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    A Certain Number Of Attempts

    | Boston, MA, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I’m helping a user with an issue, and it becomes obvious that I’ll need to connect over to her computer to see what’s actually going on. I start walking her through the procedure to allow me to do so.)

    Me: “Okay, you should see a nine-digit number at the top of your screen. It looks kind of like a phone number. I need you to tell me that number so I can connect over.”

    User: “I can’t see any numbers on my screen.”

    Me: “Do you see anything at the top of the screen, like a little tab? It’ll have the numbers in it.”

    User: “Yes.”

    (The user starts describing all the icons in the tab, with no mention of the numbers.)

    Me: “That’s the one. There should be a nine-digit number in there. Looks sort of like a phone number, with dashes every three digits.”

    User: “No.” *pause* “There’s a phone number there, though.”

    Me: “Yes, that’s the one. A nine-digit number. Looks kind of like a phone number.”

    User: “Oh.” *pause* “Yes, that’s it.”

    Me: “Could you read it to me, please?”

    *long pause*

    User: “Do you need me to tell you what it is?”

    Me: “Yes, please.”