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Haywood Jahelpme (aka Tech Support Hell)

I am a real live tech support person. And I live in Tech Support Hell.
SAVE ME!!!! UPDATE: I have been saved!
Wanted: Techs in Support Hell needed to help keep this blog alive!

Sunday, December 29, 2002

.: 11:58 PM
posted by daddy-o

Take a walk back in time:

Where did they go today?

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Sunday, December 22, 2002

.: 10:14 PM
posted by daddy-o

I have a wall unit

What the hell is that supposed to mean??? So you don't want to trouble shoot? ACK!

I asked the guy find the USB cable in the computer and he swears he can't find it. I ask if he is sure that he is connecting with USB. He swears that our tech set it up and he hasn't touched it since. I knew he had to have a USB cable because I had him read the Network Components to me and there it was: Toshiba USB Cable Modem. It was not showing up in the IP Configuration window so I knew instantly that it was a USB driver issue (never had that happen before - hah!). But he couldn't find the damn cable. And the tone he is using with me makes me think he is blaming us for his computer's problem (bad USB support in Windows 98 and him being so lame as to not have a NIC in his damn computer).

So he asks me:

Mr Customer: Where would the USB cable plug in to the computer?
Me: I don't know, maybe near the mouse, or in the back or maybe even in the front?
Me (aside): Shit, I wasn't there when the tech set you up.

Mr Customer: Well, I have a wall unit. I can't really tell where things connect.
Me (aside): And I can?

Mr Customer: Oh, wait a second. I think I found it.
Me: Really, where was it?
Mr Customer: It was in back of the computer, but I was looking in the back of the monitor.


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.: 6:55 PM
posted by daddy-o

The "No Case" Mod

Neuhausplatz 200NC, "look ma, no case"

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Monday, December 16, 2002

.: 12:07 AM
posted by daddy-o

The limits of the Help Desk

Me: Thank you for calling < ISP >, I can help you.
Mrs. Customer: Can you help me?
Me: Yes, I can help you
Mrs. Customer: I swear I am really dumb
Me: Ummm... there are some things I can't help you with...

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Sunday, December 15, 2002

.: 12:43 AM
posted by daddy-o


Mrs. Customer: I just tried to open the thing with my thingee and it's not doing the thing it's supposed to do.
Me: Uh, is that the technical explanation? Are you not able to get on the Internet?
Mrs. Customer: Yes.

Well, why couldn't you have said that in the first place?

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Thursday, December 12, 2002

.: 7:53 PM
posted by daddy-o

Bite yer tongue

Me: Are you able to get online now?
Mrs. Customer: I am looking at George Bush right now on CNN
Me (to myself): Bite your tongue (don't call him G-Dub the Shrub, like you want to and please refrain from using polarizing political commentary!)

A little later in the conversation..
Mrs. Customer: Hang on a second, you're talking to a complete idiot.
Me (once again biting my tongue): Ma'am I talk to idiots all day long....

I wish I could say the stuff I really wanted to....

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.: 3:07 PM
posted by daddy-o

I have decided to back off of my earlier plea for people to take an Internet Users Exam before being allowed to connect to the Internet in favor of requiring them to pass a test before they are allowed to buy router! I can deal with the idiots who can't get online, but when someone buys a router/firewall, they think that since they can't get it working, it is the ISP's fault. At the bare minimum they need to be able to read the box. If the word "MODEM" is not on the box, or there is no place to screw in a coax cable, then it is not my responsibility. We provide the highway, you bring the car. If your router (or rooter) isn't getting online, then you need to call the router people.

Linksys has a new modem coming out that is a router and a modem. The thing that confuses people with their current product line is the phrasing "Broadband Cable/DSL Router". It is not a cable modem. The packaging does not say "Cable Modem" unless it is an actual cable modem. It says cable/DSL because you can use it to network your computers with that type of connection. It is a router that connects to a cable or DSL modem and something that we do not support. The comparison would calling your neighborhood brake mechanic because the stereo in your car isn't working right. It just doesn't make sense.

And I quote:

Mrs Customer: I just got a new cable modem router and need to get the server address from you.
Me: Huh?
Mrs Customer (somewhat frantically): I just need to get on the Internet so I can type the address in.
Me: What address?
Mrs Customer: For the modem.
Me: Do you have a cable modem or a router? Or is it both?
Mrs Customer: It is a modem. It also is a firewall.
Me: Are you sure?
Mrs Customer: Um, yes.
Me: Can you read to me what it says on the box?
Mrs Customer: Linksys Broadband Router/Firewall.
(at least she didn't say Linsky!! I have heard that one several times....)
Me: OK, so you do not have a new modem, but rather a new router/firewall. Linksys also makes a device that does both, but you do not have that.
Mrs Customer: Well, this is a cable modem router, right?
Me: Well.... Is there a coaxial cable screwed into the back of this box (like you would see in your TV)?
Mrs Customer: No, there isn't.
Me: Then let's find the box that has that cable screwed into it like you would see in the back of your TV. Got it? That is your modem and that is all I can really help you with, since I don't know too much about home networks and routers. (BIG FAT LIE)
Mrs Customer: Well, how does the rooter hook up to the cable modem?
Me: Uh, I don't know, we don't support home networks and routers. That is why I needed to make the distinction with you. What lights are on on the modem right now?
Mrs Customer: Well, none of them. It is unplugged. I'll have to call you back.

Um, I think I see the problem. Let's put the router/firewall back in the box and take it back to Best Buy and return it because you are tooooo stupid to own one!!!!

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Wednesday, December 11, 2002

.: 8:35 PM
posted by daddy-o

This guy took 3 minutes and 30 seconds to tell me that everything is now working on his computer. I didn't even get to verify his name or anything. He j-u-s-t t-a-l-k-e-d ssssooooooo slllllooooowwwwww..... He was talking so slow I couldn't even follow what the hell the original problem was, all I could gather was that he was trying to do something with Outlook Express. You know how some people can take a one syllable word and make 4 syllables out of it? DAMN= Day-yuh-um-uhh!!!!!! But thank God the problem was already resolved!

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Monday, December 09, 2002

.: 11:55 AM
posted by daddy-o

I think we all know a George....

The Chronicles of George

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.: 11:53 AM
posted by daddy-o

If only.....


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Friday, December 06, 2002

.: 10:07 PM
posted by daddy-o


Mr: Customer: I hayed uh UBS connection but now ahm yoosin In-terr-net
OTHER REP: It looks like you're already online
Mr. Customer: How ees that pawss-i-bull?
OTHER REP: You were using your "Internet" connection

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.: 9:37 PM
posted by daddy-o

Online Banking

Guy wanted to know what firewall he should get so he can begin doing online banking using his new Internet service. He wanted to be able to protect his routing number and bank account info and make sure no one would be able to intercept his communications. Legitimate concerns these days, I felt. I was tempted to tell him the first thing that popped into my head which was "Walk or drive yourself to the bank, and don't do online banking!" Instead I explained the difference between hardware and software firewalls and how they don't really apply to this situation and I advised that if he has Internet Explorer 6 or higher he has 128 bit encryption which is about the best he can hope for currently.

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Thursday, December 05, 2002

.: 11:18 PM
posted by daddy-o


Me: Let's go ahead and uncheck everything in that window
Mrs. Customer: Take the checks off?
Me: Yes, uncheck them all.
Mrs. Customer: Do you mean uncheck?
Me: Yes, remove the little checkmark from each item there.


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Wednesday, December 04, 2002

.: 3:33 AM
posted by daddy-o

And here is why it should be called Bone Alarm:

Had a guy tonite that I spent 45 minutes with, after my shift had "ended" troubleshooting his inability to surf the 'Net. He could release and renew his IP address and I could ping the IP he was pulling, no problem. When he would open IE, he would get the dreaded "Page cannot be displayed" error message. We could ping IP addresses and URLs (www.domain_name.com) indicating that his Winsock file was OK and his connection was fine. It had to be a browser issue. We checked for proxies and reset all browser settings. I noticed he had Internet Connection Sharing in the network properties, so we removed it, since it can cause problems (he had Windows 98).

At or around the 45th minute, I asked him if he had any firewalls, because I was running out of ideas. And he says, yeah, just Zone Alarm. Aha! Yet, he was in total denial that the program could be the problem. Well, if a program is designed to block your access on a program level (you can allow or deny programs to connect to the Internet thru the firewall, and if anything in the program changes, then the firewall assumes it is a different program and then denies it Internet access,) then there is a possibility that the software can fail. And that is precisely what happened to him.

I was glad that my sup was listening since the guy was still in denial that the problem was with Zone Alarm, even after he was able to connect with ZA set to not load at startup, which is the only way to really disable the True Vector component of the program. Now, I have had customers argue with me that it can't possibly be Zone Alarm that is the problem, ("it was working fine yesterday", "it has been working this way ever since I installed it", "It's just a firewall, the problem is with your network", etc...), but this guy took the cake.

Me: Now do you believe me?
Mr Customer: No, not yet.
Me: I see this at least 3 times a day. Zone Alarm's software all of a sudden stops working correctly, for some reason. It even happened to me, whe I had it on my computer. I set it to not load at startup and rebooted the computer and viola! Everything worked again!
Mr Customer: Why would it stop working all of a sudden? It was working this morning.
Me: Have you ever been in a car that all of a sudden stopped working? Then it shouldn't be that much of a stretch to agree that software can fail too. Has your computer ever frozen on you?
Mr. Customer: But you just raised your rates.
Me: But what does that have to do with your connection?
Mr. Customer: Nothing.
Me: So your statement is facetious. Look, here is the deal: Your modem is online, you are pingable, you can release and renew your IP address which tou are getting from us, you can ping IP addresses and domain names (URLs), but you are unable to view webpages. We disabled Zone Alarm from loading at startup and now you are able to view webpages. Do you believe me now?
Mr. Customer: Um....yes.

Later after we ended the call (peacefully), I went over to talk to the only remaining supervisor, who I figured was listening to the call since we were 45 minutes past the normal quitting hour. After we finished the high fives, he told me he was worried that the guy would want to be escalated to him, since I was being so tough with him, but he got a big kick out of me comparing the software glitch to a car breaking down. It works everytime, since no one can say that their car has never broken down on them.

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Tuesday, December 03, 2002

.: 10:52 PM
posted by daddy-o

What Kind of connection is it?

Me: Is that a USB connection you use to connect the computer to the cable modem, or are you using the Ethernet cable (the oversized phone jacks)?

Mrs. Customer: Harold, is this a USB connection?

Mr. Customer (heard in the background): No, that's a computer connection.

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.: 9:55 PM
posted by daddy-o


Guy can't get online because every page he goes to redirects him to our home page www.< ISP >.net... Turns out he had set up a proxy server, which we don't use, to point to www.< ISP >.net! Well, yeah, I could see that being the source of the problem! LOL

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Monday, December 02, 2002

.: 8:12 PM
posted by daddy-o

My friend just had a great idea:

Someone should make a program called "Bone Alarm".

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.: 5:07 PM
posted by daddy-o

Installing and uninstalling USB for Motorola modems

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.: 4:59 PM
posted by daddy-o

Not a complete list, but a good starting place for Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

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