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Old 07-24-2006, 11:20 AM   #1
Flint
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Computer Stupidities

http://rinkworks.com/stupid/

"The following is a large collection of stories and anecdotes about clueless computer users. It's a baffling phenomenon that in today's society an individual, who might in other circumstances be considered smart and wise, can sit down in front of a computer screen and instantly lose every last shred of common sense he ever possessed...You will read stories in this file that will convince you that among the human race are human-shaped artichokes futilely attempting to break the highly regarded social convention that vegetables should not operate electronic equipment."

I have one: A co-worker was having trouble locating a particular file on a shared drive for our department. They asked me, and I'm not making this up, if I could "put in the network drop for that file." Apparently, they had overheard me talking to the cabling contractors.

Do you have experience working with people like this?
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Old 07-24-2006, 01:48 PM   #2
Kitsune
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Working helpdesk was often hilarious, but there were times when the frustration bordered on too much. Managers and directors were the worst, by far, because they knew just enough to be dangerous... (wavy lines to indicate flashback inserted, here)

Back when I was an intern, my manager, R, had ordered a new laptop and asked me to set it up for him and give him an overview of how it worked. In return, he gave me his old system to replace my aging desktop, which I took back to my desk and plugged in to wipe the disk, re-install, etc. I flipped the power switch and walked away for a moment, and came back to find the error, "You've attempted to use an IP address already in use on the network." Expected, since we used static IPs in that office and I had set his new system up with the same. R called to complain he got a similar message and I explained it was because I hadn't changed the network address on the old system, yet, and that he should click 'OK' and ignore it. I dropped in a boot disk, formatted the drive, and thought nothing of more of it.

...until three days later when R suddenly called me into his office. He slammed the door shut, sat down behind his desk, and began rubbing his temples with a heavy sigh. An eternity seemed to pass, but after some moments he simply stated, "If you confess now, I won't fire you." I sputtered. R turned red with rage and a vein on his forehead looked as if it were about to burst as he calmly, quietly told me that he knew I had been "stealing his e-mail" and that "I would be fired on the spot" if I didn't explain what was going on and return it immediately." I was dumbfounded, but R told me that he knew the Windows networking error he had received was proof that I had been "stealing his network traffic".

I smiled, as this was obviously a simple misunderstanding, and began to explain the network, the purpose of an IP address, the benign error message he got, and that e-mail required authentication and that our Novell system was using IPX for e-mail, etc, etc. R sat with clenched teeth and listened carefully, but his expression of coffee-fueled anger wasn't phased by the simple diagram I had drawn on the whiteboard. As an easy solution and check that R's e-mail was working, I walked back to my desk and sent a quick e-mail from my school account. I returned to his office and told him to check his e-mail. Ding! A new message from me. With this, I knew, I'd be in the clear and R would understand everything. R's voice still wasn't raised, but he had balled his hands into fists and was visibly trembling.

"I don't appreicate this game."
"Excuse me?"
"You're playing a game and doing this on purpose. You rigged that e-mail to come through and you're still stealing my important messages. I want my e-mail back and I want you to start packing your shit up right now."

I went pale. I pulled the e-mail administrator into the room along with my supervisor. The queue was checked and proven clear. When someone suggested that R simply might not have gotten any e-mails, recently, because no one sent any from the outside world, R exploded and began yelling that he was a "goddamn important person" who got "e-mails every fucking day!" In his rage, R actually began to throw items off his desk, demanding that the stolen goods be returned or that he was going to have everyone's heads.

It took hours of watered down explanations and printed system logs to prove no one had done anything with his precious e-mails.

Three days later, R had calmed down and managed to squeak out a basic "I'm sorry" to me and stopped showing up for work a week later. He had suffered a mental breakdown, although no one was sure if the e-mail incident was the cause or a symptom, and never returned.
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Old 07-24-2006, 04:55 PM   #3
xoxoxoBruce
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Fes up Kit, you ate the strawberries, didn't you.
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Old 07-24-2006, 05:43 PM   #4
tw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flint
I have one: A co-worker was having trouble locating a particular file on a shared drive for our department. They asked me, and I'm not making this up, if I could "put in the network drop for that file." Apparently, they had overheard me talking to the cabling contractors.
Most computer 'experts' don't even know how electricity works. They are computer 'experts' because they bought and plugged together some components. Most damning symptom of the naive is that they don't know WHY something works. Even worse, they deny they should know why. Fodder for Rush Limbaugh spin and WMD lies.

We demonstrated this maybe last year when so many did not even know the many functions inside a computer power supply. Price then becomes a deciding parameter.

It’s not just with computers. It is also why America so desperately needs immigrants as engineers.

Scientific American this month has an article about intelligence. Intelligence is not inherited. Intelligence is earned. It is earned every day by learning from experience AND from a grasp of underlying theory. Computer assembler knows he is an 'expert' and yet does not even know why or what those components do. They have almost no experience. They took no courses nor read the 'it’s too hard to read' books (or posts). Worst of all - they have no curiousity and deny it is necessary. Therefore they don't know - and somehow know they must be 'experts'.

Above describes the benchmark example: an MBA. They are experts because they have an MBA - reality be damned.
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Old 07-24-2006, 05:49 PM   #5
Kitsune
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tw
Even worse, they deny they should know why. Fodder for Rush Limbaugh spin and WMD lies.
Wow, I was looking forward to this thread for some funny stories up until this point.
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Old 07-25-2006, 06:05 AM   #6
WabUfvot5
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It's hard to be an expert in everything tw.
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Old 07-25-2006, 10:11 AM   #7
dar512
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce
Fes up Kit, you ate the strawberries, didn't you.
Classic.
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Old 07-25-2006, 10:15 AM   #8
dar512
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tw
Intelligence is not inherited. Intelligence is earned. It is earned every day by learning from experience AND from a grasp of underlying theory.
You've got your terms wrong, tw. Intelligence is defined as the ability to learn. That is inherited, generally. You're talking about knowledge and learning. That takes work.
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Old 07-25-2006, 10:22 AM   #9
dar512
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tw
Most computer 'experts' don't even know how electricity works. They are computer 'experts' because they bought and plugged together some components. Most damning symptom of the naive is that they don't know WHY something works. Even worse, they deny they should know why. Fodder for Rush Limbaugh spin and WMD lies.
Not every person who works on computer hardware needs to be a BSEE. Despite their limitations, those with "lesser knowledge" still manage to get a lot of useful work done.
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Old 07-25-2006, 01:08 PM   #10
wolf
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As far as I know, most actual computer guys don't need to know much more about electricity beyond "don't stick a fork in the outlet."

An aside, because this is as good a place as any to rant:

The computer expert at my office is the computer expert because his late father was a past administrator.

He has a degree in journalism, with a concentration in photojournalism. He did finally go back to school for a couple of classes that had something to do with computers. When I was working as a secretary I helped him with his BASIC homework. For real. He 'maintained' a dBaseIII database for years, but can't write in dBaseIII. I solved a serious problem related to the medical records system with an offhand comment. He to this day does not own a home computer. There is something wrong with that.
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Old 07-25-2006, 01:35 PM   #11
Flint
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@wolf: My father is a computer programmer, and I am a drummer. I have no formal education or experience in the computer industry - but, I am currently working as a system administrator. I am only now going back to school to get a network degree, so I can have something in writing. My story sounds similar to this "computer expert at my office" guy, in some aspects, but for me the question is not "can I do the job?" but "can I get payed to do the job?"
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******************
There's a level of facility that everyone needs to accomplish, and from there
it's a matter of deciding for yourself how important ultra-facility is to your
expression. ... I found, like Joseph Campbell said, if you just follow whatever
gives you a little joy or excitement or awe, then you're on the right track.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terry Bozzio
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Old 07-25-2006, 02:59 PM   #12
Kitsune
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce
Fes up Kit, you ate the strawberries, didn't you.
What a reference!

Quote:
"Mr. Maryk, Mr. Kieth. The captain wants a meeting with all officers, right away."
"Now? At one o'clock in the morning?"
"Yes, sir."
"Do you know what it's about?"
"Yes, sir - strawberries."
Strangely, the Network Operations Center's night crew recalled an incident just weeks before R's breakdown that might have given some indication that something wasn't right: R and his wife randomly entered the office around 01:00 one morning and asked to borrow their toolbox. Confused, they followed R to find him frantically installing a paper towel dispenser in the breakroom, grumbling that it had to be done right that moment. Understandably, no one bothered to ask why or interrupt him.

Say, do we have a "odd/creepy coworkers" thread?
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Old 07-25-2006, 03:07 PM   #13
rkzenrage
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Where I used to work the "computer experts" knew almost nothing about software. They were mostly network engineers.
They used to come and get me off of the phone all of the time to help them find files, build EXCEL formulas, Power Point presentations or something equally simple.
The term can but used many ways I guess.
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Old 07-25-2006, 03:44 PM   #14
dar512
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf
As far as I know, most actual computer guys don't need to know much more about electricity beyond "don't stick a fork in the outlet."
We've been using the term "computer guy" very loosely. In general, there are hardware types and software types. In my opinion, the software guys only need a passing understanding of the hardware. If you understand the general principles and have some in-depth knowledge of the target cpu, then you've got all the hardware knowledge you need. Software requires all kinds of knowledge in other areas, mind.

There are two types of hardware guys. The kind of guys who swap out parts and the kind of guys who design systems and motherboards. The latter are the only ones who need a BSEE. The part-swappers are usually just average joes who have read the hardware manuals. I think these are the guys that tw said should be more knowledgeable and it was on this point that I disagreed. Not that it wouldn't help some, but a BSEE for a hardware support position is overkill.
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Old 07-25-2006, 08:19 PM   #15
JayMcGee
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mmmm.....interesting thread...

I think the old DOS error message neatly encapsulates the hardware/software dichtomy......

Unplug your keyboard and boot the PC

'keyboard error - press F1 to continue'
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