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    Staring Into Space Bar

    | Piteå, Sweden | Technology

    (A customer calls in because her computer has been hijacked by malware. After some troubleshooting it is clear that there are no repair options available due to system corruption. We decide on a reinstallation of the operating system.)

    Me: “Before we press the restart button I will explain what will happen. During the reboot a line of white text on a black background will appear stating ‘Press any key’ – the moment you see this line you press space. The most common mistake made by customers is that they feel insecure and ask before pressing which takes too long and we have to restart the computer again. The moment you see ‘Press any key’ I want you to press space. Any questions?”

    Customer: “No, I understand.”

    Me: “Okay, go ahead and press restart then.”

    Customer: “Okay.”

    (The customer goes silent for a while.)

    Customer: “So, press any key. Does that mean I can press any key on the keyboard?”

    Me: “Yes, but press the space bar just to be sure since some keys might not register.”

    Customer: “Oh. So that’s the any key! Is that the long button?”

    Me: *pause* “That is correct.”

    Customer: “Ok. Now it says Windows XP and the bars are moving.”

    Me: “So you didn’t press the space bar?”

    Customer: “No.”

    Me: “Did you see the text?”

    Customer: “I don’t know. You were talking to me and I panicked!”