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Computer Stupidities


You'd think the idea of an "icon" -- a little picture that represents a file or program on your computer -- would be too simple to leave room for much misunderstanding. You'd be wrong.

I had a job at my local school board doing on-site technical support. We had just recently replaced all the Macintosh machines with Windows NT machines. While showing one of the secretaries the Windows environment, she asked where all of her icons were. I pointed to the two columns of icons on the left side of her screen.

I had a colleague who was very messy. Half of his cubicle was a pile of junk that reached to the top of the cubicle. Whenever he wanted something, he would rummage through all the stuff, throwing things aside until he found it. One day I asked him to find a computer file for me that I'd erased by mistake. It was taking him a while, so I went to look over his shoulder. His desktop was an exact duplicate of his cubicle. It had a massive pile of icons in one corner, and he was furiously rummaging through them to uncover the right file.

I work on the tech support help desk for an ISP. I once had this novice woman who had a complete misunderstanding on what I advised her to do when I talked her through installing her modem drivers.

After a couple minutes I wondered why it was taking so long to click on the X button.

Luckily, fixing all that was just a case of accessing her Recycle Bin from the Start menu and restoring the items.

Someone told me his hard disk was full. His nephew had installed something that would make it larger and had muttered something confusing about slaves and jumpers. But the hard disk, it seemed, was "still full."

My first thought was that his nephew had installed an additional hard disk, and the guy got confused about drive letters. But it was worse. He had an 80 GB hard disk with 6 GB used, plus an additional 250 GB hard disk, which was completely empty.

I asked him why he thought his hard disk was full. He said, "But can't you see? There's no free space!" And, really, there was no free space -- not a single inch of free space -- on his desktop.

I gave him a higher screen resolution and put a handful of folders on his desktop. I told him I installed some "drawers" so he had more space. Now he's happy.

A while ago I was received a call from a woman who said that Eudora Pro was showing her password. I found this to be strange, because when you type it in your password in Eudora, it displays asterisks. So when I went over to her office and looked at her desktop. She had renamed the Eudora Pro icon with her password.

I was helping my cousin install a game. He wanted the game to "stay on the disk," so it wouldn't keep the game on the computer. So he said we should uncheck the "Put an Icon on the Desktop" option, and then we wouldn't have to uninstall it later.

Before moving into network support, I did PC support for a large multinational utility company. We had bases all over the country and personnel moves were frequent. There was an software model in use consisting of applications delivered to the desktop using Novell Application Launcher. A user's ability to run or even see applications depended on membership of Netware groups.

One user had moved sites and had his account moved to a different container. The next Monday, he logged a call to the help desk, saying that he couldn't see one of his applications any more. Obviously someone had just forgotten to add him to a group in his new location.

My colleague received the following email from a help desk employee:

This user has moved from Motherwell to Wrexham and has lost his Landmaster icon. Could it have fallen out of his PC when it was being moved?