Tuesday, 9 January 2007


Thursday, July 29, 2004

C N > K - either ya know it or ya don't...
Let's face it we all love tech support horror stories. I tend to enjoy them, even if some of the stories have assumed urban myth status and are now quoted all over the Known Internet And Points Beyond...
I have a few stories of my own, too. (reduce font, which bit didn't you touch, bastards you have deleted my account) and at my work, a friend and I have a private EBM (Extreme Blonde Moment) system going.
EBM moments? Uh you know the old tech support legend about the customer with the new Soundblaster card complaining that the card was reversed because sounds in his Quake game moved opposite directions to the monsters on screen? Who gets told to just pick up the two speakers and switch them around? Hmmm... We have had that moment ourselves. You just never know when EBMs will strike...
When I worked a six month contract at a local high school, one of the teachers had a document that wouldn't fit on a floppy to take home. Part of the problem was the two big images in the document which were around 700K apiece. I suggested to him that he leave those out of the document while he was working on the draft, but he wasn't having any of that. I explained that he could put the images back later but that apparently was not on.
Finally I gave up on him. "Look, if you reduce the size of the fonts a bit and drag the corners of the images to resize them smaller, you might be able to squeeze them onto the floppy." I never answered his calls for two days, and the problem "resolved itself" as they say...
Before that, I worked as the sole techie for a very small ISP. One of my stock diagnostic lines became "Yes, I undertsand that. You didn't install anything or touch any settings recently, but your program has stopped working. Now, which bit is it you didn't touch or mess with again?" And the scary thing is that in every case that was the way to get the user to fess up to whatever new piece of software they'd installed, or setting they'd messed with.
And then one of our users, bless him, took the whole "didn't touch" thing to a whole new level. I'm working on an accounting script, it's 1:34. AM! And the phone rings. I'll use "him:" and "me:" for the following: him: (South African accent, all accusatory) Hev you logged me off your server dere? me: No sir I've been here all day and night and i can assure you that no-one has been "logged off" by me or anyone else. him: Well then you rotten scoundrels have deactivated my account! me: No sir, we... him: You bastards! I'll see you in court for this! me: Sir, what's your username please? him: You bloody know it you bastard, you deactivated it and now my password will not work anymore, it's aeroflot. (Not their real login) me: (Frantically tailing logfile) Ah there's a PAP authentication failure here Sir, it seems you must have mistyped your password. him: I know my password you young bastard, what do you think I am? I'll see you in court, I swear I will. me: Sir, you're calling me on the mobile phone, this is costing you a packet. I suggest we stop this conversation now so that you can use your phone line to try another login, and I'll watch our server and see what exactly is happening as you log in. If I see you drop off again I'll phone back and we'll try a few tests, okay? him: murmmur mutter mutter mutter okay!
... Time passes, user aeroflot tries to log in on ttyS17 and has a PAP failure. I ring him right back when I see the carrier drop.
him: Well you took your time. Trying to get your lies sorted out are you? me: I saw your login, everything went perfectly until it got to the password. him: Well there you go you see, I have the bloody password stored! me: (Hmmmmm....) Sir, there's a chance that your stored password may have become corrupted. Can I ask you to type it in again please? him: I know my bloody password and I don't need to be retyping it just to prove that you have cut my account off! me: Please sir? Humour me? Just retype your password in the password field? him: Okay, done that! (I haven't heard a single key click, and he answers me in under two seconds - he hasn't typed anything...) me: We should now try that logon again with the new password, same thing, I'll watch on the server and if it fails I'll ring you back again. him: mutter mutter bastards....
... Time passes, user aeroflot tries to log in on ttyS17 again (hey it was a slow night!) and has another PAP failure. I ring him back.
me: Once again there was a password failure sir. Are you sure you have the password correct? him: (another round of abuse, I'll spare you it.) me: Well, there's a setting to encrypt passwords which needs to be unchecked, and our PPP server only accepts unencrypted passwords. That's under the settings.... (etc etc etc for a few minutes talking him through it) him: It is NOT my network settings you bastard! I KNOW my network settings and I don't fuck them up! I will not alter them, they are carefully tuned and I have not changed them from what they have always been! (Please? a Win95 network setup that was TUNED???) me: Will you please take alook sir, just for me? Check if the encryption setting is checked or unchecked? Please? him: I told you, I know my networking and there is NOTHING wrong! me: (Looking at watch and realising that this clown has kept me up a whole hour by now) Well then I'm sorry sir but your Win95 installation must be corrupted somehow, and all I can suggest is that you re-install windows using the format option. Good night! <*CLICK!*>
Scary thing is - I have a feeling he did. Aeroflot didn't login for two days, then he was back. He'd reinstalled Win95 rather than swallow his pride and admit he'd mistyped a letter in his password...
Oh and the C N > K above - if you know much command line, you can pretty much get it. C (coffee) (piped through) N (nose) > (piped into) K (keyboard)... If that made you laugh just as you were drinking your coffee just now, then you've had the CN>K experience right there...
Categories - ::/:: posted at 12:37 AM Ted
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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I Love Bees
The new fun of the web - going to look at the site for the game Halo flashes a seemingly accidental credit and link to this site. And with that, another scavenger hunt is underway.
I love the Internet, just wish I had less work to do with it and more time to devote to puzzles like that...
Follow the link when you get to that page and see if it draws you in like it did me...
Categories - ::/:: posted at 12:52 AM Ted
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Monday, July 12, 2004

Sleep sleep sleep...
I've just noticed a lot of people who browse here have been searching for a particular medication, so to provide the user's guide, I'll tell you about Stilnox and how it works for me.
To begin with, my mother O/D'ed on prescription meds, Valium and a few others she'd been stockpiling... I don't tend to like anything along those lines because I figure I'm almost as addictable a oerson as she was and I don't want to mess my life up that way.
I've used diazepams (of which valium is one family) for very short term sleep problems, especially during a depression stage. I made the doctor prescribe me only three to six tablets on the two occasions I succumbed and decided I needed sleep worse than I needed to avoid addictive sedatives.
And I discovered Stilnox while reading a magazine, there was an article about the drug there and it laid out all the facts, and I liked what I saw.
They are not addictive. I can vouch for that because I've used them on and off for about three years now. If I need them I take them, and if I am naturally tired I just sleep just as well without them. I don't think it would bother me if I never had them around again, and only keep them here because A) my partner snores in her sleep and B) sometimes I get too much overflow from work and then I end up awake all night trying to think whatever is bothering me through.
They are not habituating. That is, your body doesn't get used to them and need more and more to get to sleep. In the time I've been using them I have used half a tablet on evenings when I need to sleep, and occasionally, if something wakes me just as the effect is wearing off, I take the other half. That happens quite rarely, but in a house with cats, a dog, a partner, and her two teenage kids, rare in this case means about once every four or five weeks.
That's the other thing. If the need arises(emergency, visitors, whatever) I can hold on against the effect of the tablets. I get about 20 minutes of not quite being here OR there, but I can stay on the ball. Also, the one time there WAS an emergency, the adrenaline seems to have been all that was needed to get me awake and functioning normally.
One downside of Stilnox I have found, and your mileage may vary here, is some optical hallucinations as it takes hold, in that things at the edge of my vision seem to move or flicker slowly. It's annoying, but it doesn't always happen, and is not so annoying that I'd stop using Stilnox because of it. So for my money, if your doctor can't see any reason not to use them, and you have trouble getting to sleep (okay okay okay I'll tell - my partner snores and I normally can't stand that, so I use Stilnox so we both get some sleep) for whatever reasons, and you are sensible about it, then these little body chemistry altering parcels of lactose binder with weird chemicals imbedded are for you.
That being said, I am not a doctor, I have no idea what effects Stilnox could have on another person, and I do not recommend you should take them unless you've had a good long discussion with your doctor first.
Now go to sleep, it's late...
Categories - ::/:: posted at 1:16 AM Ted Comment made, yay!
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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Cannibal Filmography
Given the maker of this film and the fact that the cannibal and the victim dined together on the victim's penis, maybe a better working title would have been "Your Dick In My Mouth"...
Some things are just too weird, and should probably never have frames wasted on them...
Categories - ::/:: posted at 10:16 PM Ted
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Know Thy Market And Honour It!
How do I put this delicately? It seems I can't, so here goes...
My company recently subscribed me to an IT management type magazine. It's rather nice of them as they are doing something for me professionally, but it wasn't done by someone in an IT role.
Why? Because I get all my PD documentation and news online. I'm in an IT industry, and as far as I'm concerned you should practice what you preach. You talk about IT and technology and purport to know all about using and managing it, you should probably NOT make it a dead trees publication... I have a PDA I know how to use AvantGo, and I know how to browse the Internet.
So why would I trust anyone whose Internet presence seems to be limited to a "Letters To The Editor" email address to tell me how to best use my IT infrastructure?
I also play an MMORPG in my copious spare time between midnight and 1AM, and recently fell victim to a bug. The game's inbuilt communications has facilities for reporting bugs and game wishlist requests, so I filed a bug report. I waited for the game's developer(s) to respond via the game's inbuilt mail system. The bug struck again, I reported it again.
When the bug struck for the third time in a fortnight I reported it again. Still nothing. No responses, no fixes, no communication.
I finally went to the online forum, and dropped a real scudmail message there. That netted me a developer's email address, which I then emailed, and finally, got the bug sorted out.
But this game would like me to pay the developer for some of the facilities of the game, and is obviously hoping to one day become a pay for play game. And the kicker is that up until this event, I would happily have paid.
Don't put bug and feature request mechanisms into your game if you can't service them - nothing creates ill will faster than ignoring your users.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 12:39 PM Ted
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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Argh, Alien Babies Conquer Australia!
Well okay, maybe not.
But if you watched Ten News today (1st July 2004) you would no doubt have seen the rather scary theme picture they used for the baby bonus story.
I'm talking a baby here with eyes that look like inky pools, inky pools that have been scribbled on with a felt tipped pen. This baby is either the victim of a tagger or else it's alien...
Dunno why that worries me, but somehow - it does...
Categories - ::/:: posted at 10:47 PM Ted More Comments: (2)
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