0627: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet"

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airshowfan
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby airshowfan » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:17 pm UTC

I've been reading XKCD for years. Huge fan. Like many of you, I feel like some strips were plucked right out of my brain. I email them to people all the time. Etc.

But this one was so good, it prompted me to actually register for this forum so I could post my thumbs-up.

And on a related note, I used to sell cameras once upon a time. People would always ask me how to work their cameras, how to do this or how to do that. I would try to make it clear to them that I had never touched a camera of that particular model before, but by digging around the menus (or, failing that, RTFM) I could find the answer, i.e. they could too if they just explored a bit. Drove me up the wall:
http://camerastore.blogspot.com/2004/11 ... -most.html
http://camerastore.blogspot.com/2004/11 ... nd-of.html
Representative excerpt:
They walk into the store, wanting to get prints from their digital camera, and when I say they have to take the memory card out, they hand me the camera and say “How do you do that?” or “I don’t know how to do that”. Well, why don't you look around your camera for a little door that says "Memory" or "Card" or "SD" or "XD", or that has a little memory-card-looking symbol on it, or failing THAT just open every little door until you see a card? It's what I'm gonna have to do. I don't know where your camera's card slot is any more than you do. Why are you asking me to figure it out for you? You have hands, you have eyes, you might as well try it yourself!

and
...if it will take MUCH LESS time for me to show you something than it would take for you to figure it out, then I'd be happy to do it, but if it's gonna take as long for me to show you as it would take for you to figure it out (because I'm figuring it out myself as I go), then it might be more considerate of you to try it yourself...

osmigos
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby osmigos » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:25 pm UTC

Yes.

This comic couldn't be more true.

Picklesworth
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby Picklesworth » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:26 pm UTC

My own flow chart diverges slightly from this when I'm helping someone over the phone. I learned from the best:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZBTdOp9LwM

I actually honestly got to demonstrate it when I was helping some ass-hat figure out how to install printer drivers. Because he had no clue what he was doing, he accused me of giving him the wrong directions. (Which really pissed me off, because tech support is not my job anyway).
Meanwhile, I could hear another voice in the room giving him directions as well. This other voice, seemed to know what he was doing, but the guy on the phone kept silencing him. Ultimately a complete, disrespectful waste of my time. I arbitrarily told him to restart his computer, that it would take a while but he could phone back if he needed more help. I subtly slipped in that the other person there could help with "the rest" (which was actually the whole thing). It was a gamble, but he indeed never phoned back. Victory! :)
Last edited by Picklesworth on Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:59 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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neoliminal
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby neoliminal » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:30 pm UTC

umop ap!sdn wrote:The only saving grace with releasing this comic is the people we help out with computer "problems" will not get 99% of the comics here, so the chances of them figuring out our secret are slim to none.

neoliminal wrote:To the people who keep saying they are going to make this into the desktop background for their parents/aunts/grandparents/guncles.... here's what that looks like:

<snip>

I just threw up in my mouth a little bit... BTW, no Bonzi Buddy?


Damn, I knew I forgot something. That and MS BOB 8)
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turingmachinesarehot
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby turingmachinesarehot » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:40 pm UTC

horray! I'll printing these for all my family and friends! :D

i
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby i » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:41 pm UTC

The problem, of course, is that people would take one look at the chart and promptly ignore it for the rest of their lives.

Gero
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby Gero » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:42 pm UTC

This equals truth!

RocketMac
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby RocketMac » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:17 pm UTC

I would like to humbly suggest the following errata:

627 - Errata.jpg
627 - Errata.jpg (30.23 KiB) Viewed 4880 times

nethopp3r
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby nethopp3r » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:24 pm UTC

Randall, get out of my head!
I have followed this flowchart to the dot for years! Now that I use Ubuntu the only difference is I that more and more often when I'm trying to install something I find myself going right through to the Google step, before I even start doing anything :?
valbaca wrote:Poster prints? I would buy one now!
I think that would be better than a shirt. Your computer-illiterates would still need you around if you're wearing the shirt.

Seconded - poster request! Without the poster version I'm going to have to print it myself :P

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Monika
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby Monika » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:25 pm UTC

airshowfan wrote:http://camerastore.blogspot.com/2004/11/thing-i-hate-most.html
http://camerastore.blogspot.com/2004/11 ... nd-of.html

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zebazga
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby zebazga » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:02 pm UTC

I'm disappointed there wasn't any inclusion of help or other documentation before google. Not even an insulting reference.

Cal27
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby Cal27 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:02 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:To the people who keep saying they are going to make this into the desktop background for their parents/aunts/grandparents/guncles.... here's what that looks like:


-snip-

That's exactly like my Mom's background... Some of her icons are only half on the screen. I've tried to get her to organize it many times; it's like she doesn't know that there's a folder made just for her documents.

P1h3r1e3d13
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby P1h3r1e3d13 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:23 pm UTC

Somehow, I make the ability to follow this procedure sound much more flattering in job interviews than it seems from the flow chart.

Boulderheart
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby Boulderheart » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

crazdgamer wrote:... I'm guessing pressing F1 is out of the question?


I wonder how many people had to press F1 to understand what you just said. I know i did XD.

I think all XKCD comics with Flowcharts are hilarious. We need more :D

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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby kernelpanic » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:49 pm UTC

flying_potato wrote:And here I thought it was just me who did this! guess I am a computer expert after all!!

I got my rep back in high school, by reading the instruction 'no keyboard connected etc.' on my teachers 'broken' PC and managing to fix it, haha

I got mine when the teacher next door burst into the class, literally screaming, and asked for someone to help her in the computer. As soon as I walked into the class, I noticed there was no monitor. I went to the office, explained what happened, got a monitor, and set it up. Now people think that "My computer is doing this weird thing" is more than enough information for me to fix everything.
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neoliminal
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby neoliminal » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:00 pm UTC

Once I was on tech support and a particularly snarky professor called to complain that his high end Mac has frozen and nothing could fix it. I ask politely if he had checked to see if the keyboard cable was connected, because in 99.5% of all cases where the keyboard and mouse were both frozen it had been my experience that it was a loose connection. He was indignant and flatly said that he had already checked that.

I walked into his office where he was sitting, followed the keyboard wire, unplugged it, and plugged it back in. Moved the mouse (and thus the cursor), typed a few letters and walked out.

He wouldn't make eye contact with me for months.
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P4r4digm
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby P4r4digm » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:07 pm UTC

AMAZING comic! :D

I literally printed out 20 of these and handed them out to people at work.

And from now on whenever im helping anyone i usually say "not too sure, just following the flowchart"
Image

roflmuffins
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby roflmuffins » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:24 pm UTC

Hey so guys, I have a problem. I can't see today's comic. Every time I go to the main page, all I see is this boring flowchart telling me how to do tech support or something. Can someone tell me how to get to the real comic? Please hurry... I want to read xkcd

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kernelpanic
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby kernelpanic » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:26 pm UTC

roflmuffins wrote:Hey so guys, I have a problem. I can't see today's comic. Every time I go to the main page, all I see is this boring flowchart telling me how to do tech support or something. Can someone tell me how to get to the real comic? Please hurry... I want to read xkcd

Seriously? You know, because you're new and all...
And Hi!
I'm not disorganized. My room has a high entropy.
Bhelliom wrote:Don't forget that the cat probably knows EXACTLY what it is doing is is most likely just screwing with you. You know, for CAT SCIENCE!

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pjt33
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby pjt33 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:43 pm UTC

adamadam wrote:
pjt33 wrote:Related anecdote: I fixed network settings for people so often that I could navigate the Windows 9x/XP network settings dialogs without reading the buttons. It used to impress people immensely when I appeared able to read technical terms in Chinese, German, etc. despite claiming not to know the language.

Hate to burst your bubble but:
Windows Button+R
CMD
Enter
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
Works for all XP machines, assuming you have the privilidges.

Only for certain problems. Most of the time the problem was that they had somehow turned DHCP off in favour of a static address.

leegao
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby leegao » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:58 pm UTC

the flaw of "port forwarding" tutorials - failing to realize that about 90% of the people reading the said tutorial would never need to make the adjustment that a computer sitting on a static IP would need, and which are always ritualistically included in the beginning of the tutorial...

RaisedByMongrels
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby RaisedByMongrels » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:41 pm UTC

There are a few people I want to beat over the head with this comic. I get so frustrated when people ask me to figure something out for them when they are perfectly capable of figuring it out themselves.

I've noticed that it seems to be a generational thing, and not just with computers. Older people seem to prefer to be trained how to do something and then memorize the steps for later use. Younger people prefer to learn the basic concepts behind something and then figure out the details for themselves. A lot of workplace issues could be solved if people would just realize this.

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umop ap!sdn
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby umop ap!sdn » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:17 am UTC

roflmuffins wrote:Hey so guys, I have a problem. I can't see today's comic. Every time I go to the main page, all I see is this boring flowchart telling me how to do tech support or something. Can someone tell me how to get to the real comic? Please hurry... I want to read xkcd

So you didn't follow the flow chart then? :mrgreen:
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KShap
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby KShap » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:11 am UTC

This perfectly sums up my job all summer. It must be destroyed. If people get a hold of it, I might not get hired back next year.

Ratclaw
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby Ratclaw » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:21 am UTC

I just had to say this: The alt-text had me laughing out loud, and it's been the first thing to do so in quite a few days. It's just so charming!

Riti
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby Riti » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:48 am UTC

Registered just to talk on this comic with this story:

So it's the first day of the new semester at college. During free time, I go to my the most convenient of the three computer labs, the one by the IT Help Desk. One of the three who work there (And the only woman) comes in, sees me, gives me a big hug. I said I was glad to see her because I wanted to show her this.

Turns out, one of the other members of the IT Help Desk already printed it out, and the "Help desk people set stupid people on fire" one. So if he's here... um... hi?

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SirMustapha
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:29 am UTC

This comic is SO very true. Once my mother was installing a printer, and she couldn't get it to work herself. I started guiding her by telephone, asked her if there was a big button labelled "MAKE PRINTER WORK" on the desktop. She said there was, I asked her to click it, and presto! the cable magically plugged into the back of the PC, the drivers transferred themselves into the OS as if they were alive, and even the paper flew straight into the feeder. I'm SO sending this flowchart to her -- she'll know that I'm a person with extreme good will and I'm always glad to help, and there's no better way to demonstrate that than to shove a snobbish, possibly facetious strip that says "do your own goddamn job and leave me alone" in flowchart form. I'm amazed at how nice I am.

PS: okay, so I'm stretching past the focus of the comic. You can replace that for something a little less trivial, like, I dunno, configuring Outlook. I often have problems with that.
Last edited by SirMustapha on Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:38 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

coreyfro
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby coreyfro » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:33 am UTC

Why hasn't this been made in to a mouse pad yet? When it is, put me down for FIFTY!!!

kafkadog
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby kafkadog » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:00 am UTC

SirMustapha wrote:...a snobbish, possibly facetious strip that says "do your own goddamn job and leave me alone" in flowchart form.


I get your point, but I see this strip more as a "teaching a [wo]man how to fish and feeding [her]him for life" kind of a deal. People learn more when they get out of their comfort zones and explore a little on their own. This strip reassures novices that "we" don't really know what we're doing, either.

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xmillion
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby xmillion » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:14 am UTC

Good job. You found me out. Now I have no more "tech skills" to show off to my friends anymore. :(

Now that I think about it, this is probably the flowchart I used to get projectors working with laptops, and so many more things working...

Pyrobellum
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby Pyrobellum » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:44 am UTC

Registered just to say 2 things:

I shared this with the usual victims of my tech support (parents). They didn't get it. :/

It's really hard to read your registration doodad.

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headsign
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby headsign » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:50 am UTC

RaisedByMongrels wrote:There are a few people I want to beat over the head with this comic. I get so frustrated when people ask me to figure something out for them when they are perfectly capable of figuring it out themselves.

I've noticed that it seems to be a generational thing, and not just with computers. Older people seem to prefer to be trained how to do something and then memorize the steps for later use. Younger people prefer to learn the basic concepts behind something and then figure out the details for themselves. A lot of workplace issues could be solved if people would just realize this.


Sounds coherent. When I try to teach my ex-girlfriend anything on a computer, she takes a pen and a sheet of paper to write down the specific steps. If I try to tell her that it's about understanding the basics, not following a sequence of steps, she gives me that dull look. The concept of a modular system sets her in panic. She's obviously older people as opposed to me even though I'm four years older ;)

Here's what a conversation with her is about:
me: Why do you always ask me for support?
her: Because you know how it works
me: But I don't. I just use try and error
her: Yes, like I said- you know how it work
me: How try and error works?
her: errr...yeah :?

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TheGuyWithTheHat
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby TheGuyWithTheHat » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:08 am UTC

headsign wrote:
RaisedByMongrels wrote:There are a few people I want to beat over the head with this comic. I get so frustrated when people ask me to figure something out for them when they are perfectly capable of figuring it out themselves.

I've noticed that it seems to be a generational thing, and not just with computers. Older people seem to prefer to be trained how to do something and then memorize the steps for later use. Younger people prefer to learn the basic concepts behind something and then figure out the details for themselves. A lot of workplace issues could be solved if people would just realize this.


Sounds coherent. When I try to teach my ex-girlfriend anything on a computer, she takes a pen and a sheet of paper to write down the specific steps. If I try to tell her that it's about understanding the basics, not following a sequence of steps, she gives me that dull look. The concept of a modular system sets her in panic. She's obviously older people as opposed to me even though I'm four years older ;)

Here's what a conversation with her is about:
me: Why do you always ask me for support?
her: Because you know how it works
me: But I don't. I just use try and error
her: Yes, like I said- you know how it work
me: How try and error works?
her: errr...yeah :?


She must be very very stupid...
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headsign
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby headsign » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:42 am UTC

headsign wrote:
RaisedByMongrels wrote:Here's what a conversation with her is about:
me: Why do you always ask me for support?
her: Because you know how it works
me: But I don't. I just use try and error
her: Yes, like I said- you know how it work
me: How try and error works?
her: errr...yeah :?


She must be very very stupid...


She's not very bright, yeah. I made the mistake to give her my old Powerbook for her computer needs. That left her stuck with me being the only person she knew who could help her on a Mac. Helping a person who actually only expect you to come and solve her problem while she pretends to pay attention is an endless pain. When her dad decided to give her a Windows machine instead, I rejoyced on the oncoming perspective of being freed of the burden of having to be her helpdesk about 24/7. When she called me for support I just declared that I knew nothing about Windows. Playing dumb can be very useful in life!

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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby Gofyr » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:58 am UTC

graeme wrote:See also the descriptive vocabulary of parents approaching zero whenever a computer problem occurs.

"What's this?"
"What's what? I'm in the other room."
"This."
"What is it?"
"This thing on the screen. I can't possibly describe it to you, you'll have to drop what you're doing and come and have a look."

Then you go to their computer and find the screen has a message box saying "click OK to continue" or some such.


A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

I can be a few hundred miles away at University and get this phone call. No mention of what program is being used, or what the hell the issue is.

Other assorted problems include our TV set, which requires 3(!) remote controls to use, (TV remote for AV/Sky Remote/DVD remote for volume, somehow) I just take educated guesses to get the damned thing working.
A particular favourite of mine was just the other day. Called downstairs to "sort the TV", where Sky was clearly showing the message "No Satellite signal being received". In the middle of bad weather. Doesn't take a genius to work out that short of actually being Thor, controlling the weather was beyond me. I demonstrated this by pointing at the TV and commanding it to work, (telling the family that this was the best I could do).

...Damned thing burst back into life.

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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby Monika » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:59 am UTC

Gofyr wrote:...Damned thing burst back into life.

:lol:

# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #

leegao wrote:the flaw of "port forwarding" tutorials - failing to realize that about 90% of the people reading the said tutorial would never need to make the adjustment that a computer sitting on a static IP would need, and which are always ritualistically included in the beginning of the tutorial...

I don't think 90% of the people have routers with port forwarding to MAC addresses, so why do you think this is unnecessary?
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby Al-pocalypse » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:06 am UTC

Being the local 'IT expert' in my team at work I get this sort of thign almost daily. Have now printed off a copy of this for everyone here, looking forward to seeing their reactions!
Ali ;)

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umop ap!sdn
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby umop ap!sdn » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:47 pm UTC

Well I got the call this morning... I'm in the car on the way to work.
my mom "My computer isn't working."
me "What's it not doing?"
mom "Turning on."
me "Ok..."
mom "How do I fix it?"
me "Is it plugged in?"
mom "Duh, yea."
me "Is the power strip on?"
mom "Yea."
me "I don't know what's wrong, I'll have to look at it. Could be the power supply, however it could be the motherboard." <-- I always throw out a MAJOR problem out, that way when I fix it I look like a bigger genius! :lol:
mom "Ok come over after work. I'll cook dinner."

And another free dinner for what's gonna be 10 minutes of most likely replacing a p/s! :D
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SirMustapha
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:35 pm UTC

kafkadog wrote:I get your point, but I see this strip more as a "teaching a [wo]man how to fish and feeding [her]him for life" kind of a deal. People learn more when they get out of their comfort zones and explore a little on their own. This strip reassures novices that "we" don't really know what we're doing, either.


I think that's the only way in which this strip succeeds. It's a joke, and if I try to take it as anything more than a joke, it fails utterly. The problem is not complex: people do NOT get over their "fear" of computers with a mere flowchart. "Teaching how to fish" is hard, not because people can't do it, but because people are afrait that the fish will pull them into the water. It's a psychologic and cultural affair

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headsign
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Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Postby headsign » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:38 pm UTC

kafkadog wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:...a snobbish, possibly facetious strip that says "do your own goddamn job and leave me alone" in flowchart form.


I get your point, but I see this strip more as a "teaching a [wo]man how to fish and feeding [her]him for life" kind of a deal. People learn more when they get out of their comfort zones and explore a little on their own. This strip reassures novices that "we" don't really know what we're doing, either.


Unfortunately, that's not the breaking point. The whole difference is wether people are daring or not. Many people, specially older ones, are scared that if they touch anything without knowing exactly what it is supposed to do, they might destroy something or harm themselves, so they'll rather ask someone who "knows how it works". That's probably you and me. What they can't figure out is that people like you and me are just more daring and adventurous than them. Most of these people have a high degree of education which I, for example, lack. But it's me who fixed complex things for them. It's a crazy world.


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