From Sun Feb 11 03:23:01 1996
Subject: Tech Support Tales #10

ALL TRUE!* It will never cease to amaze me how silly and befuddled some
people get with their computers. Every day thousands of people turn on
their computers (or try to) and come across a problem which they think they
understand. The results of their actions can be amusing and often
hilarious. And let's not forget the boneheaded Techs we all have to endure
from time to time.

  *** WELCOME ***
to issue #10 of TECH SUPPORT TALES - the publication which proves that
stupidity breeds humor. This issue of Tech Support Tales has been sent to
2,000 (yes, 2,000 exactly!) email subscribers around the globe by the lesser
known Bubba "LoveBucket" Gates.

Hey Homey,
You can now visit the Tech Support Tales FTP site for back issues. I will
periodically place other funnies (sounds, graphics, texts, etc.) there, so
stop in every once in a while. If you'd like, send me some tech support
sounds & graphics for the site.

The Official Tech Support Tales web site is back up and running at a new
home. Point your browser to:

Last month I plugged our new Macintosh User Group BBS (Speakers Corner
BBS/CoMUG). Our goal is to serve the needs as more of a global MUG than a
community one, and membership is absolutely free. The more members we have
online, the more we can serve the Mac community. We've installed our TCP line
and the BBS is up and running on a Radius 81/110 clone with TeleFinder as the
host. You can download the Mac settings file at the above mentioned FTP site
or call the board and download it from there. The IP address is:
Once you get online, send an email to Eric Hausmann or Mark Sablow with your
email address, and we'll get you validated so you can have access to all the
cool & groovy stuff.

On with the tales! Enjoy, and please remember to always use a Clapper to shut
down the computer when you're done.

-Eric Hausmann
Editor, Tech Support Tales
Vice President, CoMUG
TEK   <--please take note of the new TST email address.
TO SUBSCRIBE: I'm not using a fancy-schmancy mail server, so please don't
send me any cryptic mail server type messages...a simple note with the
words "Subscribe Tech Support Tales" in the subject field will do the

BACK ISSUES: Back issues can be obtained via FTP
( or directly from me via email. Let me know
which issues you'd like and I'll send them your way. If you have any of your
own stories that you would like to see in a future issue, please send them
along. If you prefer to remain anonymous, please let me know in a prominent

Send all submissions mail, comments, rants, complaints, graphics and
reformatted AOL floppies to: TEK TALES@AOL.COM

Thanks to the following individuals for sharing the jokes and tales you are
about to read: 

AFL,,,,,, Kudra,,,,,,,

DayDoubler from Connectrix

DayDoubler is a new product from Connectrix that gives you those extra hours
in each day that we've been asking for. Using sophisticated time mapping and
compression techniques to double the number of hours in the day, DayDoubler
gives you access to 48 hours each day. With the shareware hack MaxDay, you
can easily stretch your day to 60, 72, or even 96 hours! Connectrix warns
that at the higher numbers, DayDoubler becomes less stable and that you run
the risk of a temporal crash in which everything from the beginning of time
to the present would come crashing down around you, sucking you into a black
hole. Should this occur, be sure to reboot with the shift key down.


To the editor,
   I have just read your collection of "tales" from a bunch of
self-important jerks who think that making fun of people 
who don't have the same tech knowledge as they do is funny.
 I am an audio engineer and MIDI programmer (starting with
a C64) and consider myself very accomplished in my field.
If I took the same attitude towards my clients that your
contributors do theirs, I'd be out of business in short order.
   Of course, you'll probably pass this off as some sort of
"rant" from a guy with no sense of humor, but I'd love for you
to print this in your testimonials section and see how many
real pros agree with me. (I dare you). Judging from your 
adolescent mind set, I think the dare should do the trick.

Woops....... Earth to my last transmission. Here's a copy of
my first reply to a possibly misguided and/or misinturpreted message to

Okay my friend, I stand corrected. I that knew if I responded 
to what I'd just read on a gut level, that I'd open myself up
to --- like you.
  The bottom line is, I just didn't find techtales #9 very
funny. Again, please forgive me for expressing a little concern
for what sounded to me like a bunch of snickering shut-ins.
  Hey, maybe issue #10 will hit the spot.  Peace and Love.

I'm helping support a fairly large client/server installation. One "trouble 
ticket" abbreviation we find useful is "PEBKAC" -> Problem Exists Between 
Keyboard And Chair.

Your last issue makes me just want MORE!!!  I work in the service
department of a college computer store, and my co-workers and our clientele
seem to love the hilarious antics described in your publication.  What
makes the situation even more hilarious is that we have given away copies
as _tutorials_ on what NOT to call us for.

I would love to get on your mailing list, although I may have to start
buying DEPENDS.... :)



SCSI is *NOT* magic.  There are *fundamental technical reasons* why it
is necessary to sacrifice a young goat to your SCSI chain now and then.

 ___    _    ____    _    ___
/   \__/ \__/    \__/ \__/   \      "Hey Rocky!
|          _|@ @ __          |      Watch me pull some intelligence
 \________/ |    | \________/       out of the InterNet!"
         __/    _/                  "But that trick never works."
        /o) (o_/                    "This time for sure."


The Software Engineering Approach

A Software Engineer, a Hardware Engineer and a Departmental Manager
were on their way to a meeting in Switzerland. They were driving down a
steep mountain road when suddenly the brakes on their car failed. The
car careened almost out of control down the road, bouncing off the
crash barriers, until it miraculously ground to a halt scraping along
the mountainside. The car's occupants, shaken but unhurt, now had a
problem: they were stuck halfway down a mountain in a car with no
brakes. What were they to do?

"I know", said the Departmental Manager, "Let's have a meeting, propose
a Vision, formulate a Mission Statement, define some Goals, and by a
process of Continuous Improvement find a solution to the Critical
Problems, and we can be on our way."

"No, no", said the Hardware Engineer, "That will take far too long, and
besides, that method has never worked before. I've got my Swiss Army
knife with me, and in no time at all I can strip down the car's braking
system, isolate the fault, fix it, and we can be on our way."

"Well", said the Software Engineer, "Before we do anything, I  think we
should push the car back up the road and see if it happens again."

Some Important Theological Questions are Answered if we think of God
as  a Computer Programmer.

Q: Does God control everything that happens in my life?
A: He could, if he used the debugger, but it's tedious to step through all
those variables.

Q: Why does God allow evil to happen?
A: God thought he eliminated evil in one of the earlier revs.

Q: Does God know everything?
A: He likes to think so, but he is often amazed to find out what goes on
in the overnite job.

Q: What causes God to intervene in earthly affairs?
A: If an critical error occurs, the system pages him automatically and  he
logs on from home to try to bring it up.  Otherwise things can wait until

Q: Did God really create the world in seven days?
A: He did it in six days and nights while living on cola and candy bars. 
On the seventh day he went home and found out his girlfriend had left

Q: How come the Age of Miracles Ended?
A: That was the development phase of the project, now we are in the 
maintenance phase.

Q: Will there be another Universe after the Big Bang?
A: A lot of people are drawing things on the white board, but personally,
God doubts that it will ever be implemented.

Q: Who is Satan?
A: Satan is an MIS director who takes credit for more powers than he 
actually possesses, so people who aren't programmers are scared of
 God thinks of him as irritating but irrelevant.

Q: What is the role of sinners?
A: Sinners are the people who find new an imaginative ways to mess up
 the system when God has made it idiot-proof.

Q: Where will I go after I die?
A: Onto a DAT tape.

Q: Will I be reincarnated?
A: Not unless there is a special need to recreate you.  And searching 
those tar files is a major hassle, so if there is a request for you, God will
just say that the tape has been lost.

Q: Am I unique and special in the universe?
A: There are over 10,000 major university and corporate sites running 
exact duplicates of you in the present release version.

Q: What is the purpose of the universe?
A: God created it because he values elegance and simplicity, but then 
the users and managers demanded he tack all this senseless stuff onto 
it and now everything is more complicated and expensive than ever.

Q: If I pray to God, will he listen?
A: You can waste his time telling him what to do, or you can just get  off
his back and let him program.

Q: What is the one true religion?
A: All systems have their advantages and disadvantages, so just pick 
the one that best suits your needs and don't let anyone put you down.

Q: Is God angry that we crucified him?
A: Let's just say he's not going to any more meetings if he can help  it,
because that last one with the twelve managers and the food turned  out
to be murder.

Q: How can I protect myself from evil?
A: Change your password every month and don't make it a name, a
common word, or a date like your birthday.

Q: Some people claim they hear the voice of God. Is this true?
A: They are much more likely to receive email.

Q: Some people say God is Love.
A: That is not a question.  Please restate your query in the form of a 

To my darling Husband,

I am sending you this letter in a bogus software company envelope so that
you will be sure to read it.  Please forgive the deception, but I thought you
should know what has been going on at home since your IBM computer entered
our lives two years ago.

The children are doing well.  Tommy is seven now and is a bright, handsome
boy.  He has developed quite an interest in the arts. He drew a family
portrait for a school project.  All the figures were good but yours was
excellent!  The chair and the back of your head are very realistic.  You
would be very proud of him.

Little Jennifer turned three in September.  She looks a lot like you did at
that age.  She is an attractive child and quite smart.  She still remembers
that you spent the whole afternoon with her on her birthday. What a grand day
for Jen, despite the fact that it was stormy and the electricity was out.

I am also doing well.  I went blond about a year ago and was delighted to
discover that it really is more fun!  Lars, I mean Mr. Swenson, the
department head, has taken an interest in my career and has become a good
friend to us all.

I have discovered that the household chores are much easier since I realized
that you don't mind being vacuumed but that feather dusting made you sneeze.
  The house is in good shape.  I had the living room painted last Spring.
 I'm not sure if you noticed it.  I made sure the painters cut air holes in
the drop cloth so you wouldn't be disturbed.

Well, my dear, I must be going.  Uncle Lars, Mr. Swenson, I mean, is taking
us all on a ski trip and there will be packing to do.  I have hired a
housekeeper to take care of things while we are away.  She'll keep things in
order, fill your coffee cup, and bring meals to your desk, - just the way you
like it.  I hope you and the IBM have a lovely time while we are gone.
 Tommy, Jen and I will think of you often.  Try to remember us while your
disks are booting.

Love,  Melinda
(Your Wife)


When I started doing tech support, we didn't have to get customer's names
and type them into a database, but about six months before I left,
management instituted a database and started cracking down on offenders who
refused to routinely type the first and last names into the database. I was
reading my email one morning, and the word came down from on high that the
Macintosh support people weren't typing in the last names nearly as much as
the Windows people were, and that there was no excuse, and we had to start
typing them in at once. So, my next phone call goes something like this:

Me: Hi, this is Me at Megalith Tech Support. Can I have your name  please?

Roman: Roman.

Me: Thanks. So is Roman your first name or your last name.

Roman: My first name.

Me: So what's your last name?

Roman: Roman

Me: I'm really sorry but I need your first and last name.

Roman: It's Roman.

Me: I'm really sorry, but my boss is going to get very upset if I don't get
both your names.

Roman: My name is just Roman. You know how Madonna has only one name? Well,
I'm just Roman.

Of course, all the names were routinely flushed out of the database after a
month, because we didn't have the disk space.

My next story concerns a call I took on my last day of the job.

Me: Hi, this is Me at Megalith. Can I have your name and phone number please?

Customer: (Resentfully) Now where would I find that?!

The graphic artist at the company I recently joined had been using a
Macintosh for about three years. Aware that I knew a lot about computers, he
came to me with his questions. He couldn't understand why, after he scanned a
graphic and placed it in the folder holding his Adobe Illustrator
application, the graphic didn't automatically become an illustrator file.

"Thank you for calling Amerikuh Online. How can I help you today?"

"I'd like to upgrade my tickets to first class from coach"

"I think you are looking for American Airlines!"

But after a 20 minute hold in a telephone system that repeatedly asks about
computers and modems and'd think he would have gotten the
(name slightly changed to protect the innocent.)

When I was setting up a service call with Apple computer, the girl was 
getting my info.  She asked if I had another way of being reached other than 
by the phone number I gave her.  I said that I could be reached by e-mail.  
She asked for my address.  I gave it to her.  Then, she wanted the phone #
for my e-mail address.  Instills confidence, doesn't it?

User : I'm having problem with my modem account. 
Tech support : okay, tell me exactly the part you are having problem with.
User : Well, I think you need to give me an account.
Tech support :  Well,  what kind of account do you need ? A e-mail account,
   unix account, or novell account?
User :  I need a carrier account.
Tech support: What do you mean a carrier account?
User : When I try to dial in, it tells me "no carrier." Can you give me
a carrier account ?

A gentleman called who was having difficulty installing the screen saver that
came with his new Power Mac.  After hours of searching to no avail he finally
called us.  He said he was following the directions in the manual and try as
he might, he just couldn't find the Program Manager on his Mac.

Me: Sir, open up your System Folder and find the Launcher Items folder.
Him: I don't have a Systems Folder.
Me: (Pausing momentarily because my patience was wearing thin with customers
like this) It's in your hard disk sir. You must have one, or else your
computer wouldn't start properly.
Him: Hard disk, hard disk...hmmm - is that little rectangle in the top right?
Me: Yes.
Him: Okay, but mine doesn't say "Hard Disk;" It's just labeled with a period.
How did that happen?
Me: Well, you can name it anything you want, perhaps yours was named
Him: Oh. What now?
Me: Open your System (speaking clearly so he would not hear an S) Folder.
Him: I don't have a systems folder. Oh, oh, here it is! Okay, okay, I'm
opening the Systems Envelope now.

And after an excruciating 30 minutes of how to make an alias and reminding
him that he truly did have a System Folder and where it was, we got his new
software on the Launcher. He always refers to his folders as envelopes

Ten minutes later he called me back and told me how he had written down my
directions to the "Systems Envelope" so he could put more programs on his
Launcher. One of the programs didn't work, however, and after another 45
minutes of sheer hell, I told him we needed to send him out some new
floppies. "Hey, can you send me a dozen apples too? My wife would like to
make a pie," he laughed. If I had a button on my phone to administer
electro-shock to this man, I would have. He repeated himself. "Apples. Get
it? Macintoshes? Ha ha. Don't you get it?"

"Yes sir, I do."

>From my former job as a sales engineer at a major computer retailer: 
There was the woman who bought a modem for her Mac IIsi.  She called and
wanted to know how to use it to do virtual reality.

Last week, I installed a computer for a co-worker.  It was the very first
computer she had ever used.
She called me early the next morning.  She said her monitor was fuzzy
looking and wanted to know if she needed to buy an antenna for it.

I told her no, it was cable ready. :-)

Lastly, I leave you with this:
(forwarded from a mailing list
to another mailing list to you)

There it is again.  Some clueless FOOL talking about the "Information
Superhighway."  They don't know JACK about the net.  It's NOTHING
like a Superhighway.  That's a BAD metaphor.

Yeah, but suppose the metaphor ran in the OTHER direction.  Suppose
the HIGHWAYS were like the NET.  All right!  Severe craziness.  A
highway HUNDREDS of lanes wide.  Most with potholes.  Privately
operated bridges and overpasses.  No highway patrol.  A couple of
rent-a-cops on bicycles with broken whistles.  500 member VIGILANTE
POSSES with nuclear weapons. 237 ON RAMPS at every intersection.  NO
SIGNS.  Wanna get to Ensenada?  Holler out the window at a passing
truck to ask directions. AD HOC traffic laws.  Some lanes would VOTE
to make use by a single-occupant-vehicle a CAPITAL OFFENSE on Monday
through Friday between 7:00 and 9:00.  Other lanes would just SHOOT
you without a trial for talking on a car phone.

AOL would be a giant diesel-smoking BUS with hundreds of EBOLA
victims and a TOILET spewing out on the road behind it.  Throwing
DEAD WOMBATS and rotten cabbage at the other cars most of which have
been ASSEMBLED AT HOME from kits.  Some are 2.5 horsepower LAWNMOWER
ENGINES with a top speed of nine miles an hour.  Others burn

No license tags.  World War II BOMBER NOSE ART instead.  Terrifying
paintings of huge teeth or VAMPIRE EAGLES.  Bumper mounted MACHINE
GUNS.  Flip somebody the finger on this highway and get a WHITE
PHOSPHORUS GRENADE up your tailpipe.  Flatbed trucks with
ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILE BATTERIES to shoot down the KRUD Traffic Watch
helicopter.  A little kid on a tricycle with a squirtgun filled with


Now THAT'S the way to run an Interstate Highway system.

Current and previous issues of TECH SUPPORT TALES are available via FTP
( or via e-mail request at TEK
ASCII and ye shall receivii! Portions of TECH SUPPORT TALES also appear in
the award winning MacSense, the Macintosh Ezine
( every month as well as other fine
is the new URL for the Tech Support Tales home page. Check it out.

To be included in an upcoming issue of TECH SUPPORT TALES (and other
related publications), send your letters, tech stories & computer jokes to:

Until next time...
Word 6.0 to your mama.

* generic disclaimer symbol.

Copyright (c) 1996 Eric Hausmann. Tech Support Tales is a registered
trademark. You are encouraged to redistribute this document freely by
uploading it to other BBSs and online services. Photocopying & faxing of TST
is also encouraged. If you are a book, magazine or electronic publisher and
are interested in reprinting any part of TECH SUPPORT TALES, write me & I'll
have my people contact your people for a PowerUserBookTieToolsLunch meeting.