Tuesday, March 27, 2007

'Do I have to be online to get to the Internet?' (and other crazy help desk questions)

Readers provide their own 'you can't make this stuff up' stories
David Ramel (Computerworld)

Readers really enjoyed our last compilation of "Crazy questions that stump the help desk," and many sent in stories of their own bizarre experiences with users for everyone to enjoy.

One reader recommended that we start a regular column of these things. Hmm....

So let's keep this train a-rollin'! Send your own wacky, unbelievable, twisted or just plain kooky stories to david_ramel@computerworld.com

But right now, sit back, relax and have a chuckle.

(Note: Where we didn't get permission to use full names, we have used initials.)

Yes, it was a real question

I work at an IT help desk, and I once got a call from a student at our university that baffled me to no end.

I answered the phone, "Computer services help desk, how may I help you?"

The student responded, "Yeah, I have a question. Do I have to be online to get to the Internet?"

-- M.H.

The wrong ruler

We work on a storage team and frequently allocate storage for projects. One work order requested storage space for a document imaging system that could scan documents and store them digitally.

After receiving the work order, I contacted the lead engineer to ask how large each digital doc would be on average, to which the engineer replied: "8-1/2 by 11!"

-- D.S.

You don't want a mouse with a broken leg, do you?

I had a user who called the help desk complaining that her mouse wasn't working properly. She couldn't really explain the problem and asked me to dial into her PC so she could show me.

I used NetMeeting to access her PC remotely and asked her to demonstrate the problem. She did so and I saw the mouse cursor move to almost be able to click on an icon and then stop.

I asked her what the problem was and she said she couldn't move the mouse any farther ... or it would fall off the mouse pad!

-- Jeff Wingate

You didn't say whose tech you supported

Once a "customer" called tech support and immediately showed his disgust and demanded to talk to engineering. Since I am the software support engineer, the call was forwarded to me, and I let the "customer" vent for several minutes, wondering what he might be talking about.

After he was done bashing the product, I asked him which piece of software he was using. He replied with the name of a competitor's product -- he apparently dialed the wrong support number.


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