. It's getting to the point where it's hard to focus on any other work.


Finally, I get up and check what's going on. This guy is repeatedly whacking the phone--not on the edge of his desk, but on his CANE, all because the screen won't respond (I wonder why) and he's trying to turn off the flashlight feature. I take the phone, use the buttons on the side to turn the phone off and back on, deactivating the flashlight, and hand it back to him.

18:42 UTC


Tech illiterate staff are exhausting

The scenario: a small business I work with remotely had a power outage that caused a hardware failure in a local server (handles the point of sale (POS) software and shared files). This meant the client computers couldn't connect to the POS, but they still had email/internet because the server doesn't handle that.

I don't think the staff understand what the server does and/or that it is located at their business. I also believe they think the shortcut on their desktop IS the POS.

First I get an email asking if deleting a shortcut will delete the POS. I try to remote into the server and it is offline. So I call them, explaining how to check if the server computer is powered on. I explain how to manually power cycle it. After a few calls/emails back and forth, I say that I think the computer is broken and needs to be repaired. I then get an email that says "we can access the internet and email on our workstations but still can't connect to the POS".

So a few more emails later and I think (I hope) they understand that the POS software is on the server as well as all their shared files, when I get an email saying they're taking the server into a local repair shop (at my request since I am remotely helping them at this point). They then ask me which computer they are taking in (the small router or the mini-atx case computer) - I had a good laugh at that one.

An hour goes by and I get an email: "we rebooted our computer and still cannot connect to the POS". So I ask if the repair shop fixed the server and they powered it back on. "No, that computer is still at the shop being fixed". /facepalm UGHH.

I have found a new respect for those who have to deal with this daily.

21:24 UTC


RJ11 cable to RJ45 port!

This site as the title suggests uses a fax line cable directly to an Ethernet port for sending and receiving faxes on their printer. They also don't have a dedicated RJ11 port for faxing. They do and use a fax server.

This has been an issue for 2 years. I was forced to replace the fax card twice with a new cable each time. They even got a free printer replacement out of this. I let them know after installing the new printer that this will not fix the issue.

Got a nother service request for bad quality faxes and fax issues of not sending or receiving faxes intermittently.

The onsite techs refuse to a RJ11 to RJ45 adapter. I would prefer they just unplug the line from the fax modem and use the Ethernet cable and port that is already being used by the printer. Then, set the printer up on the already existing fax server.

15:18 UTC


Sometimes Death is the Answer

The company I work for is old.

My supervisor has worked at this company for 40 years. (I hear upward momentum will be possible in the next 5 years or so)

There are 2 classes of employees, the old guard who will never ever be fired for any reason.

And the newbies (10 years or less) who can get dismissed without an act of congress.

At the beginning of this rant and during the events therein, the HelpDesk was averaging 50-90 tickets a day across 4 people, and only maybe 15 of those were password resets and AD unlock requests.

The rest of the problems came in waves with entire departments being knocked out of commission seemingly at random and the fixes sometimes needing 2-3 hours of repair.

Most of these issues can be traced to a single person.

Joe Schmo was a security engineer. He had been with the company for 33 years and has his fingers in every pie and system regardless of if he was supposed to, yet I had to spend an hour getting around his own lack of permissions to install AD on his new laptop.

Joe Schmo has caused the company a lot of headaches, if he was a character from Good Omens he would be Witchfinder Pulsifer.

His last act as an engineer was pushing forth a Prod change that was only to affect 15 Linux users as a test. So, of course it instead made it so that whenever anyone opened a new broswer tab on the Microsoft computers, their computer would crash and burn, some to an unrecoverable state.

When the investigations were tracked back, it was found that the Help Desk had missed a step in the primary troubleshooting and because it was Joe Schmo's program, it turned a false positive.

So the blame was shifted to us, rather than the prod change that Joe put out.

A few months later Joe Died in his desk at home.

It was sad for those that knew him for their entire careers.

But Now it's been over a year and the HD queue has gone over 40 tickets a day only twice since.

More recently.

The ancient hardware that allows the company to keep going had an awful fault that sent off alarms at 3am.

My boss, my Team lead, everyone on Slav- Salary was called in to mitigate the disaster.

As i said before, this company is old and the equipment there in is even older.

The backups we had waiting for this kind of thing also failed because they'd been sitting in a closet for 10 years.

The permafix needed specialist (and expensive) custom machining to get parts fit to spec again.

Somewhere around 4am someone found the right combination of spit, Duct Tape, and paperclips to get the system stable enough to allow the company to operate.

When doing an inspection to make sure nothing else was giving out signs of impending doom, they found one of the old guard in a lonely corner of a sub basement. He had worked on this hardware for 50 years and potentially was part of the original install crew. He was cold and dead, The time of death found to be when the machines started back up again.

The hardware ran on that shoestring fix for 2 days until the speciality parts arrived with backups and maintenance procedures in tow.

Im pretty sure he gave his life to the company in more ways than one, and those old processors took the ultimate price to keep running and keeping our pay checks moving.

I now feel even more justified in telling people that their systems broke or fixed themselves because of ghosts meddling with them.

19:33 UTC


When a wind storm wants to play in a coffee shop

I am not official IT, I just know enough about our companies computers to keep them running and install new parts when one breaks.

This is a story of one breaking.

Tropical storm Lee is hitting our small Canadian province directly but the hype was mostly nothing for our part of the province. However we happened to have these small little power flickers that nobody would overly care about right? And obviously in a privately owned coffee gas station would have decent battery backups right?

Wrong, I have been maintaining these machines that for the most part work and I was granted funds to buy a new battery backup for one that died. I did not know what happened to this retired machine until today. Turns out the coffee shops main server pc tower had a battery backup that died and needed a replacement, so logically they would grab another battery backup. And what did I find, the dead battery backup that had been replaced powering the server (horribly).

So whenever a power flicker happened the machine would instantly die, that means any coffee order in drive thru and walk in now has to wait 5 minutes for the machine to boot. Multiply that by the 30 minutes I spent scrambling for a solution and you got a hot mess in a coffee shop.

At the 30 minute mark I clued in why did the server die but not the drive thru and I started digging into the forest of wires and see a battery backup happily chugging along. I grab a power bar from our storage and replace the backup power with a power strip and hook the server up to a battery backup and all is good in the world.

TL;DR: cheap company has 2 battery backups die, replaces one broken machine with another, chaos ensues when a storm plays with the power lines

Side note: took apart the machines and found the batteries to be very spicy pillows

01:25 UTC


Out of Touch

So we provide Point of Sale (POS—basically touch screen Cash Registers) systems to a particular clientele.

Over the past month we've had the same person call in repeatedly because their Point of Sale is unable to connect to our server, as a result customers who are depositing money in their online accounts aren't able to use that balance on the POS and transactions happening on the POS are only able to update the out of date balances stored on the local database.

They do their best to get a different agent every time and try and avoid mentioning that we've helped them before—had I filtered the tickets under this account by this person I would have seen that we'd already done this rigamarole like 3-4 times before in the last month.

I went through the whole process of ruling out an issue with our server and then with ruling out an issue with the local POS before determining the holdup was likely their local network, which was outside my ability to troubleshoot. I asked them to have their IT make sure traffic over a specific port was open.

"Oh yes. We know. We've asked them. They keep refusing. They say that could open us to attack."

And like...I guess??? I mean, I'm level 1 IT—the computer equivalent of a janitor or handyman. I just know how to clobber things with my big dumb assortment of troubleshooting steps until it works again. I'm not really the most well-versed in how networks work. But I feel like having month-old out of sync customer data and balances on your cash register is a bit more problematic for your business right this second.

14:42 UTC


Finally Nailed down the problem.

Used to work frontline for a 24/7 call center and remembered my favorite night time call a few weeks ago.

I worked for a financial access company that as part of our services rented out "terminals" which were essentially an HD slapped to a fancy monitor. One night we get a call from a local bartender saying the touchscreen isn't working. Most of these places do not have a mouse and often the issue is just a loose cable or faulty driver. As I am getting remoted in to check the drivers I can hear her loudly telling the bar what a piece of shit company we are yada yada yada. Eventually we get through troubleshooting and despite everything showing properly the bartender keeps saying there's no response on the screen. We decide to put in an after hours call for a replacement PC/Monitor, again this is after hours so we had to wake up a tech to get this done.

Tech gets there and does some inital troubleshooting and finds the PC and monitor working perfectly. At this point I don't know what to say and apologize to the tech and ask if he can walk the bartender doing the calibration process in case that was the issue. 5 minutes pass and the same, previously annoyed tech, calls back absolutely dying of laughter as he explains what the issue was.

The bartender had very long acrylic nails and was touching the screen with the nails instead of her regular fingers. Once we explained the issue she proceeded to complain we need to get better monitors. When I asked if she does the same thing on her phone she answered "Of course not I don't want to scratch the screen". Have a good day ma'am *click*

17:17 UTC


In which MS Teams is heretical sorcery.

At my last job, the L2 IT support team was tasked with assisting with switching our userbase from Skype to Teams. I figured that the transition would go over well enough, barring the normal bumps that come with any software transition. I worked in the public sector in a US State.

However, one supervisor in a customer support decided any change was anathema to their manager style and made it loud and clear to the IT support team. She stated that couldn't monitor her staff remotely without their enforced Skype check-ins.

I often was forced into taking inbound calls due to the L1 team being short-staffed and overstretched as it was. On this day, I was asked to take calls due to the Teams transition.

"Hi, this is L2 with Department"

"Why are you forcing teams onto us??"

"This was a decision by the Admin teams to make sure we have Microsoft support."

"My agents say it's too hard to understand???"

"We have a whole site dedicated too..."

"No no no no! I need someone to sit with each person to explain how it works to them!"

"I don't recall any requests for assistance, most of the call agents work from home full time. I haven't gotten many calls or tickets from the public service desk about it.

"Well, they set themselves to busy and they need to available at all times!!?? They need to taught about how the software works so I can monitor them!!"

"I can point them to the online guide and they can call or submit a ticket if they have an issue or have a question a teammate can't answer"

At this point, I figured that this was a manager having issues adapting to a software that didn't take much training for our userbase to embrace. Skype wasn't doing it for most of the users, including the call agents.

"Well, I don't get it at all. The software is not user friendly!"

"Not user friendly" tends to be mean that a user can't understand an UI within .0002 milliseconds of looking at it.

"It's like some stupid Harry Potter magic and I'm just a person who can't read spellbooks! Explain it to me, oh wizard.

She's clearly seething at this point, eager to take it out on someone after being inconvenienced by a software update.

"Alright, you can tell your team they can call me directly if they have any questions or concerns. I am trained on these unknown magics.

She clearly wants to rant more about how IT decisions need a 12-step approval process. I state that changes are made with everyone's input to and that she should take to (Department head guy with a cool head and is sympathetic to the IT teams). I end the call there.

I end up reaching out to a call agent that was under supervisor lady. I worked before about their Teams install. They were just happy they had something more robust than Skype for work. No issues from them or their team members.

The caller ended up leaving the organization a month later due to "not gelling with the deparment" anymore.

15:26 UTC


New System = Fail

A couple months ago I made this post on TFTS talking about the general incompetence within my team/company, but this week had something happen that made me think I should really post a follow-up.

This has got a little longer than I had intended, but I'm still a little mad, so I added a TL;DR at the bottom
.For those that want the details, lets get on with the story of my manager proving they don't have the first clue about what their team does.

It's not directly a 'tech support' thing, more of general incompetence around a tech upgrade, but as I'm basically only brought into this because I'm the one expected to fix it if it went wrong, here we go.

There's been a new 'super duper all singing all dancing' system that's been spoken about being on it's way 'soon' to help us dealing with customer cases on probably the most important part of our team's work (that I am basically in charge of). My manager had mentioned it a few times, but other than mentioning the broad-strokes improvements we'd never seen any of it - which might seem weird, but that's not super uncommon if it's pretty much a like-for-like upgrade layout/visually, but just much better on the back-end.

For the last couple of months my manager has not been attending meetings (and sending the assistant manager (AM from now on) in their place), barely spoken to the team unless there's a major issue, all because "I'm working on a very important project and it needs a lot of my attention", which we all assume is this project (still no confirmation if it was, but there's almost no other explanation)

This week, up popped a meeting in the calendar with the team that have been working on this system, and since my manager is on annual leave for a holiday abroad, me and the AM were pulled into a meeting on their behalf. Manager had told the AM that it was to run through how it would all work ahead of it going live, but shouldn't be a big deal because they'd had a quick glance over the 'final' version and everything seemed like it would be perfect.

About 45 minutes before the meeting starts, the person from the other team that's running the meeting messages basically saying "You still haven't sent your feedback over ahead of the meeting, can it be sent ASAP so we're not just spending the whole meeting sat around reading over it?", which was obviously not at all what was expected. Turns out we were supposed to have been going through it and raising dummy cases to see how it all works ahead of time. Me and the AM had the new system shared with us, and frantically hopped into a call and raised a few test cases, planning to make notes of anything that should be tweaked.

The system was a complete mess, it was slightly more visually interesting, but still incredibly basic looking. There were no sections for customer information to help us actually identify who tf we're dealing with, and we noticed it asked some very specific questions that could only be there to rule out edge-case problems which, while they do come up from time to time, are not a main priority & there are far more pressing/important issues that we deal with that would be way more useful if we're going to delve further into detail up-front.

After loading two cases, we realised that there was a LOT wrong with this new system, and I sent 14-15 detailed points across, with a paragraph each explaining why things should be changed & potential alternative routes to take. This was was later followed by a further 7 paragraphs after showing the other semi-techy guy on the team the new system & he picked out a few things we'd missed in our rush.

This part may not make much sense since I can't go into detailed specifics, but there was another person on the call who was basically doing the back-end stuff to link this new system into our current system, they said they'd only been told that this was a job that needed doing yesterday, it's not something he's done before, and when they shown us the new system's back-end & it basically looks like it's been cobbled together with paper-mache.

The reply I got from my 20+ paragraphs of feedback was "Everything was all signed-off on as being perfect by stakeholders back in June, so we can't just change something at this point."

We ended up on a call with my manager's manager, who while they knew that the new system was coming in, they'd left my manager in charge of it, as it's related to our department, and when they'd asked my manager how things were going my manager had said everything was running smoothly.

They've ended up having to push the launch back for "at least a few weeks", but I would put money on them having to start the whole design process over again from the ground-up, my manager's manager has basically called out my manager in a chain email that the meeting attendees were CC'd into, saying that they'd been running the project so we needed to discuss things with them about why this has gone so badly, and have a meeting booked in for Tuesday.

Annoyingly, I'm on annual leave for the next 2 weeks so won't be able to get involved, but I'm tempted to dial in from pool-side in Tenerife just to hear wtf is said!

- New fantastic system was promised
- Manager has spent months working on it without talking to the people who actually do the job
- Are told that the meeting will just be a final sign-off that we're happy
- It's not & we end up having to fully test it and provide detailed feedback
- It's completely wrong and doesn't cater to what the team needs at all
- Shit is hitting the fan & I'm not going to be around to witness it
- I finish this post and realise that a quick bullet pointed list explains the long rambling post better than the rambling post does.

00:51 UTC


Poor DR strategy leads to free clothes for all

(apologies in advance for length, I'm notorious for using 10 words where 1 would suffice)

This happened probably 18 years ago and the company has been out of business for a significant length of time, so it's probably safe to tell this story now.

I once worked for a company who specialised in building retail management software for clothing retailers. One of our customers was run by a very opinionated CEO who thought he knew everything about everything and could be very difficult to deal with if you weren't on his right side.

One day we received a support call from them, stating that their production server had crashed (firmware issue with their new HP servers caused the disks to corrupt themselves) and they needed help with DR. It's worth noting that our system encompassed pretty much their entire operations apart from finance - purchasing, inventory, point-of-sale, telesales, warehousing, everything ran against this one database in an online manner (ie: POS in every store was a web application running online against the one database). Great for real-time data accuracy, terrible in a DR situation because the entire business comes to a halt. Anyway, we went in and asked about their backups. Crickets. The CEO and CTO had been butting heads about DR and didn't have anything finalised, let alone working. So no SQL backups. This is not good.

So we shipped the server and disks off to a forensic data recovery firm and within a couple of days they managed to recover 99% of the database. A support call was logged with HP about the firmware fault, patches installed, the database recovered/rebuilt and brought back online. The company basically ran on paper for those couple of days and had to manually enter 2-3 days of sales/orders data but they essentially got away with the near disaster without serious consequences.

Life goes on, I work on-site with them doing custom development a few days a week and over the next few months I listen in the background as the head-butting between CEO and CIO continue for months about DR strategies. Grand designs about a fully automated fail-over to a second environment are mapped out and costed, then rejected, then new plans drawn up etc etc.

One day around the end of October I'm working on some changes that need up-to-date data I and ask the "DBA" if the Test environment can be refreshed with the backups from the previous night. The answer? No, because the most recent backup that the "DBA" has is 3 months old. Say what?! I literally shout at the "DBA" (yes, now you know why I'm using air quotes for his name) to make a backup of the production database right this second and get some nightlies sorted. Off he goes and makes a backup.

I can't remember now why I didn't end up using that backup for my testing (possibly I just got busy) but a few days later the HP servers suffered the same hiccup as 6 months before and corrupted the disks on the server. Crap. Well, at least this time we have a fairly recent (2-3 days old) backup we can work from, right? Wrong! Yes, there was that manual SQL backup, but this "DBA" had made the backup onto the same disks as the production database. The ones that were now corrupted. And he still hadn't set up any nightly backups to anywhere

This time the forensic guys couldn't work their magic. The database was toast. All we had to go on for getting this system back up and running was the Test database (now 3 months old and with test data that needed cleaning out), spreadsheets, data files, records from their website etc. I spent weeks trying to rebuild customer histories, customer order histories, inventory positions from these files. The warehouse and every store had to perform full stocktakes. There was a 3 month gap in their sales histories that they had to paper over in their financials by resorting to bank transaction. Customers were calling up asking what happened to their website/telesales orders and told "we don't even have you in our system, let alone your order".

The kicker is that they had an electronic Store Credit system, which of course was stored in the database. Return an item? It goes into the system as a Store Credit you can use when you next shop. But with a 3 month gap in sales/returns/order history there was no way of determining a customer's Store Credit balance. So from them on (I don't know exactly how long, I stopped doing work for them soon after) you could walk into any of their stores, go to the counter with some goods and say "oh, I thought I had a $100 Store Credit" and the staff would trust you weren't lying and let you leave without paying a cent.

Kids, never land your only backups on production hardware!

20:56 UTC


Long distance Support Call

I used to work IT support for a fairly small company of around 80-100 users. The company was located in Fort McMurray, Alberta and dealt primarily with radio rentals for companies on the Syncrude and Suncor sites. Because of the small volume of tickets, we also did work for contract companies that needed techs to do warranty work for things like Dell, Bell, Lexmark, Xerox, etc.

This one day we get an email with a request from bell to do a line upgrade at a police station in Turner Lake, Saskatchewan. I've never heard of the place and had to look it up. I emailed the contracting company and they insisted they got the right depot, as we were the closest (geographically) to the customer. Turns out we're roughly on the same latitude, and about the same distance from the Alberta/Saskatchewan border on each side of it. Plotting a course to it, however, involved taking an ice road, which wasn't frozen over at this time of year. Otherwise, it was a 12-hour trip one way, down to Edmonton, across the border then north again to Turner Lake.

There was a significant safety issue here as I would have to go alone, and I don't believe there were any accommodations in the small town for an overnight trip. The Safety Officer said no to the drive but decided to arrange a flight for me instead.

He booked a Helicopter Charter from Fort McMurray to Turner Lake. Phoenix Heliflight was the company, with jet black helicopters and orange-red phoenix birds painted on the side. Great company to fly with. I didn't want to think about the bill. Granted, the cost would be charged to the Contractor company, which then would be passed to Bell, but I digress.

So instead of a 12-hour drive, it was a leisurely 45-minute flight by Heli. First time ever on a Helicopter and I will never forget the experience. My manager had to get in on the trip and came along. one sitting in the front with a full 180-degree view, the other in the back and switching places on the way home. The whole trip to another province took merely the morning and we were back in the office.

But the ironic part of the story happens at the customer site.

We ended up landing in their hockey arena parking lot as it's the only place big enough. With snow all over the ground and kicking up high in the air, it's safe to say we attracted quite a bit of attention in the small town. An officer picked us up in his truck and literally drove us to the station, a converted mobile trailer just down the road.

My job, remember, was to upgrade their internet line by flipping a few switched on the back of their router and have Bell direct me on which ones. They would then do a test to make sure it's all good, then I can leave.

So when we arrived, there was a tech already there from SaskTel pulling cables and whatnot, and taking up all the room in the small data closet that held the networking gear. I waited for him to finish while my manager chatted up the officer about the flight. I watched him as he connected cables, hooked up a switch, then he grabbed the modem and started flipping switches on the back.

"Wait, what are you doing?" i asked.

"Oh, I have this work order from Bell to upgrade their internet line." he says showing me his paperwork. I pull out mine and sure enough, its exactly the same job.

He finishes in the closet, calls Bell to test the line, all is good, so he leaves.

I did nothing.

I call Bell. They test the line. All is good.

"Yeah, the upgrade looks good. You can take off now." the rep says.

"Funny you should word it like that..." I laugh. I explained about where I came from and how we took a Heli to get here, only to find a SaskTel Tech had done the job for me. A manager was put on the phone. I repeat the story. He's pissed, but not at me. But not at me as I was just doing my job.

"I'm going to have to talk to dispatch about spending unneeded money..." he says through gritted teeth, "Thanks for your time. Have a safe flight home."

I didn't even open a tool bag. We got aboard the officer's truck, back to the helicopter, then I take the front on the way back.

Like I said, we left like 7am and were back in the office by noon.

11:55 UTC


Can't get rid of error message

So I will begin by saying that as most of us supporting the medical profession know (or find out quick), intelligence in one field does not translate to computers and/or tech in general.

User: C-Suite Higher Up

User2: C-Suite Even Higher Up

Support: ME

Email comes in from User 2, stating that they have an error message on their screen that they can't get rid of, no matter what they try. I ask User 2 what the error is stating, and they tell me it's an error regarding an incorrect Zoom link.

Now I'm thinking, "That's weird, should be able to just "x" out of an informational error like that!", so I ask the user for their machine name so I can remote in to assess the situation. When I remote in, I ask the user to show me the error message. Here's where the fun starts.

They open their Zoom chat /w USER and show me the SCREENSHOT that USER sent to them /w the Zoom error. User2 states "There it is, and I can't get rid of it at all."

I take a deep breath and explain to them the impossibility of closing a static image of the error message.

TLDR: Intelligence in one field doesn't always transfer

13:34 UTC


The misrouted calls are coming from between the keyboard and chair!

I'm an application support analyst II for a Silicon Valley company that makes financial software. My job is to handle issue escalations from the leadership teams of two of our biggest platforms. Typically this requires some troubleshooting, and if that doesn't resolve it, I interface directly with the platform developers on the requester's behalf.

Today I received a contact from a manager who was attempting to make outbound calls to a collection of customers that their agents had been working with, but whenever she dialed out, the call would be 'misrouted to a support contact' for another customer she wasn't trying to work with.

I spent a little bit researching, contacted the tier 1s who do a lot more stuff with the softphone we use, determined that they'd never experienced the issue, checked her provisioning and everything looked right, her account was configured correctly. I even tested dialing one of the numbers she was trying and the call connected immediately.

..So I invite the manager to a Zoom session and ask her to share her screen and make an outbound call...

She shares her screen, her softphone is in a post-call status, she immediately goes into available status. As many of you who have worked a call queue before know, going into available status means you'll be receiving a call, and as we're a huge company, one comes in immediately, and there's a guy on the line. She starts stuttering, says "THIS IS AN ACCIDENT" and then immediately HANGS UP on the guy, before turning to me and she's like "SEE, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I TRY AND MAKE AN OUTBOUND CALL?"

I'm pretty sure she could HEAR the facepalm in my voice as I explain to her that she shouldn't be going into available to make outbound calls, and walk her through changing her status into one that takes her out of the queue so she can dial out. She goes red faced and I politely walk her through testing an outbound call (that goes through) while I hold back the "oh my god how did you even get this far?" in my voice, politely encouraging her to use this method to call out going forwards.

The only question I don't want answered is, how many customers had she hung up on between her hire date in 2020 and today?

22:24 UTC


Monitor setup

Back in the good old times with bulky monitors.

I used to support a department for 2-3 years, then they moved office. Our contract wasn’t prolonged.

Several months later I had an appointment with another company in the new building.
The new IT guy for the department I knew approached me and asked if I could help him out. Sure, what’s up?

One of the workers complained about her monitor setup since they were in the building. He had tried everything. No resolution was correct. AFAIR she even got a new monitor.

To add more shame, she continually told him “I’m sure fraumausl could solve it instantly”.

Poor guy was desperate.

I entered the office, big hello from the ladies.
It was very hard not to laugh. IT guy was so curious for the solution.

“Mrs X, you now have a new desk. Your monitor is now at the correct distance for typing.
Move your head forward 50cm, does it look like before?”

Mrs X moves forward, brightens up - YES, that’s it. When she’s got her nose at the monitor it’s just like before.
I tell her it’s much more ergonomic now, she’s happy and promises to now sit correctly.
She then smugly tells him “see, I told you she would know the solution”

IT guy could not know that every time I had to install something on her PC I cursed because she didn’t have a proper setup but the keyboard right in front of the monitor. Much too close for working properly.

20:50 UTC


"No, I want it the other other way"

So I get a ticket from lvl1: User wants to reshuffle her monitors, but there is no option to save it. First off, good job lvl1. Why not file a ticket for yourself as well, since you also do not have that button?

Anyway, I go on the user's PC with remote assist and start shuffling things around, asking her if it is alright each time. She is perplexed, how can I be so clueless about what she wants? I try to explain that she is at home, I am in the office, and as such, I have some difficulty imagining what her setup looks like.

We try all possible combinations of screen arrangements and primary screen settings. Like, literally go through each and every one of them. It is still not the way she wants them. Which is mathematically impossible, unless she wants a nonsense arrangement. "here, this is what its like for my colleague! I want it like this." *attaches a printscreen into the chat.*

Well alright, here. I copied that exact setup. Its still not right. "I thought you would help me." Again, I try to explain that unless she intends to start livestreaming her desk with a camera, I am not exactly sure what else could physically be done to help her. I even advised her to play around with the screen setup window and put them the way she wants them to be. She then got the idea that I am accusing her of playing around. "I thought you were here to help me!?" After a bit further explanation about how grammar works, and exclamations about how hard it is to do the loads of work like this, the ticket got closed with an inconclusive "not solved". Someone else can have fun with that if she insists...

19:07 UTC


So that's how it turns on

I had a call from an old customer of mine, in both senses.

"I can't turn my PC on. I can hear a fan noise, and then nothing. It took me 15 minutes of trying until it came on.

I run through the usual telephone troubleshooting to see if I could save a visit.

To me it sounds like maybe a failing motherboard. I visit with a spare power supply in the car to see if that's the issue.

On site, I shut it down (he'd got it running), and restarted it with the case open.

The CPU fan spins fast and noisily for a couple of seconds, then slows down. Three seconds later it beeps and boots normally.

Clearly he'd heard the fan spin down, assumed it had failed, and kept hitting the power button again after 2.5 seconds just prior to the monitor lighting up. He'd had this particular PC for 13 months and not had this problem before.

I politely suggested it might be an intermittent fault, & that he should let me know if it happens again so I can investigate properly. He agreed happily. I could tell he'd figured out the true problem.

11:48 UTC


The Case of the "Broken" Monitor and the Mysterious Coffee Aroma

Hey r/talesfromtechsupport,

So, I had a user come to me today with a "faulty" monitor. It was one of those top-of-the-line ones, only about two months old. She said it wouldn't turn on and claimed she'd tried "everything."

Before diving deep, I did the usual checks: power cables, connectivity, tried a different computer - no luck. The power light wasn’t coming on. As I was contemplating further diagnostics, a strong coffee aroma filled the air. Curious, I tilted the monitor and heard a sloshing sound. You guessed it: coffee inside the monitor.

I asked her about it. She looked genuinely surprised and recalled an "incident" from last week but believed she'd caught the spill in time. Apparently not.

So today’s lesson folks: Monitors aren’t coffee-proof, no matter how high-end they are.

Until the next tech mystery!

07:14 UTC


A Karen before they existed

No, they have always existed, this is before they (and the Internet) were invented and became famous.

Back in the last century (yes really) around 1981 or so, I worked at what was called a TV (television) repair and sales shop. We even had a few of the tube, not just the picture tube, TV’s come in for repair. Yes you younglings, TV’s had tubes and were not flat. But, I digress.

Back then, 12” black and white TV’s were popular (feel free to Google it for an image, I am too lazy to link one) They were small and often had a white case with a carry handle. They were popular because they were relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and easily moved from room to room. They had a particular following with older folks and people in prison, prison because most had a headphone jack and met the requirements. This story is about one owned by an older person.

So, I am working the repair desk and also covering the front counter one day. I am out back and I hear the door chime go off indicating one of our customers coming in. I get up from whatever repair I am working on and go out to assist them. As I make my turn into the showroom area I am hit by a tidal wave of cigarette smoke. I do not smoke, the owners and all of the employees at the time did not smoke, and we did not allow smoking in the store. I already knew this would be “fun”.

I made the turn into the front and the customer, an older woman, was carrying in her TV, the aforementioned 12” black and white. But there was no one smoking out there. I was confused until my eyes focused on the TV. It was a variety that had the normal size and shape, but had a very dark brown, almost black case. I had never seen (or smelled) such a thing. I realized this poor TV had lived its life in a very unhealthy environment and now we had to provide care. She gave us the symptoms, argued about the repair deposit and took her repair slip/receipt. The receipt had the serial number which will become important later.

Immediately after she left I bagged the TV, which kind of stuck to my hand when I picked it up, in a plastic bag, sealed it, and set it aside. About 45 minutes later the store owner came back from a service call. When he came in he still smelled the smoke and asked, I just pointed to the bagged TV. The next day I took it outside and armed with a few rolls of paper towels and some 409, went to work. Came back in for another roll of paper towel and finished cleaning the outside. Brought it in, fixed the issues she brought it in for (all caused by smoke residue), bagged it again, and called to let her know it was ready to be picked up. My boss decided to charge her the minimum just to get it out quickly. That was a mistake.

She came in the next day. I brought the TV out and it was like lighting a fuse. It started slow, built, and then the explosion. First there was the argument that it was not her TV. It looked different, wasn't the right size, was too bright when we plugged it in to show her it was fixed (because we scrapped years of nicotine off the screen), etc. The owner came out and talked to her and told her we were only charging the minimum which caused her to go off and say that was because we lost her TV. The volume and arguments built for a few minutes until we pointed out the serial number. We showed her that the TV and her slip had the same serial number at which point she said she would take it and said she would come back and pay tomorrow. My boss said that was fine. We both think she thought she was getting a newer, better TV so just went with it.

On a surprise note, she actually did come back and pay the next day. We spent more on paper towel and cleaning supplies than on any other device in my 18 years there, and it may still yet cause my cancer, but we all survived and that is what was important.

21:20 UTC


Supporting a tech support phone system changeover

So, there's a project in our corporation to change over from $oldHelplinePhoneSystem to $newHelplinePhoneSystem. There is user-acceptance testing going on right now for $newHelplinePhoneSystem. One of helplines, $helpline, has different people: John, Mary, Bob, etc. (not real names). John and Mary are doing the testing.

In order to get the test environment, there's a spoof phone number we use. You call in to the spoofing phone number, then provide the number you want it to call, which will route it to test environment for $newHelplinePhoneSystem. Mary was testing the number that should have gotten John.

Instead, she got Bob.

Bob isn't involved in the testing. He isn't even supposed to be set-up in $newHelplinePhoneSystem yet, because we're just testing. Bob, for his part, was in the $oldHelplinePhoneSystem.

Still, it seemed very impressive that the spoofing for the test environment was so good, it could mimic Bob!

It turned out that Mary had called out from inside $newHelplinePhoneSystem, which does go live (doesn't spoof), because she missed a step. But it gave everyone a WTF? moment!

13:56 UTC


Can I have a laptop stand?

So this story doesn't involve any end user, but I still think it fits in this sub.

So I work as a tech support at a university, and last year I transitioned to a new campus with a new role. Unlike at my old role and campus, where desks were shared, my full-time on-site duties now earned me my very own desk and workspace. Excited to make my new desk feel like home, I spoke to my new boss about obtaining a laptop stand for ergonomic reasons. His response? "Sure, just check with the 'Health and Safety' manager; he'll order one for you."

So, I send an email to the Health and Safety manager, and his reply is far from straightforward: "Do you have a doctor's note saying you need this? You will need one to be able to qualify for ergonomic material. Also, every campus already has ergonomic chairs and height-adjustable desks, so that should be enough. You're young; I don't think you need more. You IT guys ask way to much. "

I didn't want to make a fuss at my first day, so I just responded that I'll check with my doctor. But I also informed him that my office actually lacked height-adjustable desks. I wasn't planning to go to my doctor for this, way to much effort for one little ting, and so I left it at that.

Few days later, to my surprise, I get a response. He simply said: "I'll ask Infrastructure to budget new desks."

And sure enough, today was the day. New desks and cabinets arrived, turning our old office into a completely revamped workspace. The total expenditure? A whopping 20,000 euros. Out of curiosity, I checked one of our regular vendor's prices for a laptop stand: just 10 euros.

Now I sit at my expensive, newly-furnished, still laptop-stand-less desk, wondering what grand gesture will come next should I dare to ask again.

16:43 UTC


NOC Interaction with a Residential Site Manager

A bit of a tame story but this literally just happened.

Call from Site Manager at one of our residential communities.

Me: Hi, welcome to ****** you're speaking with I_Dont_Have_Corona.

Site Mgr: Hi, I've got a resident at house ****** who has no internet.
Me: Okay no problem, we can have a look at that. Are they unable to access any websites on any of their devices?
Site Mgr: Well they are still receiving emails OK but they can't open them with the internet.
Me: ...are you able to clarify what you mean? So, they can still see new emails coming through to their inbox?
(checking connection stats and it indicates they're online)
Me: On our side it currently indicates the connection is online, although it's possible there is some sort of issue such as with the WiFi. Are they able to access any websites?
Site Mgr: I'll call you back after I check a couple things
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 minutes later site Mgr calls back
Site Mgr: Hi, when we try and access a website on the iPad it says Safari can't reach this page.
Me: OK, that seems to indicate a potential internet issue on the iPad. Does the resident have any other devices such as a mobile phone or PC that we can check to see if they can access the internet as well?
Site Mgr: They have a phone.
(site mgr checks to see if she can access a website on the resident's phone)
Site Mgr: Same issue on the phone as well.
Me: We'll need to ensure mobile data is disabled so we can ensure it is only connecting to the WiFi. Just checking as well, you are currently at the property with them correct?
Site Mgr: No, we're at the office.
Me: ????????????????
Me: We will need to test this from their residence to see if there are any issues with the home internet.
Site Mgr: Oh okay, so what do we need to do when we get there?
Me: Let's go through disabling mobile data, then when they're back home they simply need to try accessing a website on their phone.
(go through disabling mobile data)
Site Mgr: I still can't access any websites on their phone.
Me: ...yeah, they will need to be at home to connect to their WiFi as mentioned to test.
(advised when the resident is home to try accessing a website on the phone. If they still can't suggested they disconnect the power cable for 30 seconds before re-connecting).

Still currently to be continued...

04:53 UTC


Customer couldn't remember the past 10 minutes appaerently

For context, I work in a little smartphone repair shop, where our sole mission is fixing hardware issues, no tech wizardry here. My role, however, doesn't involve wielding a soldering iron; it's more about playing the charming face of the shop and juggling office tasks. With just a trickle of customers strolling in daily, the job is usually stress-free (well, most of the time). But among the ordinary tales of broken screens and cracked cases, there's one that truly stands out.

One day, an elderly gentleman walked into our shop, concern written all over his face. He explained that he couldn't hear a word when he talked on his phone, convinced that the microphone was to blame. I simply corrected him, suggesting it might be the speakers that were misbehaving. So, I inspected the speakers, but, lo and behold, the built-in diagnostic tool on the phone decided to not work. So I just gave him a call. I dialed away aaaaand - no sound. Though, no problem. With a smile, I assured the customer that we could fix it swiftly; all we needed was a speaker replacement. He asked about the cost and time to fix, and I told him 70 schmeckels (not actual currency) and 2 hours for the job. The deal struck, he entrusted his phone to me. Since it was a relatively quick fix, he'd be back to reclaim his phone the very same day.

As the 2 hours passed, our elderly friend returned to collect his phone, eager to confirm its renewed health. I retrieved it for him, and he posed the quintessential question: "Does it work properly now?" Truth be told, I hadn't personally performed the repair, but I assumed our technician had given it a thorough test. Nevertheless, he needed reassurance. So, he requested that we make a real phone call together to put it to the test. I complied, dialing his number. As the phone rang for a while, I ended the call, confident that the speakers were back in tune, as indicated by the melody. Yet, the man remained unconvinced. He wanted to hear it in an actual conversation. I obliged, handing him the phone, and we connected. To his delight, it worked. Satisfied, he settled the bill, wished me a pleasant evening, and made his exit.

I reclined in my chair, replaying the exchange in my mind – just another day at the office, or so I thought.

However, no more than ten minutes later, our shop phone rang. I answered, "Phone-Repairing Company, good evening, how can I assist you?" The voice on the other end responded, "You called me just ten minutes ago. What's the matter?" I was bewildered; the company phone had been in my possession the entire time, and I hadn't made any calls. It was the same gentleman from our store, now on the other end of the line. I explained that he'd been in our shop only a short while ago, and he chuckled, apologized, and promptly hung up. The day took an unexpected comedic twist, and my coworkers and I shared the heartiest laugh we'd had in quite some time.

(proof read by chatJIPPITY, as I'm a non native speaker)

21:06 UTC


I'm not a magician!

At the crappy game store I worked at for a short time, there was a computer they wanted to setup for a customer in an arcade cabinet. This is the same one I was trying to work on when the idiot tech didn't know what a USB cable was and thus couldn't find a keyboard and mouse for me to use.

Having given up on finding one in this disorganized mess of a store, I brought my own. So, onto the next thing. How do we get the joystick to do something? Well, I tried opening up a word document to see if the joystick and buttons were just assigned to "push" keys on the keyboard, but no luck there, they just didn't respond at all.

The box connecting the joystick to the computer had a little green light on it, but nothing else. I googled the name and manufacturer of the box, but got nowhere in terms of finding out how it was supposed to work. Where and why they even got this thing, I had no idea. The only links I found to even buy that thing were all in a foreign language, literally. My only guess is that they bought the arcade cabinet, box and all, from some bargain basement.

I punted and went on to device manager. I unplugged the box from the computer before opening the device manager. Then I hooked it up again and.... nothing. The box doesn't even show up as anything in device manager, nor does Windows even make the "connected" sound that it's supposed to make.

The only other machine we had with a "traditional" computer in it, wasn't even finished: there was NOTHING between the joystick and the computer yet. Glaringly, the computer had games in it that couldn't even be played with just the one button and joystick that the cabinet in question had. Not only that, the monitor was mounted quite awkwardly so you could clearly see all the mounting hardware and the bezel obscured part of the actual screen. Yikes. And this was already out on the sales floor, price tag and all.

I tried calling the boss but got no answer, of course, so I sent him a text explaining that the "joystick to computer" box was broken and to my knowledge we didn't have another one, but I could certainly look for one and email him a link.

A day later, the boss came back and explained in a clearly-not-satisfied tone that the customer didn't want the game cabinet anymore because of how long it was taking to get something together for him. The thing wasn't even in working condition since before I even interviewed with the store, so it wasn't just a bad stroke of luck that the USB box broke the day before or something like that.

The boss even took issue with me bringing my own keyboard and mouse, when they "definitely" had "plenty" of them there at the store. Of course, no one could show me exactly where they were in the store, the very reason I brought one in the first place.

TL;DR: Boss expects some magical ability to morse code your way into a computer by tapping wires together like in the movie Cellular

08:48 UTC


What's In The Pipe?

1990/91 - I was working for a government contractor, installing and developing logistics systems on IBM RISC-6000 computers (AIX/UNIX), for Army aviation depots. These were shops that could strip a helicopter down to the frame and rebuild it from scratch.

I was sent to one facility, where the system was getting corrupted by some kind of interference. They even had an IBM tech sent out to work with me as the issue was stopping them from going into production. IBM and I arrived on the site one morning after the local guys had spent most of the night getting the system software and applications package reloaded (for the Nth time, already). Luckily they had full back-ups of the fresh install, so this was more of taking time for tapes to run, than real configuration work.

They started running test jobs against the system and, about 45 minutes in, the whole thing went south on them. We watched errors showing up on terminal screens around the plant pertaining to system errors, software errors and corrupted data. Within a minute the entire system was trashed. The server completely locked up.

The IBM tech had a small system that we could connect in and look at hard drives. The drives had so many errors on them that the IBM tech wanted them saved for inspection. Luckily he had brought a new set of drives to replace the corrupted ones. While IBM and the local guys set about replacing drives and loading them, I went searching. My basis was network engineering and what I saw looked like line interference.

So, I got their cabling map and started tracing wires. The server was in a closet in the side of the main repair hanger. Terminals from the offices and other buildings were connected via ethernet cabling. Terminals in the repair hanger were connected via a 16 port RS-232 interface.

I figured the interference wasn’t via ethernet, or other computers, on the network, would have been affected. So that left RS-232. I traced all the wires and they seemed to be run correctly, even avoiding the fluorescent lighting in the building. But one wire was strapped to a 4 inch pipe that ran from the floor, up the wall and into the ceiling, then the wire was strapped to ceiling beams across the hanger and down to a terminal.

I asked what was in the pipe and was told it was a drain pipe from the roof. I questioned that and was told they couldn’t drain out onto the tarmac, so it went to an underground drainage system. IBM and the locals had finished their install, but I asked them to wait until I was satisfied with the cabling. I didn’t like that wire strapped to the pipe. I asked the local guys if we could reroute that cable somehow. They weren’t happy about it because it meant getting a manlift and stopping some repair work to accomplish the routing.

So I asked for access to the roof. They got us up there and we went to where the drain pipe was on that wall. Yep - no drainpipe there - all drains were located on building corners and ran down the outside of the buildings.

Now, I wanted facilities engineering to tell us what was in the pipe. The engineer showed us the electrical diagram of the building, highlighting the 440 volt, 200 amp cables running through that pipe, over the ceiling and into the airframe repair shop where they powered the Heli-Arc welding machines. Every time an arc welder fired up, the electrical interference across those cables did a damn-damn to the RISC.

Needless to say, a manlift was immediately brought in and that terminal cable rerouted about 60 foot away from the electrical conduit. The system was brought up, ran through about 8 hours of testing, with the arc welders running, and no issues. Production started the next morning.

TL;DR - Find out what's inside any pipe before you strap your cabling to it.

18:11 UTC


Developers vs. electromagnetism

More years ago than I care to recall had an issue with a developers machine in a building across town from where I worked. Random BSOD’s of different types I’d never seen before and certainly never together.

First step: remote OS rebuild. Was fine for a day or two and then the issue returned. The dev was rather snippy because they had to reinstall all their tools & sw again for nothing - which to be fair I sympathise with but it was the obvious first option to try.

Second step: I dispatched our hardware guy to check things out and swap in a new computer if necessary - and to make his life easier asked the dev to make sure the desk around the PC was clear. Which he duly did, even swapping in a new motherboard just in case … and then less than a week later the problem returned.

Third step: Our hardware guy and I had a chat, scratched our heads and declared that the devs computer was obviously cursed. He headed up with a replacement computer and I called the now seething dev to let them know it was inbound and to clear their desk.

Guess what? Four days later it started randomly blue-screening again.

The dev was absolutely livid at this point, threatening to escalate over all the missed productive time etc. I happened to be in their building that day for a meeting and decided to swing by to show willing and perhaps pour some oil on troubled waters. The dev wasn’t there but I thought I’d leave a note and looked on their desk for a post-it and pen.

And that was when I spotted the dev’s collection of a dozen or so fridge magnets from various holiday destinations stuck to the side of the metal computer case - mostly over where I estimated the HD was located.

Muttering under my breath I removed them. I realised that the dev had probably helpfully removed them each time I’d told them the hardware guy was coming … and then reattached them afterwards - probably right before the workstation started falling over again.

I’d cooled off a bit by the time I got back to my own building and wrote an excruciatingly polite email identifying them as the likely root cause and asking sweetly when they’d like another remote rebuild - assuming the new device hadn’t been completely trashed by the magnets already.

I’ve met more than a few devs who grok the hardware/ops side of things really well (some almost scarily so) and most have the right troubleshooting mindset too … but sadly others just aren’t interested or even remotely curious about that side of things.

13:46 UTC


My computer is locked up

Not my story but my roommate's from many many years ago. You know, back when DOS was a thing - that many years ago.

He worked for a company that built software to run scales. Not of the bathroom variety but those big monsters used to weigh dump trucks full of rocks or garbage trucks full of...well, garbage.

Customer calls in saying his computer is locked up. It won't do anything. Ok, well, let's try a few things to see if we can shake it loose. Cue montage scene with appropriate music playing over someone on the phone getting increasingly frustrated.

After 2 1/2 hours of non-productive frustration he finally breaks down and says "Read me EVERYTHING on your screen. Start at the top left corner and tell me every letter, number, and symbol you see until you've given me every last character there. Customer then reads off a litany of letters, numbers, and symbols and finishes off with "....and then there's that little flashy thing."

TS: Tech Support

BDC: Brain-Dead Customer

TS: Excuse me, what?

BDC: The flashy thing. It's just a solid box flashing on and off.

TS: You mean the cursor?

BDC: If that's what you call it.

TS: <with blood dripping out of his ear> Hit the [Enter] key.

BDC: Hey, that worked. Thanks!!

20:54 UTC


The Scanner

It started a nearly 3 months back when a co-worker's handheld scanner stopped working so we bought a new one. I was in her office the other day when she went on a rant about it as she was on the verge of throwing it out the window as it would stop scanning occasionally and make lots of beeps. I scanned in an item right in front of her and of course it worked perfectly. Still I had a good idea that it was powering off and I just needed to reprogram it to not power off.

I wasn't able to contact the manufacturer and was waiting for a response back. In the meantime my co-worker said she would just "live with it". Instead I got in this morning with the scanner on my desk. This allowed me to do some testing on it and sure enough it would turn off after 5 minutes of inactivity with a beep. To wake it up you needed to click the trigger where it would make a new beep and then you could carry on like normal. I was rolling my eyes that this was the "problem" she was having.

I never did hear back from the manufacturer but found a secondary manual which had different barcode to scan. That barcode worked and sure enough it did not turn off. I thought my co-worker would be happy I fixed it but nope she wanted nothing to do with it. She found another scanner and loved that one. I think her old age is catching up with her.

19:09 UTC


Going In Circles About A Phone Number

So I work for state-wide IT, what I do is mostly incidents and tickets regarding Mitel and Teams phones. Among Mitel duties is going into the servers and updating the user information so that line XYZ rings as John Doe and the voicemail links to JD's email. If a customer/client needs the speed dial hotkeys on their phone updated, that's also something we have to do on our side. It's pretty cut and dry stuff.

This particular incident has been going on for a few days now and me and the customer have been going in circles because said customer won't give me the correct information (And all attempts to call them sends me straight to voicemail). They need two hotkeys on a clerical phone in their office updated so Veronica Sawyer gets changed to Regina George and Ben Franklin -> Tim Allans. All I need to do that then is the phone number for that particular phone, the phone whose hotkeys I'll be updating. Simple, yeah?

Apparently not.

Customer, who took two days to even give me any information, gives me the phone numbers for Regina and Tim, does not give me the number for the phone I need to updated.

Me: Well, looks like their own, individual, phones are set up and labeled correctly in the system, no changes needed to be done there. Since it looks like we'll need to update the hotkeys for a specific phone, I need the number for that one.

Customer, after a day; gives me the numbers for Regina and Tim again, and then a main line ring group (these lines don't attach to an individual phone. They're umbrella numbers to link the phones of an office, and there could be from one to two to a dozen numbers underneath it).

Me: Looks like that's a main line number, what 7-digit extension is the phone we're updating using?

Customer ghosts me for two days, ignores my calls, and then escalates things by making an incident ticket (for more serious and “I need attention NOW” problems as opposed to just the normal request tickets it originally was) about how this request hasn't been done yet and mentioning that I apparently dont know what I'm doing. Incident, ironically, was assigned to me and I comment on it that the original task is still ongoing and I am waiting on response from customer. Customer finally responds after that "Well LIKE I SAID x days ago, their numbers are THIS AND THIS" and gives me the numbers to Regina and Tim. Again. Which I have already said are not the number I need.

I am so ready to pull my hair out with this one.

Edit: it got solved, her supervisor (I think) hopped on the ticket, actually answered the calls, and in like five minutes we sorted out what needed to be done and got everything updated and working. Turned out it was her (one who made the ticket) own phone that needed to be updated.

15:30 UTC


That's not your mouse, ma'am...

Very technically challenged user. She called maybe twice a month, because her mouse stopped working. Every single time it was because she had lost the dongle. I have no idea why she kept unplugging them, because she always left her mouse at her desk. We had a box full of abandoned dongles, so we just kept pairing her mouse to another one. Until we lost patience and gave her a corded mouse. That worked for a while, until one day...

She calls in, because her mouse wasn't working again. I go to her desk, and she moves her mouse around to show me. Except, it wasn't her mouse, it was her webcam. It had somehow fallen forwards, onto the mouse mat. Her mouse was lying on the same mat, right next to the face-down webcam.

She did good work, as long as she could open the software she needed...

EDIT: Thanks for all your comments. I just want to add that most of my users are really cool. 90% of them always try rebooting and replugging before calling.

There was one recently who was getting headaches, because there was a loud buzzing noise in the office, that she shared with four other people. She unplugged everything on two different desks and reassembled everything perfectly. She figured out that the noise was coming from the powerbrick of one of the four docking stations. And then she created a ticket to have the brick replaced.

So, yeah. My users are pretty damn cool sometimes.

08:38 UTC


Trust But Verify

Several months ago I received a ticket for a faculty member’s wireless signal not being very strong and dropping out occasionally in their office. Let’s call him Faculty A. The ticket was created in January, but they cite it started happening last fall. The ticket was kicked over to desktop support from networking, citing “The network speeds are fine, please look at user’s device.” So I reach out to him, and he explains that he doesn’t think it’s his work laptop because his phone doesn’t get full wireless signal in his office, and it’s the same case with students. He also doesn’t have the issue at home or going anywhere else with wireless. Just to prove a point, we do a Speedtest on ethernet and on wireless. The ethernet tests looks good, but wireless gives a “wireless test error” which I haven’t seen before. I also get screenshots of both the laptop and phone not getting a full signal.

As I’m putting these notes in the ticket, I start putting some pieces together in my head and remember working with a different faculty member, Faculty B. B teaches in a computer lab directly below A’s office, and this semester started reporting issues with streaming music from various streaming services (it was related to class). Of course, when I looked at it with them in the lab the issue didn’t happen. I assumed it was a wireless issue because we tested on a slow Friday afternoon, he normally has a full class of students during the week where more devices would be using the wireless. I found him a spare ethernet cable to use in the meantime, and told him to report the issue in a new ticket if it kept happening so that networking can determine if that lab needs an access point.

The final piece was put together when I was working with B on a separate ticket, and noticed his wireless not at full strength. B happens to have an office above A, and I only know this because I work with the faculty in this building a lot. I ask him about it, he says it’s always been that way but only in part of his office. His desk is near the back of his office where he has an ethernet connection, but the closer he gets to the front of his office the better the signal strength is. That pretty much confirms there’s no access point on that side of the building.

I tell all of this to the network tech (let’s call him NT) who originally re-assigned the ticket, and agreed to put a new access point in A’s office to see if that helps. The date is scheduled for their vendor to come out and install, A says they can do what they need to do without him there. I didn’t hear from anyone the day of the install, so the Friday before our spring break starts I reach out to A and network tech just to verify it was complete, and see if A has tested it. NT says it was done, A says he’ll test when he gets a chance. It being spring break I know I may not hear back until next week.

The week of spring break, B sends our support team an email, copying me, reporting no wireless in his office now. B also reaches out to me later that day for a separate issue, and asks me about the wireless issue. I tell him that networking will need to assess it, and see if it’s at all related to the new access point just put in place. He said it’s possible it’s been gone out since the day of the install, he just hasn’t been in his office that day.

The Monday of Spring 2 classes, B emails again on the support ticket copying me, my assistant director, and his department chair. That day I also got an email from A who tested their office wifi upon coming back and still has no wireless. So I emailed NT letting him know this, and how I suspect the issues are related because of the timeline of the new access point. There’s nothing else I can do beyond that since it’s not my team supporting wireless. 3 days later B emails again that there’s been no movement on this ticket.

The following Monday is week 2 of classes. B emails in that it’s still not working, copying NT and his Dean. I can only assume that his Dean may have had a chat with our CIO, which then trickled down to Networking Director, who finally got on NT’s case until it was fixed. I never did get a confirmation from B but I stopped getting emails about it, and A did finally confirm he had wifi that was working much better than before.

19:36 UTC

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