The Lighter Side

Monday Apr 16th 2001 by Steve Jones

Here are some IT related jokes and humor that I have collected over the years. Most of you will have seen one or another, but they are a nice diversion to the day anyways.

Here are some IT related jokes and humor that I have collected over the years. Most of you will have seen one or another, but they are a nice diversion to the day anyways.

Please DO NOT pass these to non-IT people in your company. Many people would not find these nearly as funny as those of us in the profession.

The Lighter Side will be moving to www.sqlservercentral.com.

Stolen Windows 2000 Source Code

Two versions of the source...

/* Source Code to Windows 2000 */
#include "win31.h"
#include "win95.h"
#include "win98.h"
#include "workst~1.h"
#include "evenmore.h"
#include "oldstuff.h"
#include "billrulz.h"
#include "monopoly.h"
char make_prog_look_big[1600000];
void main()

if (first_time_installation)









if (still_not_crashed)





if (detect_cache())
if (fast_cpu())

/* printf("Welcome to Windows 3.1"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows 3.11"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows 95"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows NT 3.0"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows 98"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows NT 4.0"); */
printf("Welcome to Windows 2000");
if (system_ok())
system_memory =
open("a:\swp0001.swp", O_CREATE);



Another version

5 REM Now Y2K ready
6 IF YEAR>=2000 THEN PRINT "This program is not Y2K ready!": GOSUB CRASH
7 IF YEAR<2000 THEN PRINT "This program is Y2K ready!": GOSUB CRASH
9 REM --- Main program
15 Rem PRINT "Starting MS-DOS..."
17 rem PRINT "Start Windows 95..."
18 REM PRINT "Start Windows 98..."
19 REM PRINT "Start Windows 2000..."
31 REM PRINT "Requires 16 KB RAM"
32 REM PRINT "Requires 600 KB RAM"
33 REM PRINT "Requires at least 4 MB RAM": REM Your right, but it'll sell!
34 REM PRINT "Requires at least 64 MB more RAM"
35 PRINT "Requires at LEAST 1 GB more RAM": REM Because of alliance with memory producers
36 REM For future ease
37 REM PRINT "Requires more RAM. MORE. A LOT MORE!"
39 REM PRINT "Not enough RAM. You can't afford all the RAM I'll NEED. Face it."
45 REM Aug 13, 1983 - Better put the crash into a sub
60 GOTO 60
65 FOR A=1 TO 20
70 PRINT "Bill rules.": PRINT "Do not copy this program or Bill will be really pissed."
80 PRINT "If this program crashes it's your own fault! If you blame us, we'll sue you."
100 B=0
109 REM Jan 1, 00 - Test for Pentium FDIV bug - if the CPU ik ok the computer crashes here
110 PRINT 100/B
129 REM Dec 24, 1988 - Wouldn't it be cool if we actually put something in this sub?
140 PRINT "This prgram have no foults. It is been testd verry touroughzxglty."
141 PRNIT "Thangs to our alpha-tester (We don't know him, but we think he is owt there)"
142 REM PRINT "Thangs to ovr betaa-tehsters"
143 REM PRINT "Thanchs to both of our beta-tesders"
144 REM PRINT "Thanks too our beta-tester"
145 PRINT "We has spent the money that should have been spent on beta-testing to pay our lawyers."
168 REM Apr 1, 1978 - The debugging code has been disabled to speed up development
169 GOTO 190

Cell Phone Horror Stories

I saw these on MSNBC, but am including them here in case the link moves (seems to happen on MSNBC quite often). Here is the original: http://www.msnbc.com/news/547829.asp?bt=msn&btu=http://go.msn.com/zzj/1/1.asp?target=http://msn.com.

Name: Ann
Hometown: Dallas
We were at the graveside service for my MOTHER when a relative sitting behind the immediate family received a call on her cell phone. YES, she DID take the call, instead of turning the darned thing off! How strange to have the minister trying to talk loud enough to be heard over her conversation...OUTRAGEOUS and insensitive!!!

Name: Wren73
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
A person driving a van was talking on her cell phone and plowed into the side of my elderly neighbor's minivan while driving through an intersection with 4-way stop signs, pushing the minivan across a lane of the road up over the curb, across the sidewalk and into some bushes on the other side. She insisted she had stopped! She wasn't paying attention - it was a little neighborhood street with little traffic so I guess she thought she didn't have to pay attention. I like N.Y.'s law - no cell phones while driving!

Name: Lori
Hometown: Fresno, Calif.
Cell phone use while driving is still, above and beyond, my largest pet peeve. I too have a cell, but don't use it in stop-go traffic. I finally had it when the other day, some woman on a cell phone was driving not 5, not 10, but 15 miles UNDER the speed limit and swerving all over the road. At first I was apprehensive to pass for fear of it being a drunk driver or the like. I finally creeped around her, using my signal...and what does she do but almost run into the side of me as i'm passing. TWICE even!!!
I finally get past her, and glare over at her, seeing she's laughing it up talking to someone on her cell phone. Needless to say, a missile launcher welded to the top of my car would have been a nice feature at that moment.

Name: Terry Kuhlman
Hometown: Dearborn, Mich.
I am a vendor ("beer guy") at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit at Red Wings games. These pompous, hey-look-at-me, big shot wannabees talk on these things all the time. During the game, blocking aisles at intermission, and waving across the arena at another self-absorbed show-off with a cell phone are common occurrences. They want everyone to see how important they are -- as if they are closing deals or making huge stock transactions each time they are on the phone. I support a total ban on this nonsense.

Name: Vince Love
Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Construction driver wiped out my rear quarter panel on my mini van while talking on cell phone. He then denied it!

Name: Michael
Hometown: Dallas, Tex.
How bad does anyone need to talk on a phone? Just the other day in Dallas, Tex. (where I live);a woman was pulled over by a cop and soon realized that she was DRIVING, APPLYING MAKEUP, EATING, AND TALKING ON HER CELL.(DURING RUSH HOUR) I myself have a cell phone furnished by my company, but, it has a speaker-phone and I don't even have to hold it or anything.

Name: Yvonne
Hometown: Midway City, Calif.
I was attending church service one Sunday morning. The Pastor was in the middle of his sermon when the person sitting behind me received a phone call. She actually answered the phone and started a conversation! Everyone looked at her and she left the room.

Name: Cheryl Pfirrman
Hometown: Edgewood, Ky.
Which one do you want to hear about? LOL
Just the other day I was in the check out line at a store and the woman behind me while chatting on the phone almost plowed me over with her shopping cart.
She wasn't bothering to pay attention to the fact that I was standing in front of it and kept running it over the back of my heels.
I finally caught her eye and the look I gave her must have gotten the message across because she backed off.
I am waiting to see a couple of people beating each other senseless over this kind of thing.

Name: Amber
Hometown: Flagstaff
I work in a movie theatre and I was in the concession stand it was really busy and the lines were very long. I had one man approach my counter and say, "F*****g A! What's wrong with you people, can't you move any faster?!" I ignored the man's rude comment and said, "What can I get for you?" in my sweetest voice. He went ahead and started to give me his order. I already knew his drink and popcorn order, but needed to know if he wanted butter. Just as I turned back to ask, his cell phone rang. I let him answer it and then got his attention to ask about the butter. I said, "Would you like but-" when he cut me off. "Dammit can't you see that I'm on the phone? You can wait just a goddamn minute!"
I replied in a very controlled voice, "Were you not the person who just complained about us going faster?"
"That doesn't matter, I am on the phone!"
I walked off. And told my manager the story and that they would have to deal with him. When my manager walked up the guy was still on the phone. My manager said, "Excuse me sir... excuse me?" The man shot him a dirty look and turned away. My manager simply took the mans popcorn threw it away, poured out the drink and told me to help another customer. I called another customer forward. And my manager walked out of the concession stand into the lobby to stand next to the man. The man became enraged when I started to help the next person and finally told the person on the phone he had to go. The man turned to me and started to complain, but my manager cut him off. "I'm sorry sir but you have been unforgivably rude, and will have to leave the theater immediately." One can imagine the argument that ensued.
My manager (Ben) is not a small man, he stands at 6'4" is thin but muscular and 22, this man was probably in his mid-thirties, about 5'6" and painfully thin. When the man demanded his money back for his
ticket Ben explained that since he was being kicked out he didn't get his money back. The man took a swing at Ben, who avoided it and immediately turned to tell someone to call the cops. When he turned the man threw his cell phone and hit Ben in the side of the head. Ben turned back to dodge another swing. Ben started to take a swing at the man but thought better of it. By that time another male manager had come to back him up. The guy grabbed his cell phone off the ground and dialed 911. Once the operator was on the line he would only scream obscenities at her, so she hung up on him. By then the police had gotten there. The man threw the phone at one of the cops and hit the guy in the face. In order to subdue and arrest the man the police had to chase him across our lobby tackle him and hog tie him. The whole time he kept screaming, "I was making a phone call! You never interrupt someone on the phone!"
He got nine months in jail for public misconduct and resisting arrest.

Name: Debbie Engle
Hometown: Gainesville, Fl.
I was in a local restaurant and a woman a few tables over got a call on her cell phone... Loud ringing... when she finally answers it she had a very loud voice with a very flowery vocabulary! I heard about her No Good #$%#^ Husband, Her son of a &*^%$ Boss and her piece of #%@*! car. This happened repeatedly during our meal. I learned more about this stranger in half an hour then I know about my best friend! Fortunately my teen-age daughter was there to see how rude some people are with their phones and she vowed never to use her phone for anything but emergency use. That was 1 year ago and she still only uses her phone to let us know she is OK, which is why we got it for her in the first place. So even though this was a very miserable and embarrassing experience for my family, it was a lesson to a teen-ager, to respect others no matter where you are!


A few samples are below, but you can find more at www.techtales.com.


This one happened to me while working at a university helpdesk. A user came into the office and asked if someone could close a window for her. As I was nearest, I said "OK, lets have a look and see whats wrong", thinking some app must have locked up. I followed her into the computer room next door, where she sat down and carried on working.

As everything seemed OK, I asked her what the problem was exactly, to which she pointed at the open window across the room and said "its cold in here".

Completely speechless now, I just made a few stammering noises, and quickly left (without closing the window) before the stammering turned to expletives.

I have a PhD. I know everthing.

There's one of them at every college. The professor who has a PhD in 'underwater basket weaving' but 'knows' everything about computers. I received a call from this woman who fit this type. She simply wanted to forward her unversity email to her ISP email account. I told her about a university website that has a form for this. Well, she says she already did that, but it wasn't working. She then begins to lecture me on the importance of her email and how it's my fault that it isn't working. Not wanting to argue with a stubborn person, I simply forwarded the information to one of the university's full-time all-knowing techs.

The next day I ran into my supervisor and asked about this case. He told me that he had contacted the professor's ISP and found out that she had set forwarded email from that account to her university account. She had also filled out our forwarding webpage a couple of times. Well, this created a nice looping effect where the email kept getting bounced around. We fixed it for her, but some people don't understand, once is enough sometimes.

Help Desk confusion

I worked the 'Help Desk' for a university. In campus phone books and pamphlets, it's called the "ITSS Help Desk" (Infomation Technology Systems and Service). Anyway, because it's commonly referred to as simply the Help Desk, we would always get phone calls for information not relative to our department. We would simply forward the calls to the 'real' help desk or other departments

One time I got this call from a woman who wanted to register for classes over the phone. I told her the above and gave her the phone number for the Registration office. Five minutes later she calls back and says that the Registration office told her to call the "Help Desk". I immediately saw where this was heading. I told here again our situation and gave her the campus wide information number. About 10 minutes later she calls me back and is surprised to here my voice. It seemed that all the automated forwards gave her back to me. Oh joy. By this time the women was rather beligerant. Not knowing what to do, I simply said to call back tomorrow when someone else could help her.

After coming into work the next day my co-worker told me this exact same story and how she got bitched out before she hung up on her. Oh well.

Hello, World

Warning: Nerd Joke!

The evolution of the famous HELLO WORLD in the programer's life

Secondary School

20 END

First year in the university

program Hello(input, output)
writeln('Hello World')

Last year in the university

(defun hello
(cons 'Hello (list 'World))))

Beginner professional programer

#include <stdio.h>
void main(void)
{ char *message[] = {"Hello ", "World"};
int i;
for(i = 0; i< 2; ++i)
printf("%s", message[i]);

Professional programer

#include <iostream.h>
#include <string.h>

class string
int size;
char *ptr;

string() : size(0), ptr(new char('\0')) {}

string(const string &s) : size(s.size)
ptr = new char[size + 1];
strcpy(ptr, s.ptr);

delete [] ptr;

friend ostream &operator <<(ostream &, const string &);
string &operator=(const char *);

ostream &operator<<(ostream &stream, const string &s)
return(stream << s.ptr);

string &string::operator=(const char *chrs)
if (this != &chrs)
delete [] ptr;
size = strlen(chrs);
ptr = new char[size + 1];
strcpy(ptr, chrs);

int main()
string str;

str = "Hello World";
cout << str << endl;


Very very professional programer

library LHello
// bring in the master library

// bring in my interfaces
#include "pshlo.idl"

cotype THello
interface IHello;
interface IPersistFile;

module CHelloLib

// some code related header files

Beginner hacker

$msg="Hello, world.\n";
if ($#ARGV = 0) {
while(defined($arg=shift(@ARGV))) {
$outfilename = $arg;
open(FILE, "" . $outfilename) == die "Can't write $arg: =$!\n";
print (FILE $msg);
close(FILE) == die "Can't close $arg: $!\n";
} else {
print ($msg);

Experienced hacker


More experienced hacker

% cc -o a.out ~/src/misc/hw/hw.c
% a.out

Profession hacker

% cat
Hello, world.

Newly appointed manager

20 END

Middle-level manager

mail -s "Hello, world." bob@b12
Bob, can you write a program for me until tomorrow,
that display "Hello word" on the screen?


% zmail jim
I need a "Hello Word" program today afternoon.


% letter
letter: Command not found.

% mail To: ^X
^F ^C

% help mail
help: Command not found.

% fuck!
!: Event unrecognized

% logout

Your Friend the Computer

You know it is time to reassess your relationship with your computer when....

1. You wake up at 4 O'clock in the morning to go to the bathroom and stop to check your email on the way back to bed.

2. You turn off your computer and get an awful empty feeling, as if you just pulled the plug on a loved one.

3. You decide to stay in college for an additional year or two, just for the free internet access.

4. You laugh at people with 28.8 modems.

5. You start using smileys :-) in your snail mail.

6. You find yourself typing "com" after every period when using a word processor.com

7. You can't correspond with your mother because she doesn't have a computer.

8. When your email box shows "no new messages" and you feel really depressed.

9. You don't know the gender of your three closest friends because they have nondescript screen name and you never bothered to ask.

10. You move into a new house and you decide to "Netscape" before you landscape.

11. Your family always knows where you are.

12. In real life conversations, you don't laugh, you just say "LOL, LOL".

13. After reading this message, you immediately forward it to a friend!

Bill Gates in heaven

When Bill Gates died, he went up to Heaven, where Saint Peter showed him to his house; a beautiful 20 room house, with grounds and a tennis court. Bill Gates was pleased, and spent many months enjoying the amenities of Heaven.

One day, he was enjoying one of Heaven's many fine parks, when he ran into a man dressed in a fine tailored suit.

"That is a nice suit, my friend," said Gates. "Where did you get it?"

"Actually," the man replied, "I was given a hundred of these when I got here. I've been treated really well. I got a mansion on a hill overlooking a beautiful hill, with a huge five-hundred acre estate, a golf course, and three Rolls Royces."

"Were you a Pope, or a doctor healing the sick?" asked Gates.

"No," said his new friend, "Actually, I was the captain of the Titanic."

Hearing this made Gates so angry that he immediately stalked off to find St. Peter.

Cornering Peter, he told him about the man he had just met, saying, "How could you give me a paltry new house, while you're showering new cars, a mansion, and fine suits on the Captain of the Titanic? I invented the Windows operating system! Why does he deserve better??!!!!"

"Yes, but we use Windows," replied Peter, "and the Titanic only crashed once."


The following is an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal by Jim Carlton.

1. Compaq is considering changing the command "Press Any Key," "Press Return Key" because of the flood of calls asking where the "Any" key is.

2. AST technical support had a caller complaining that her mouse was
hard to control with the dust cover on. The cover turned out to be the
plastic bag the mouse was packaged in.

3. Another Compaq technician received a call from a man complaining
that the system wouldn't read word processing files from his old diskettes.
After trouble-shooting for magnets and heat failed to diagnose the problem,
it was found that the customer labeled the diskettes then rolled them into
the typewriter to type the labels.

4. Another AST customer was asked to send a copy of her defective diskettes.
A few days later a letter arrived from the customer along with Xeroxed
copies of the floppies.

5. A Dell technician advised his customer to put his troubled floppy
back in the drive and close the door. The customer asked the tech to hold
on, and was heard putting the phone down, getting up and crossing the room
to close the door to his room.

6. Another Dell customer called to say he couldn't get his computer
to fax anything. After 40 minutes of troubleshooting, the technician discovered
the man was trying to fax a piece of paper by holding it in front of the
monitor screen and hitting the "send" key.

7. Another Dell customer needed help setting up a new program, so a
Dell tech suggested he go to the local Egghead. "Yeah, I got me
a couple of friends," the customer replied. When told Egghead
was a software store, the man said, "Oh, I thought you meant for
me to find a couple of geeks."

8. Yet another Dell customer called to complain that his keyboard no
longer worked. He had cleaned it by filling up his tub with soap and water
and soaking the keyboard for a day, then removing all the keys and washing
them individually.

9. A Dell technician received a call from a customer who was enraged
because his computer had told him he was "bad" and "invalid."
The tech explained that the computer's bad and invalid
responses shouldn't be taken personally.

10. An exasperated caller to Dell Computer Tech Support couldn't get
her new Dell Computer to turn on. After ensuring the computer was plugged
in, the technician asked her what happened when she pushed the power button.
Her response, "I pushed and pushed on this foot pedal and nothing
Happens." The "pedal" turned out to be the computer's

11. Another customer called Compaq tech support to say her brand-new
computer wouldn't work. She said she unpacked the unit, plugged it in,
and sat there for 20 minutes waiting for something to happen. When asked
what happened when she pressed the power switch, she asked, "What power switch?"

12. True story from a Novell NetWire Sys Op:

Tech support: Hello, this is Tech Support.

Caller: Is this tech support?

Tech support: Yes, it is. How may I help you?

Caller: The cup holder on my PC is broken and I am within my warranty period. How do I go about getting
that fixed?

Tech Support: I'm sorry, but did you say a cup holder?

Caller: Yes, it's attached to the front of my computer.

Tech Support: Please excuse me if I seem a bit stumped. It's because I am. Did you receive this as part of
a promotional, at a trade show? How did you get this cup holder? Does it have any trademark on it?

Caller: It came with my computer, I don't know anything about a promotional. It just has "4X" on it.

At this point, the Tech Rep had to mute the caller, because he couldn't stand it. The caller had been using the load drawer of the CD-ROM drive as a cup holder, and snapped it off the drive!

More Tech Support Humor (Supposedly real)

A woman called the Canon help desk with a problem with her printer. The tech asked her if she was "running it under Windows." The woman then responded, "No, my desk is next to the door. But that is a good point. The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window, and his is working fine."

Tech Support: "Ok Bob, let's press the control and escape keys at the same time. That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen. Now type the letter 'P' to bring up the Program Manager."

Customer: "I don't have a 'P'."

Tech Support: "On your keyboard, Bob."

Customer: "What do you mean?"

Tech Support: "'P' on your keyboard, Bob."

Customer: "I'm not going to do that!"

Overheard in a computer shop:

Customer: "I'd like a mouse pad, please."

Salesperson: "Certainly sir, we've got a large variety."

Customer: "But will they be compatible with my computer?"

Some people pay for their online services with checks made payable to "The Internet."

Customer: "So that'll get me connected to the Internet, right?"

Tech Support: "Yeah."

Customer: "And that's the latest version of the Internet, right?"

Tech Support: "Uhh...uh...uh...yeah."

Tech Support: "All right...now double-click on the File Manager icon.

Customer: "That's why I hate this Windows -- because of the icons -- I'm a Protestant, and I don't believe in icons."

Tech Support: "Well, that's just an industry term sir. I don't believe it was meant to --"

Customer: "I don't care about any 'Industry Terms'. I don't believe in icons."

Tech Support: "Well...why don't you click on the 'little picture' of a file cabinet...is 'little picture' ok?"

Customer: [click]

Customer: "My computer crashed!"

Tech Support: "It crashed?"

Customer: "Yeah, it won't let me play my game."

Tech Support: "All right, hit Control-Alt-Delete to reboot."

Customer: "No, it didn't crash -- it crashed."

Tech Support: "Huh?"

Customer: "I crashed my game. That's what I said before. Now it doesn't work." [Turned out, the user was playing Lunar Lander and crashed his spaceship.]

Tech Support: "Click on 'File,' then 'New Game.'"

Customer: [pause] "Wow! How'd you learn how to do that?"

Job Performance Review

In case you ever have a friend looking over your shoulder, use this as a joke...

John Jones, the head of the company asked his manager to write a detailed employment review describing Bob Smith, one of his programmers.

  1. Bob Smith, my assistant programmer, can always be found
  2. hard at work in his cubicle. Bob works independently, without
  3. wasting company time talking to colleagues. Bob never
  4. thinks twice about assisting fellow employees, and he always
  5. finishes given assignments on time. Often Bob takes extended
  6. measures to complete his work, sometimes skipping coffee
  7. breaks. Bob is a dedicated individual who has absolutely no
  8. vanity in spite of his high accomplishments and profound
  9. knowledge in his field. I firmly believe that Bob can be
  10. classed as a high-caliber employee, the type which cannot be
  11. dispensed with. Consequently, I duly recommend that Bob be
  12. promoted to executive management, and a proposal will be
  13. executed as soon as possible.

Signed ...




That idiot was reading over my shoulder while I wrote the report sent to you earlier today. Kindly read only the odd numbered lines above (1, 3, 5, etc...) for my true assessment of him.

Regards ...


Computer Problem Report Form

  1. Describe your problem:

  3. Now, describe the problem accurately:

  5. Speculate wildly about the cause of the problem:

  7. Problem Severity:
    • A.Minor__
    • B.Minor__
    • C.Minor__
    • d.Trivial__

  9. Nature of the problem:
    • A.Locked Up__
    • B.Frozen__
    • C.Hung__
    • d.Strange Smell__

  11. Is Your Computer Plugged In?     Yes_____ No______

  13. Is It Turned On?     Yes_____ No_____

  15. Have you tried to fix it yourself?     Yes_____ No_____

  17. Have you made it worse?     Yes_____ No_____

  19. Have you had a "friend" who "Knows all about computers" try to fix it for you?     Yes_____ No_____

  21. Did they make it worse?     Yes_____ No_____

  23. Have you read the manual?     Yes_____ No_____

  25. Are you sure you've read the manual?     Yes_____ No_____

  27. Are you absolutely certain you've read the manual?     Yes_____ No_____

  29. If you read the manual, do you think you understood it?     Yes_____ No_____

  31. If 'yes', then explain why you can't fix the problem yourself?

  33. What were you doing with your computer at the time the problem occurred?

  35. If you answered 'nothing' then explain why you were logged in?

  37. Are you sure you aren't imagining the problem?     Yes_____ No_____

  39. Does the clock on your home VCR blink 12:00?     Yes_____ What's a VCR?_____

  41. Do you have a copy of 'PCs for Dummies'?     Yes_____ No_____

  43. Do you have any independent witnesses to the problem?     Yes_____ No_____

  45. Do you have any electronics products that DO work?     Yes_____ No_____

  47. Is there anyone else you could blame this problem on?     Yes_____ No_____

  49. Have you given the machine a good whack on the top?      Yes_____ No_____

  51. Is the machine on fire?      Yes_____ No_____

  53. Can you do something else instead of bothering me?      Yes_____ No_____


How to Please Your I.T. Department ...

  1. When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and children's art. We don't have a life, and we find it deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of yours.
  2. Don't write anything down. Ever. We can play back the error messages from here.
  3. When an I.T. person says he's coming right over, go for coffee. That way you won't be there when we need your password. It's nothing for us to remember 700 screen saver passwords.
  4. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what's keeping you from getting it. We don't need to know that you can't get into your mail because your computer won't power on at all.
  5. When I.T. support sends you an e-mail with high importance, delete it at once. We're just testing.
  6. When an I.T. person is eating lunch at his desk, walk right in and spill your guts right out. We exist only to serve.
  7. Send urgent e-mail all in uppercase. The mail server picks it up and flags it as a rush delivery.
  8. When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support. There's electronics in it.
  9. When something's wrong with your home PC, dump it on an I.T. person's chair with no name, no phone number and no description of the problem. We love a puzzle.
  10. When an I.T. person tells you that computer screens don't have cartridges in them, argue. We love a good argument.
  11. When an I.T. person tells you that he'll be there shortly, reply in a scathing tone of voice: "And just how many weeks do you mean by shortly?" That motivates us.
  12. When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least 20 times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.
  13. When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send the job to all 68 printers in the company. One of them is bound to work.
  14. Don't learn the proper term for anything technical. We know exactly what you mean by "My thing blew up".
  15. Don't use on-line help. On-line help is for wimps.

Nasty Tech Support Diary



User called to say they forgot password. Told them to use password retrieval utility called FDISK. Blissfully ignorant, they thank me and hang up. God, we let the people vote and drive, too?


Accounting called to say they couldn't access expense reports database. Gave them Standard Sys Admin Answer #112, "Well, it works for me." Let them rant and rave while I unplugged my coffeemaker from the UPS and plugged their server back in. Suggested they try it again. One more happy customer...

8:14 am

User from 8:05 call said they received error message "Error accessing Drive 0." Told them it was an OS problem. Transferred them to microsupport.

11:00 am

Relatively quiet for last few hours. Decide to plug support phone back in so I can call my girlfriend. Says parents are coming into town this weekend. Put her on hold and transferred her to janitorial closet down in basement. What is she thinking? The "Myst" and "Doom" nationals are this weekend!

11:34 am

Another user calls (do they ever learn?). Says they want ACL changed on HR performance review database so that nobody but HR can access database. Tell them no problem. Hang up. Change ACL. Add @MailSend so performance reviews are sent to */US.

12:00 pm


3:30 pm

Return from lunch.

3:55 pm

Wake up from nap. Bad dream makes me cranky. Bounce servers for no reason. Return to napping.

4:23 pm

Yet another user calls. Wants to know how to change fonts on form. Ask them what chip set they're using. Tell them to call back when they find out.

4:55 pm

Decide to run "Create Save/Replication Conflicts" macro so next shift has something to do.


8:30 am

Finish reading support log from last night. Sounded busy. Terrible time with Save/Replication conflicts.

9:00 am

Support manager arrives. Wants to discuss my attitude. Click on PhoneNotes SmartIcon. "Love to, but kinda busy. Put something in the calendar database!" I yell as I grab for the support lines, which have (mysteriously) lit up. Walks away grumbling.

9:35 pm

Team leader from R&D needs ID for new employee. Tell them they need form J-19R=9C9\\DARR\K1. Say they never heard of such a form. Tell them it's in the SPECIAL FORMS database. Say they never heard of such a database. Transfer them to janitorial closet in basement.

10:00 am

Perky sounding intern from R&D calls and says she needs new ID. Tell her I need employee number, department name, manager name, and marital status. Run @DbLookup against state parole board database, Centres for Disease Control database, and my Oprah Winfrey database. No hits. Tell her ID will be ready tonight. Drawing from the lessons learned in last week's "Reengineering for Customer Partnership," I offer to personally deliver ID to her apartment.

10:07 am

Janitor stops by to say he keeps getting strange calls in basement. Offer to train him on Notes. Begin now. Let him watch console while I grab a smoke.

1:00 pm

Return from smoking break. Janitor says phones kept ringing, so he transferred them to cafeteria lady. I like this guy.

1:05 pm

Big commotion! Support manager falls in hole left where I pulled floor tiles outside his office door. Stress to him importance of not running in computer room, even if I do yell "Omigod -- Fire!"

1:15 pm

Development Standards Committee calls and complains about umlauts in form names. Apologising for the inconvenience, I tell them I will fix it. Hang up and run global search/replace using gaks.

1:20 pm

Mary Hairnet from cafeteria calls. Says she keeps getting calls for "Notice Loads" or "NoLoad Goats," she's not sure, couldn't here over industrial-grade blender. Tell her it was probably "Lettuce Nodes." Maybe the food distributor with a new product? She thinks about it and hangs up.

2:00 pm

Legal secretary calls and says she lost password. Ask her to check in her purse, floor of car, and on bathroom counter. Tell her it probably fell out of back of machine. Suggest she put duct tape over all the airvents she can find on the PC. Grudgingly offer to create new ID for her while she does that.

2:49 pm

Janitor comes back. Wants more lessons. I take off rest of day.


8:30 am

Irate user calls to say chipset has nothing to do with fonts on form. Tell them Of course, they should have been checking "Bitset," not "chipset." Sheepish user apologises and hangs up.


Support manager, with foot in cast, returns to office. Schedules 10:00am meeting with me. User calls and wants to talk to support manager about terrible help at support desk. Tell them manager about to go into meeting. Sometimes life hands you material...

10:00 am

Call Louie in janitorial services to cover for me. Go to support manager's office. He says he can't dismiss me but can suggest several lateral career moves. Most involve farm implements in third-world countries with moderate to heavy political turmoil. By and by, I ask if he's aware of new bug which takes full-text indexed random e-mail databases and puts all references to furry handcuffs and Bambi Boomer in Marketing on the corporate Web page. Meeting is adjourned as he reaches for keyboard, Web browser, and Tums.

10:30 am

Tell Louie he's doing great job. Offer to show him mainframe corporate PBX system sometime.

11:00 am


4:55 pm

Return from lunch.

5:00 pm

Shift change; Going home.


8:00 am

New guy ("Marvin") started today. "Nice plaids" I offer. Show him server room, wiring closet, and technical library. Set him up with IBM PC-XT. Tell him to quit whining, Notes runs the same in both monochrome and color.

8:45 am

New guy's PC finishes booting up. Tell him I'll create new ID for him. Set minimum password length to 64. Go grab smoke.

9:30 am

Introduce Louie the custodian to Marvin. "Nice plaids" Louie comments. Is this guy great or what?!

11:00 am

Beat Louie in dominoes game. Louie leaves. Fish spare dominoes out of sleeves ("Always have backups"). User calls, says Accounting server is down. Untie Ethernet cable from radio antenna (better reception) and plug back into hub. Tell user to try again. Another happy customer!

11:55 am

Brief Marvin on Corporate Policy 98.022.01: "Whereas all new employee beginning on days ending in 'Y' shall enjoy all proper aspects with said corporation, said employee is obligated to provide sustenance and relief to senior technical analyst on shift." Marvin doubts. I point to "Corporate Policy" database (a fine piece of work, if I say so myself!). "Remember, that's DOUBLE pepperoni and NO peppers!" I yell to Marvin as he steps over open floor tile to get to exit door.

1:00 pm

Oooooh! Pizza makes me so sleepy...

4:30 pm

Wake from refreshing nap. Catch Marvin scanning want ads.

5:00 pm

Shift change. Flick HR's server off and on several times (just testing the On/Off button...). See ya tomorrow.


8:00 am

Night shift still trying to replace power supply in HR server. Told them it worked fine before I left.

9:00 am

Marvin still not here. Decide I might start answering these calls myself. Unforward phones from Mailroom.

9:02 am

Yep. A user call. Users in Des Moines can't replicate. Me and the Oiuji board determine it's sunspots. Tell them to call Telecommunications.

9:30 am

Good God, another user! They're like ants. Says he's in San Diego and can't replicate with Des Moines. Tell him it's sunspots, but with a two-hour difference. Suggest he reset the time on the server back two hours.

10:17 am

Pensacola calls. Says they can't route mail to San Diego. Tell them to set server ahead three hours.

11:00 am

E-mail from corporate says for everybody to quit resetting the time on their servers. I change the date stamp and forward it to Milwaukee.

11:20 am

Finish @CoffeeMake macro. Put phone back on hook.

11:23 am

Milwaukee calls, asks what day it is.

11:25 am

Support manager stops by to say Marvin called in to quit. "So hard to get good help..." I respond. Support manager says he has appointment with orthopaedic doctor this afternoon, and asks if I mind sitting in on the weekly department head meeting for him. "No problem!"

11:30 am

Call Louie and tell him opportunity knocks and he's invited to a meeting this afternoon. "Yeah, sure. You can bring your snuff" I tell him.

12:00 am


1:00 pm

Start full backups on UNIX server. Route them to device NULL to make them fast.

1:03 pm

Full weekly backups done. Man, I love modern technology!

2:30 pm

Look in support manager's contact management database. Cancel 2:45pm appointment for him. He really should be at home resting, you know.

2:39 pm

New user calls. Says want to learn how to create a connection document. Tell them to run connection document utility CTRL-ALT-DEL. Says PC rebooted. Tell them to call microsupport.

2:50 pm

Support manager calls to say mix-up at doctor's office means appointment cancelled. Says he's just going to go on home. Ask him if he's seen corporate Web page lately.

3:00 pm

Another (novice) user calls. Says periodic macro not working. Suggest they place @DeleteDocument at end of formula. Promise to send them document addendum which says so.

4:00 pm

Finish changing foreground color in all documents to white. Also set point size to "2" in help databases.

4:30 pm

User calls to say they can't see anything in documents. Tell them to go to view, do a "Edit -- Select All", hit delete key, and then refresh. Promise to send them document addendum which says so.

4:45 pm

Another user calls. Says they can't read help documents. Tell them I'll fix it. Hang up. Change font to Wingdings.

4:58 pm

Plug coffee maker into Ethernet hub to see what happens. Not (too) much.

5:00 pm

Night shift shows up. Tell that the hub is acting funny and to have a good weekend

Management and IT

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts:

"Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says: "yes you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field."

"You must work in Information Technology" says the balloonist.

"I do" replies the man. "How did you know."

"Well" says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but it's no use to anyone."

The man below says "you must work in Management.

"I do" replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well", says the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect me to be able to help. You're in the same position you were before we met, but now it's my fault."

Top 20 Replies by Programmers when their programs do not work

From the David Letterman show:

20. "That's weird..."
19. "It's never done that before."
18. "It worked yesterday."
17. "How is that possible?"
16. "It must be a hardware problem."
15. "What did you type in wrong to get it to crash?"
14. "There is something funky in your data."
13. "I haven't touched that module in weeks!"
12. "You must have the wrong version."
11. "It's just some unlucky coincidence."
10. "I can't test everything!"
9. "THIS can't be the source of THAT."
8. "It works, but it hasn't been tested."
7. "Somebody must have changed my code."
6. "Did you check for a virus on your system?"
5. "Even though it doesn't work, how does it feel?"
4. "You can't use that version on your system."
3. "Why do you want to do it that way?"
2. "Where were you when the program blew up?"
And the Number One Reply by Programmers when their programs don't work:


Computer Haiku

Kind of funny

In Japan, Sony Vaio machines have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft error messages with their own Japanese haiku poetry. The first one is great.

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Web site you seek
Cannot be located but
Countless more exist
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ABORTED effort:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask way too much.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen dies
so beautifully.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
With searching comes loss
and the presence of absence:
"My Novel" not found.
The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao, until
You bring fresh toner.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Stay the patient course
Of little worth is your ire
The network is down
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A crash reduces
your expensive computer
to a simple stone.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
You step in the stream,
but the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Having been erased,
The document you're seeking
Must now be retyped.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

An Alternative to Windows NT...

Memo From Corporate IT

Corporate has defined a lower cost alternative to Windows NT conversions that also addresses the Y2K (Year 2000) issue. The goal is to remove all computers from the desktop by January 1, 1999. Instead, everyone will be provided with an Etch-A-Sketch. There are many sound reasons for doing this:

  1. No Y2K problems.
  2. No technical glitches keeping work from being done.
  3. No more wasted time reading and writing e-mails.

Frequently Asked Questions from the Etch-A-Sketch Help Desk:

Q: My Etch-A-Sketch has all of these funny little lines all over the screen.
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I turn my Etch-A-Sketch off?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: What's the shortcut for Undo?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I create a New Document window?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I set the background and foreground to the same color?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: What is the proper procedure for rebooting my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I delete a document on my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I save my Etch-A-Sketch document?
A: Don't shake it.