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They Exist Now! Welcome To The Future!

, , , | Right | December 23, 2021

Elderly Gentleman: “I’d like to buy one of those fancy video players. You know, the ones that play CDs but with films on them?”

Now, you could forgive him for the description, given his age, but when he seemed totally convinced that we — a supermarket, not a tech shop — sold a DVD player that CHANGES THE DISC FOR YOU WITHOUT HAVING TO TOUCH IT… I politely gave him directions to a larger retail store at that point.

This was about fifteen years ago, so if such technology exists now, please let me know.

I Think I Just Aged Fifty Years

, , , , | Related | December 23, 2021

I’m waiting in line to mail out a package. There’s a family of five ahead of me with three boys aged between eight and sixteen getting passports made. After the pictures are taken and the postmaster is printing off the booklet, there’s a buzzing sound and I hear the following conversation.

Youngest Son: “Mom, what’s that noise?”

Mom: “That’s dial-up Internet — a sound none of you will appreciate.”

Oldest Son: “So that’s what that sounds like?!”

Sometimes You Have To Go Way, Way Back To The Basics

, , , | Right | CREDIT: norgeek | December 20, 2021

Back in the mid-2000s, I was technically an intern building PCs at a small computer shop, but in reality, I did everything from picking up parts from our supplier to shipping and dealing with customers and troubleshooting, and I even did the weekly garbage run.

It was around the time when many businesses here in Norway started to move their stuff from physical locations to online services — everything from banks to government functions — and lots of people were starting to pick up their first PCs out of necessity rather than interest.

I got to work and found that I had a build order for one of our basic PCs. I built it, tested it, packed it up, and called the customers as they wanted to pick it up at the store.

I happened to be at the front desk when they came to pick it up, and it turned out to be an elderly couple, so I offered to put everything in their car for them. Those cheap steel boxes were heavy back then! Apparently, they would get help to set it up at home.

Just as I was about to leave work for the day, I was called to the office and told there was a problem with the computer I built earlier that day. The elderly couple was on the phone, and I took the call.

Me: “Hi. I heard you were having a problem with your new computer?”

Them: “Yes, you forgot to include the antenna!”

Me: “I… Um, I am pretty sure there wasn’t supposed to be an antenna? It didn’t have Wi-Fi.”

Them: “There has to be; the computer says it isn’t getting a signal!”

Me: “Did you connect everything? Are all the lights on? Did you figure out all the cables?”

Them: “Yes, everything is connected. It’s just not getting the signal!”

I’m not a phone support guy, and this elderly couple did not appear to be sufficiently comfortable with this new contraption to go through troubleshooting by phone, anyway. I also knew it’d be a hassle for them to pack everything back up and return to the store, which is normal store procedure. I asked them where they lived, and it was not a terrible detour for my drive home, so I offered to drop by and take a look.

When I got there, everything looked fine at first glance… until I realized that the tower wasn’t anywhere to be found. Huh. The monitor was saying, “No signal,” because there was nothing —other than the mouse and keyboard plugged into the integrated USB hub — connected to it.

Me: “Hey, uh, where’s the PC?”

They stared blankly at me.

Me: “The big black box?”

Them: “Oh, so there is something missing?!”

I then remembered that I’d carried everything to their car, put the monitor and accessories in the back seat, and put the PC itself in the trunk. I went out to their car, found the PC where I’d left it, and brought it inside. A couple of minutes later, it was running, and I got it connected to their Internet service.

I realized that they’d need a bit of a crash course to get started, and I offered to show them how the basics work. They gladly accepted but insist on serving me dinner first. I got home pretty late that day, but I never charged them anything for it. The food was good, they were nice, and for years afterward, they’d send their friends and family to our shop to buy computers.

Living Life One Screen At A Time

, , , , | Right | December 20, 2021

A credit union member comes in with a handwritten document she wants notarized.

Me: “In order for a notary public to notarize the form, there needs to be a notarial certificate attached.”

Member: “Where would I get one?”

Me: “You can Google notarial certificate and the different types will come up. You can choose the appropriate one, print it, and come back with your forms and the certificate to be notarized.”

Member: “I get on the Internet through my phone. How do I get the form from my phone to paper?”

Tech-Related Stupidity: Unplugged

, , , | Right | CREDIT: smohk1 | December 20, 2021

I get in Monday morning and one of our users reports:

Customer: “We can’t access anything! No email, Skype, Teams, Internet… anything! We can’t get on the network and [long explanation of things they can’t do].”

Me: “Okay, let’s look at your computer — bottom right corner near the clock.”

Customer: “Okay… it’s a circle with an X. Everyone is having the same issue.”

Me: “Okay, let me log into the local network to see what’s going on.”

I log into the controller and see there is no one connected to the network.

Me: “Okay, I think something got unplugged. Can you walk back into the network closet and check [connection] for me?”

Customer: “Where is that?”

Me: “Back hallway, third door on the right? I think?”

Customer: “Oh! You mean at the old building! We moved over the weekend.”

Me: “Excuse me, what?”

Customer: “Yeah, we moved. We left all the complicated computery-looking stuff with lots of wires at the old building. It looked really complicated and we didn’t want to mess anything up.”

Me: “Well… I think I figured out your problem.”

Customer: “How long will this take to fix? I need my stuff now!”

Me: “I’m looking up flights now… I’ll let you know.”