0806: "Tech Support"

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project2051
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby project2051 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

The worst I had was not really the call center, but field techs for my ISP. I had a bad cable modem, the connection would slowly die and the a modem restart would bring it back up. I called in and the phone tech said that it was a bad modem and the model I had was an older trouble prone model that they didn't use anymore, so he would send a tech out with a new one. So when he came he did stuff on my computer and rebooted the computer and said that nothing was wrong and the modem I had was a good model, and wouldn't change it. This actually happened twice with different techs, and when I called the third time and they wanted to send out a field tech, I said why bother they will not do anything. So the guy sent me a new modem, and I haven't had a problem in 2 years since.

The worst on my part was for a couple of nights my connection was dropping and I had to restart my modem to get it back, then the last time it never came back. So the next day I called in because I had no internet. Well the tech pinged my modem and said everything looked good. Then I had a realization, and I reached down and pushed the "Internet on/off" button and amazingly my internet connection was back. I must of hit it the last time I unplugged/plugged in the power cable, and when that is turned off it has the same light pattern as if the ISP is down. So I was "Oh wow, it just came back on. I don't know why it wasn't working and then it just was. Thanks. Bye." There was no way I was going to admit to my stupidity.

Of course there was the time at work when I spent almost 90 min. with what I am assuming was an call center in India, because we couldn't connect to the internet. And of course it's never their end, "the network in your area is fine, there must be something wrong with your computer". So after all the script didn't help they transferred me up, and after a 5 min. wait I got an at least American sounding voice on the line, who after I gave my location to him came right back with "the network is down in your area and will be for the next few hours."


Also, here is a nice site on this topic: http://rinkworks.com/stupid/

Blaze Krakaros
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Blaze Krakaros » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:33 pm UTC

My most recent experience was trying to update WoW using my dorm internet. It was not working, so I called IT support. They straight told me they were deliberately blocking it, "due to distributed denial of service attacks." I manually downloaded the 4.7 gig patch from Fileshack, but now the launcher is not working correctly because of their filters. I am extremely frustrated and have no idea how to make WoW run using the dorm internet. Texas Tech. Does anyone know of some kind of workaround?

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby kingworks » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:03 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:
Karilyn wrote:EDIT: FYI: The engineer is female, and this engineer is female. As if my avatar and username wasn't enough of a giveaway. Jesus Christ. Some engineers have vaginas. Can we get past this already? Why do people a damn whether a person is male or female?


That's not the problem: of course it doesn't matter, but Randall has this "feature" of always putting a female in a sort of "superior" situation. It has happened over and over again, and Randall fails to realise that women DO NOT NEED some sort of "Geeky stick-figure-drawing Superhero" to defend them from the perils of the world. By having this overly defensive attitude towards women, he pretty much puts them down. It's like he's too afraid of showing a smart male because that would make him look "sexist"; that kind of paranoia is just as sexist as the stuff he condemns.
Eggs-actly.

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby The Scyphozoa » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:16 pm UTC

joee wrote:HI GLASNT

Wait what woah
I see glasnt say HI JOEE all the time, and I never thought I'd have any idea what it meant.
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wsdenker
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby wsdenker » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:33 pm UTC

I was once having difficulties staying online with my cable Internet connection. I use a Linux system as a NAT (two NICs) and have done so for many years. I called tech support:

Me: I'm having trouble staying connected. The cable modem works fine, but every couple of days I just lose connection altogether and it stays down for a few hours and comes back and works fine for another couple of days.

Tech: What OS are you running, Windows or Mac?
Me: I'm using Linux, but that really shouldn't matter.
Tech: We don't support users who aren't using Windows or Macs.
Me: I'll tell you what, I am using a Windows PC and am just using the Linux machine to NAT packets for my internal network.

Here, the tech has me do a bunch of stuff from their script. I play along and do everything I'm asked, translating what they ask me to do from Windows to Linux.

Tech: Wait, you're saying the connection working now?
Me: Yes, I am using it right now.
Tech: Sir, (a long pause here) I... cannot see your computer online. Are you sure it's working?
Me: Absolutely sure. You probably can't see my computer because I'm running a firewall.
Tech: Lots of our customers use firewalls but my program can still see them.
Me: That's because I disabled ICMP packets in my ipchains settings. My computer will not respond to pings. (This was back before very many firewalls did this kind of thing for you)

At this point a light bulb must have gone off in this tech's head that I possessed way more networking knowledge than they did. I was transferred to T2 tech support:

Me: (I explain the problem again)
Tech(2): I see. What OS are you running?
Me: (Thinking "ugh, here we go again") I'm using a Linux system to NAT packets between your network and my home network, but that shouldn't be the problem.
Tech(2): No, that should work just fine. You say that you can stay connected for about two days?
Me: Yes, then I lose connection for a couple of hours and it comes back and works for another couple of days.
Tech(2): Are you using DHCP?
Me: No, I've had a connection with this ISP for a long time and even when I connected with Windows directly they had it configured with a static IP address.
Tech(2): We recently set up DHCP to force leases to expire every two days. What's happening is that other customers are getting your static IP and your connection goes down when both of your computers attempt to use it at the same time.
Me: That perfectly explains it. I didn't know you guys switched from statically assigning IPs to a strict DHCP leasing system. Thanks!

That second call was maybe only a minute long and I got exactly the information I needed immediately. Back then it was not at all uncommon for cable Internet services to provide static IPs, though I don't think any of them do anymore. Obviously, their script could not have been updated with that very recent change to their network (as well as a change in policy/service).

It still cracks me up that the T1 tech couldn't "see" my computer. I have no doubt that they had a button they could click that would send a ping and return to them a status whether I was online or not, but they had no idea how that actually worked. There were a few long pauses in there while they tried to process the fact that a computer can be in the process of using an Internet connection, yet be completely unreachable from their end. That part of the conversation took a bit of time as I had to work through the tech's palpable disbelief.

Ever since then, I've been devising clever ways to get T2 support when I call ISPs. I don't want to insult anyone's intelligence, and I completely understand why T1 support folks exist (I've fielded plenty of those calls as a software developer and was the guy that the net techs went to when they were stumped about something), but I also want to communicate to them that there is nothing on their script that is going to help me and that I'd love nothing better than to spare their time and mine.

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Sunidesus » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:42 pm UTC

adaviel wrote:Another magic phrase I wish I knew is the one to bypass voice recognition on my cellphone provider's line. Holding down a phone key for 30 seconds sometimes works, but not just "0" or "*". It's always "I'm having trouble understanding you. Let's start again. If you want to check the balance of your account, say 'account'." Even if the fool thing could understand my Brit accent, if I wanted to converse with a computer, I would have logged onto my account online.


I hate those things with a passion. If there are multiple options I would so much rather hit a number key than say the number, and then if it isn't something simple it asks for an explanation of the problem. And never understands the problem. Last time I just said (well, kinda loudly, I was peeved) "I WANT A PERSON" and it immediately sent me to the "wait for a real person" line.

As for tech support... As a user who generally knows what she's doing... yeah, it'd be nice to be able to bypass the script sometimes. But I do understand why it exists, and I've found that being pleasant, having a sense of humor, and asking specific questions/giving very specific info can frequently get the person to skip to the end and help figure out what's actually wrong.

However, I also have a few incredibly computer illiterate co-workers and I would HATE to have to try to help them through anything. One of them thinks I'm some kind of computer genius because I knew that the up arrow on the IM software we use goes to the previous message. He understood that the down arrow goes to the next one, but apparently the up arrow was just a wee bit too complicated for him. He refuses to learn how to use ctrl-c/ctrl-v to copy-paste and instead just retypes whatever it is. (the particular program we have to copy/paste out of won't allow the right-click/copy option for some reason, he understands how to copy that way, but refuses to learn the keyboard way) And of course he can't touch type so it takes forever. It is maddening to watch him do anything with a computer. I feel so very very sorry for any tech support person he ends up calling for help with his home computer.

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby HonoreDB » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:19 pm UTC

kingworks wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:
Randall has this "feature" of always putting a female in a sort of "superior" situation. It has happened over and over again
Eggs-actly.


Wasn't feeding the troll, but I guess I didn't realize people actually took this particular critique seriously. The thing is it is factually wrong. There's just a confirmation bias thing going on (and I think the way SirMustapha switches from "always" in one sentence to "over and over" in the next one is a standard indicator).

If you go through the archives and note both the strips where a woman is in the "inferior" position to a man and where she's in the "superior," I think you'll be surprised. To me it looks like a coinflip.

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LazyMonk
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby LazyMonk » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:26 pm UTC

hmm, I never knew this stuff about 'shibboleth' and I speak hebrew... I guess I'm not a geek (but I knew that already).

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby bmonk » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:36 pm UTC

tuckels wrote:
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:"Bearded dude with swords."

XKCD: Dangerously meta.

Also, wasn't Shibbolet (instead of "Shibboleth") the one that would get you executed? Or was that "Sibbolet(h)"?


It's my understanding that they didn't have a Sh (/ʃ/ ) sound, so yeah, they said Sibboleth.


It's from Judges 12: 5-6: The Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan toward Ephraim. When any of the fleeing Ephraimites said, "Let me pass," the men of Gilead would say to him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he answered, "No!" they would ask him to say "Shibboleth." If he said "Sibboleth," not being able to give the proper pronunciation, they would seize him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell at that time. (NAB)

It's the origin of the word.

shrimpwd wrote:I didn't call, but this was a chat with tech support recently. GOOMHR!

Chat Transcript - 10/06/2010 09:03 AM
Hi, my name is Maya K N. How may I help you?
My Name: Good morning. I own a W3506 and am having trouble finding standby and hibernate availability.
Maya K N: My Name, we are here to assist you.
Maya K N: Could you please provide me the valid serial number of your computer?

Maya K N: The serial number should be alpha numeric format of 13 or 22 characters starting with a letter or 10 digits (numeric). The serial number would be printed along with a bar code on a sticker. The sticker is pasted on rear side or the top of the tower or under the notebook. It says S/N.

Maya K N: Are you with me?
My Name: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
My Name: had to find it.
. . .
Maya K N: Please try the following steps to put the computer on Hibernation.
Maya K N: 1. Click Control Panel

2. Click Power Options

3. Select the Hibernate tab

4. Uncheck Enable Hibernation box to disable
(or check to enable)

5. Click OK

My Name: no hibernate tab
Maya K N: Could you please stay online for 2 minutes while I search this information for you ?
My Name: sure
Maya K N: Thank you.
(after 5-10 minutes)
My Name: Did you find anything?
Maya K N: Thank you for being online.
Maya K N: I need few more minutes to search your issue. Could you please stay online for 2 more minutes while I search this information for you?
My Name: I will be here
Maya K N: Thank you.
Maya K N: Thank you for being online. I appreciate your patience.
Maya K N: May I know the operating system installed in your system?
Maya K N: Is it windows xp or vista?
My Name: xp pro
Maya K N: Thank you for your information.
Maya K N: My Name, in this case I would recommend you reinstall the video drivers to fix this issue. I will provide you a web link through which you can download the driver for your computer.
. . .
Maya K N: It was a pleasure working with you. My name and badge number are (random #). Thank you for using E-machine Live Chat and have a great day.
My Name: thank you
Maya K N: You are welcome.
Maya K N: Bye take care.
'My Name' disconnected ('Concluded by Agent').


1: I had already tried downloading that driver, it wasn't the full thing.
2: I still don't understand how a video driver affects hibernate settings.
3: The problem is still unanswered and I can't standby or hibernate.
4: She was annoyingly pleasant.
5: Anyone out there know a solution that would actually work?


You could put your computer on permanent hibernation by defenestrating it? However, it's a rather radical, and definitely permanent, solution.
Having become a Wizard on n.p. 2183, the Yellow Piggy retroactively appointed his honorable self a Temporal Wizardly Piggy on n.p.1488, not to be effective until n.p. 2183, thereby avoiding a partial temporal paradox. Since he couldn't afford two philosophical PhDs to rule on the title.

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jc
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby jc » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:13 pm UTC

BlueNight wrote:
danielnairn wrote:
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Also, wasn't Shibbolet (instead of "Shibboleth") the one that would get you executed? Or was that "Sibbolet(h)"?

whenever a survivor of Ephraim said, "Let me cross over," the men of Gilead asked him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he replied, "No," they said, "All right, say 'Shibboleth.' " He said, "Sibboleth," because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed at that time.'

In case you haven't gotten it by now, it's Shibbo1337.
In case you didn't get that, google 1337.
In case you still didn't get it, never say it.

Yeah, yeah; I grokked all that while reading the cartoon. However, 4 pages into the discussion, I'm still looking for an explanation of "Shibbo1337", which was of course how I respelled it in my mind when I read it. There's one message with a link to a blog post that uses "Shibbo1337", but that seems to be all. Google isn't much help; it just seems to give matches for discussions of this comic plus a few thousand hits for spam/seo sites.

So did Randall just invent the word, or does it actually mean something to some 1337 sub-sub-subculture?

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby BlitzGirl » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:14 pm UTC

1055 wrote:
myrcutio wrote:This is also the reason I'm currently a liberal arts major, since writers never get angry calls about the new software missing "Clippy," the cartoon help assistant.


There are people who actually want that stupid paper clip??


Of course! Clippy can help you with fighting off evil stick figures trying to destroy your computer:
http://www.atom.com/funny-stuff/animator-vs-animation/
(Animator vs. Animation 3, about 1/4 of the way in.)

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby HonoreDB » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:24 pm UTC

jc wrote:
So did Randall just invent the word, or does it actually mean something to some 1337 sub-sub-subculture?


I'm sure it's just a portmanteau.

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:35 pm UTC

We don't use tech support at my house. Either you fix it yourself, you replace it, or it is broken forever.
I'm basically the PC master among my classmates, probably directly because of this. Though compared to the school on the whole, I'm just mediocre

This comic seems similar to that one with the guy on the phone arguing about the GPS, which everyone was so upset about. Reading that thread you would think GPS devices were some kind of Satan-spawn, scourge-of-the-Earth, evil, vile machines.
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Karilyn
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Karilyn » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:52 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:I might not have made myself clear before. Of course the engineers and more advanced workers shouldn't be handling the banal cases, that's not what I'm arguing against.

Ah yes, I misunderstood you before. I thought you were calling the engineers elitist for not working on the banal cases (To some extent, I suppose it is, but it's a justified elitism). Whelp... That made my whole rant pointless.

SirMustapha wrote:That's not the problem: of course it doesn't matter, but Randall has this "feature" of always putting a female in a sort of "superior" situation. It has happened over and over again, and Randall fails to realise that women DO NOT NEED some sort of "Geeky stick-figure-drawing Superhero" to defend them from the perils of the world. By having this overly defensive attitude towards women, he pretty much puts them down. It's like he's too afraid of showing a smart male because that would make him look "sexist"; that kind of paranoia is just as sexist as the stuff he condemns.

Eh. I'm not exactly a feminist, but frankly it doesn't bother me either way. If anything, I'd say you are white knighting moreso than Randall (if he is at all) by trying to protect women against the white knighting you perceive Randall as doing.

It will be nice when we reach the day where people really stop giving a damn about male vs female and realize that the only difference between the two was a flip of the coin during insemination. But for now, if Randall is what you perceive him as doing, it's really a minor evil, and not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. It's certainly better than the alternative of him always casting women in the role of the "dumb person." And he certainly casts plenty of smart males; he just only casts the idiots as males, never females. Whoops, sexism towards males. Oh well, that seems to be the popular thing to do nowadays.

Besides, never gave a damn about white knighting anyway, as long as the guy isn't a hypocritical white knight who is only defending me because he thinks I can't defend myself (or is only doing it cause he thinks it'll get him inside my pants). Randall doesn't seem to cross either of those lines from what I've seen. He's just scared to cast a female negatively. Rather justifiably, considering the absolute explosion that would happen if the did.

EDIT: Am I white knighting for Randall due to a perceived inability for him to defend himself? *laughs* I'm such a hypocritical douchebag.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby snowyowl » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:17 am UTC

The Scyphozoa wrote:
joee wrote:HI GLASNT

Wait what woah
I see glasnt say HI JOEE all the time, and I never thought I'd have any idea what it meant.


Yep. We tolerate them because we love them so.
The preceding comment is an automated response.

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soren121
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby soren121 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:25 am UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:We don't use tech support at my house. Either you fix it yourself, you replace it, or it is broken forever.
I'm basically the PC master among my classmates, probably directly because of this. Though compared to the school on the whole, I'm just mediocre


Based on what I've seen of the Computer Science teachers at my high school, and the kids in them, I'd say I'm the PC master of my school. The second week of my CS class (the first week we did nothing) was a giant lecture on how to login and save a file.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby davor » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:03 am UTC

FormicaArchonis wrote:1) Most people who work in call centres are idiots [...]
2) Most people who call call centres are idiots [...]


Sounds like Sturgeon's Revelation: "90% of everything is crud." When a caller in the remaining 10% connects with a TSR likewise, it's pure joy for both of them. I worked in tech support once. This was before the script era; we had to deal with the idiots unaided. There were a lot of them. But there was one guy whose voice I loved to hear on the other end of the phone, because I knew he was going to be asking an informed, smart question or dealing with a real problem, and would understand what I told him -- and he'd be polite. In short, I knew that with him I'd be having an intelligent conversation, an all-too-rare treat.

Hey, Hebrew speakers, what does "shibboleth" actually mean? (Not the secondary sense derived from that Judges passage, but the word's primary meaning that the Gileadites would have had in mind when they issued the challenge?) I've seen it translated as both "torrent" and "freshet", from which I surmise that what it really means is one of those nasty, dangerous flash floods that can come tear-assing down a wadi with no warning when there's been rain upstream. Am I on the right track?

Um, totally off-topic, but following on from the above: Any other Zenna Henderson fans here? Such a flash flood (somewhere in the American Southwest) figures in her story "Gilead". I'd never made the connection before. Sweet, even though I suspect it's coincidence; the title seems more likely to be an allusion to the balm that came from Gilead than to the place itself. "Gilead" is one of her stories about the People, a race of aliens -- far ahead of us socially, as well as technically -- who crash-land on Earth in the 19th Century, and have to hide their "Gifts" (i.e. super-powers) in order not to be persecuted by the intolerant humans. Very moving stuff if you are, or ever were, an alienated nerdy kid. (There was a TV movie based on those stories, called The People. It had William Shatner in it. It was pretty B, as I recall -- but that's not the stories' fault!)

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Stanistani » Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:09 am UTC

I rotate through the help desk at work. When I'm the person on the phone, I listen to the caller, do a quick assessment of their expertise, do only the amount of troubleshooting needed, and if the solution is a long but standard one (such as making a series of shortcuts) I ask the caller if I may email them instructions formatted to print out and use. If they don't like that idea, I walk them through it. If I can't handle their problem, I escalate them to a tech. If they don't know much about computers, I try to increase their knowledge a bit with a little instruction. We don't burn out because we rotate this task.

No elitism, no scripts, and you get to help people.
Also, if there is a common problem, it becomes common knowledge very quickly.
Everyone is the help desk.

Works for me.

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby hailthefish » Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:15 am UTC

This is pretty much my life as far as Crapcast tech support. The tier 1 residential tech support people could be replaced with a tape recorder or a coma patient and nobody would know the difference. I get intermittent problems with ridiculous packet loss, and my modem likes to devour itself from time to time. The best part is, that restarting the router and restarting the modem DOES fix it. For about 5 minutes. So I call Comcast and go through the script and nothing gets accomplished. Eventually they decide it MUST be my router and that the solution is to lease one from them.

Yeah, I'm using a piece of shit 60 dollar Linksys but when a ping 192.168.2.1 works fine but 192.168.100.1 doesn't, I know it's probably the modem.

No amount of unplugging and replugging and restarting and replacing pieces of cat5 with other pieces will fix any of that. I promise.

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby dookiecheese » Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:59 am UTC

I don't have anything clever or meaningful to say. I just really wanted to say I liked this one quite a bit.

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Teranar » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:41 am UTC

This comic hit painfully close to home. My last job, from which I still have not found a new one, I was a tech support lead at a field technical support center. Unlike most support centers we were stressed with the task of first call resolution, someone calls, we fix their problem, and if it took 30 minutes, it took 30 minutes, if you needed assistance you asked a lead, who were all sitting in cubicles with metal mesh walls in the center of the room. Well if an office called in and said their internet was out, we would contact the ISP after restarting the office's modem and router.

So I would call ISPs, who would ask me to restart the computer. In an office with 14 workstations, a server computer, and another computer that should not be restarted. I would explain to them over and over I am not about to ask an office to restart essential computers, or any computers, and that restarting the modem and router should be sufficient, especially when I could not log into or ping the router, since the router was on a companywide VPN its IP as far as my computer cared was static. Usually I would get gems like 'What's a VPN, sir?" or telling me to unplug the router, or asking me what a switch was, or asking me to unplug a computer from the network, and plug it in directly to the modem, and restart the computer.
Officially I could not ask anyone in the offices to do that because they were not required to lift anything that heavy as part of their jobs, and the only computer close enough to plug up like that was the server, and no way I'm doing that.
Whenever I'd ask for a supervisor or lead or senior tech I was always told 'No I cannot do that sir' until I'd finally explained the network infrastructure, which as always they couldn't grasp, and handed it over to someone competent who'd then go over it with me again and actually fix the damn problem.

Sometimes when we'd call ISPs we'd put it on speakerphone and start counting the number of scripts we'd heard before, but always, *ALWAYS*, we'd dread calling ISPs. Once I got promoted to lead I had to do it far less often, but every now and then it was off to ISP tier 1 hell.

I miss that job, mostly because my co workers were actually competent for the most part, and our emphasis was on fixing the problem first, and making the calls dropped low second. Which of course is why that call center was dissolved, and I've been jobless since June, but hey, hopefully the next one will be decent.

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby noxiousnirvana » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:51 am UTC

haha funniest in a while

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby from canada » Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:02 am UTC

worst comic is quite some time

I can only imagine how furiously randall was masturbating as he made this garbage

djlowballer
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby djlowballer » Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:51 am UTC

Karilyn wrote:Eh. I'm not exactly a feminist, but frankly it doesn't bother me either way. If anything, I'd say you are white knighting moreso than Randall (if he is at all) by trying to protect women against the white knighting you perceive Randall as doing.


It's not really him white knighting against Randall rather a statement which many people are thinking but don't really bother bringing up. The way he always seems to make the women in his work cool, geeky, intelligent, or otherwise "superior" is becoming formulaic.

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LazyMonk
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby LazyMonk » Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:30 am UTC

davor wrote:Hey, Hebrew speakers, what does "shibboleth" actually mean? (Not the secondary sense derived from that Judges passage, but the word's primary meaning that the Gileadites would have had in mind when they issued the challenge?) I've seen it translated as both "torrent" and "freshet", from which I surmise that what it really means is one of those nasty, dangerous flash floods that can come tear-assing down a wadi with no warning when there's been rain upstream. Am I on the right track?

'Shibbolet' is an ear of wheat or other grain. this is the only use of the word (Nowadays for certain, maybe is has another biblical meaning that I not aware of).

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby phlip » Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:04 am UTC

Re the discussion about whether Randall uses too many female techies and science-types in the strip:

I've gone through a whole heap of recent comics, and counted all the characters who are portrayed as well-versed in tech stuff or science, and all the characters portrayed as very ignorant of the same. I've included strips where the clashes between the two aren't part of the joke, just as long as we have a techie or scientific character in the strip... eg I included the guy in 797 just 'cause he's running Linux. Ignorant-of-science-or-tech characters rarely show up when they're not the butt of the joke, but well-versed characters do, so this will skew the count between the two, but that's not the count we're interested in, we're after the male-female count in each category.

Raw data spoilered for length:
Spoiler:
Yes, I know "clever" and "not-clever" aren't the best adjectives for this, but I needed something short to use for recording notes while flicking through the comics. Just take them as stand-ins for the more accurate, but more verbose, descriptors.

806: 1 male clever, 1 female clever, 1 male not-clever
803: 1 female of questionable cleverness, depending on the branch (not included in totals)
801: 1 male clever
799: 1 male not-clever, 1 female not-clever, 1 Stephen Hawking
797: 1 male clever
795: 2 not-clever people, but their gender isn't clear (not included in totals)
793: 1 male clever, 1 male not-clever
790: 1 male clever, 1 female clever (the researchers)
783: 1 male clever
775: 1 male and 1 female, but their roles as clever/not-clever are reversed in the punchline, so which way they should be classed isn't clear (not included in totals)
768: 1 male clever, 1 female clever
765: 1 male not-clever, 1 female not-clever
763: 1 male clever, 1 male not-clever
755: 2 male clever, 1 female clever (the profs... the students' science levels aren't clear)
750: 3 male not-clever
748: 1 female clever, 1 female not-clever, 1 male not-clever, 1 Michael Bay
743: 1 male clever, 1 male not-clever
742: 1 female clever (the character in the story... the genders of the people in the strip aren't clear - it could be hair, it could be shadows)
734: 1 male clever, 1 female clever
728: 1 male clever, 1 female clever
727: 1 male clever, 1 male not-clever
722: 1 male clever, 1 female not-clever (according to the alt-text, a stand-in for a cat, but still)
720: 1 male clever (the CS guy)
716: 1 male clever (the inventor)
714: 1 female clever
713: 1 male clever, 1 female clever

So in the last 100 comics, we have:
Of the 26 well-versed-in-science-or-tech characters, 17 were male, 9 were female (65% male). Plus Stephen Hawking.
Of the 15 ignorant-of-science-or-tech characters, 11 were male, 4 were female (73% male). Plus Michael Bay.
Neither named celebrity is included in the counts, as their genders weren't Randall's choice.

So, statements that are false:
All female characters in xkcd are good at science and tech
All characters in xkcd that are good at science and tech are female

It's true that more techies are female than non-techies, but I'm not sure that it's even statistically significant, let alone the huge blatant bias that people claim it is.

It seems more likely that it's just confirmation bias... a male techie is ordinary and forgettable, but a female techie is unusual and memorable. So, in your biased memory, there are heaps more female techies than male ones in the strips.

So here's some patterns that are actually true, that you can use instead for your accusations of sexism:
  • There are significantly more males than females in the strips, across the board. I'd guess that this is less so than other parts of the media, but still, it's significant.
  • It's quite common that if there are two techie characters in a strip, they'll be one male and one female. Much more than any other combination. It's likely this is intentional.
  • It's very rare to have a setup with a male techie and a female non-techie... there was only one in the 100 strips I surveyed, and even then, according the alt-text, the female was a stand-in for a cat. Again, it's likely this is intentional, to avoid the stereotype. If you consider "avoiding the stereotype" to be "white knighting" then this would qualify under your definition... I'd disagree with you, though.

tl;dr: Science!
Last edited by phlip on Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:53 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
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Technical Ben
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Technical Ben » Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:43 am UTC

FormicaArchonis wrote:I've called tech support, been a call centre drone, and now I'm a retail store's PC service tech. I've learned a few things:

1) Most people who work in call centres are idiots. The rest are desperate for work. Almost anyone good will burn out fast, leaving only those who can take abuse from callers and from their bosses for 8-14 hours a day. The only reason call centres still exist is that voice recognition isn't that good yet.

2) Most people who call call centres are idiots. They honestly don't deserve better than an idiot reading off a screen because they're often idiots who can't read off screens.

3) Anyone (on either side of the line) who says they know what they're doing doesn't.

4) Any company who doesn't have a group or at least a script devoted to retail shops should be burned to the ground and the earth salted. I'm not talking for the Best Buys of the world, but the smaller shops. Because that's what I'm going to do next time Linksys or DLink tells me that they can't help me with a dead router until I disconnect all other devices from the network, including the other 30 employees, the four credit/debit card readers, and the DHCP, file, email, and web servers.


I'm actually with an ISP that offers this. They do "home user" accounts and "business" accounts. You pay extra, get a better product, and a 1 to 1 tech support (So straight to top line support call number). They are so good actually that home users get the same kind of time and effort into solving their problems. Just business customers get the option to have engineers over and promises on time-scales/up time.
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SirMustapha
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby SirMustapha » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:28 pm UTC

HonoreDB wrote:Wasn't feeding the troll, but I guess I didn't realize people actually took this particular critique seriously. The thing is it is factually wrong. There's just a confirmation bias thing going on (and I think the way SirMustapha switches from "always" in one sentence to "over and over" in the next one is a standard indicator).


Okay, so "always" is a hyperbole alright. That's all there is.

HonoreDB wrote:If you go through the archives and note both the strips where a woman is in the "inferior" position to a man and where she's in the "superior," I think you'll be surprised. To me it looks like a coinflip.


Well, the folks at a particular xkcd-related blog once did a reasonably serious search for the occurrences of "White Knighting" and for the more neutral "women can be stupid too" to compare the results and, surprise!, the results were VERY telling and very much in my favour.

I am aware that "confirmation bias" can seriously get in the way of these things. But one other factor is that Randall's "White Knighting" is VERY unsubtle and very hamfisted.

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vages
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby vages » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:30 pm UTC

Could someone explain the "Bearded man with two swords" reference? Is it specific?

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby BlueNight » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:31 pm UTC

jc wrote:So did Randall just invent the word, or does it actually mean something to some 1337 sub-sub-subculture?

Randall made up the concept of a codeword that gets you to the power-user tech support instantly. He combined the Hebrew word "shibboleth" with the geek word "1337" ("leet"). Hence, it was a power-user's dream, and he was disappointed when he woke up.

Also, the sysadmin who maintained our network and computers at my last job would ask if I had restarted it whenever I came to him with a problem. Half the time it worked, but because I didn't know why it worked, I got frustrated whenever he asked.
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beergeek
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby beergeek » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:19 pm UTC

Optimum Online (Monmouth County, NJ) has really awful tech support procedures. When you call they make you sit through an automated dialogue that was clearly written to the absolute lowest denominator: "Now reset your router. The thing on your disk with antennas poking out of the back..." Basically, all the crap I did BEFORE I CALLED, because I was hoping to not have to deal with them, and all explained in the slowest possible way so that someone from 1850 could figure out what's going on.

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Lewton » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:52 pm UTC

@People complaining about white knighting...
While I can see where you're coming from in general.
Aiming your fury at this particular comment seems pretty daft.
As this comic is basically depicting a male nerds wet dream.
Of COURSE the techie is female :p

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soren121
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby soren121 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:44 pm UTC

vages wrote:Could someone explain the "Bearded man with two swords" reference? Is it specific?


It's a reference to the 1337 story arc, part 4, where Richard Stallman, who runs the Free Software Foundation, shows up with two swords to attack a couple of RIAA/MPAA agents.
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flingeon
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby flingeon » Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:44 pm UTC

Icalasari wrote:When my computer got messed up, I got some help with trouble shooting. That didn't work, so I looked up how to remove a corrupt update that put the computer on an infinite loop. I had to get Ubuntu on a blank CD so that I could look around (not very good with the cmd console), but I fixed it when the one guy uad said it was toast

Hell, a family friend pays me to troubleshoot her computer every now and then. I don't know too much about fixing them and even then I am apparently a better choice than tech support, all because I'm willing to use google


Having worked multiple years in a help desk, I have to point out something here.... Service Level Agreements (SLA).

A SLA usually states what lengths a tech support person can go to in order to fix a problem. They're discussed at length by admins (usually non-technical) and legal departments (in the form of binding contracts) and an employee can be fired for violating them too often. If you call a help desk for a program called "Foo", they most likely cannot help you install your OS (unless the aforementioned program called "Foo" is your OS).

Also, keep in mind volume of calls. We had 4 maybe 5 techs to service a campus of thousands. How many hours did you spend fixing your computer? Imagine if those 4 or 5 techs spent similar time on the 20 or 30 computers on in their work queue. How long would it take to finish? Don't forget, computers are added to the back of that queue regularly.

Last point: do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt the problem is fixed? What files did that update put out there? what registry keys did it set? Did you get all of them? if not, you may have problems down the road when you have the wrong version of a DLL hanging around or an incorrect option set in the registry... all because of a botched update.

LeftClicker
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby LeftClicker » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:32 pm UTC

SHIBBOLEET = (541) 880-7331

Just saying.
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Thesh
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Thesh » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:39 pm UTC

Shouldn't that be 5#18801337?
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Lode
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Lode » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:43 pm UTC

Me321 wrote:1 week later that computer died (blue screen of death)


That means WINDOWS has died, not your computer...

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Thesh
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Thesh » Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:02 pm UTC

Lode wrote:
Me321 wrote:1 week later that computer died (blue screen of death)


That means WINDOWS has died, not your computer...


BSOD's are not necessarily software related (although most BSOD's back in the windows 98 days were driver issues), but often caused by hardware problems.
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uiri
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby uiri » Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:08 pm UTC

Lode wrote:
Me321 wrote:1 week later that computer died (blue screen of death)


That means WINDOWS has died, not your computer...


Actually it means windows has CRASHED, not died.

And if they are using windows, do you really need to make that distinction? :P
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Skip
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Skip » Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:08 pm UTC

I love you guys.
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