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Computer Stupidities

The Internet

The Internet rage has hit the mainstream. Unfortunately, nobody seems to know what it is.

I work at the computer store on a campus. A few weeks ago, we had a customer call in and ask the following:

Also heard in a University store:

I was extremely tempted to tell him how people in Europe and Asia wake up at odd hours just to use the net.

I just had a call from a customer who wanted to know if she had to bring in her computer to get connected to the Internet or if we could pick it up and deliver.

I work for a local ISP. Frequently we receive phone calls that go something like this:



We would love to be able to say, just once, to these callers, "YES! We are the Internet, and we own all."

I once got a "priority" tech support phone call. The guy's first words were: "I'm a vice president at [major ISP company], and we own the Internet."

Overheard on a train ride:

"The Internet -- isn't that a microchip?"

Overheard near the public Internet terminals in the Kiasma Modern Arts Museum in Helsinki, Finland:

"Isn't Netscape Navigator the Internet?"

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

Had a guy call just recently, asking how to get to the Internet through a word processor.

From a discussion on IRC:

I got a call from an administrative assistant in our office. She said when she opened Netscape it was smaller than normal, so she could not see the entire Internet.

(Usually due to the customer dialing his own phone number with his modem.)

Some friends of mine and I stopped at a local bagel/bistro place that had three Macintosh computers hooked up so patrons could surf the web while they eat and slurp their coffee. None were being used. I walked over to them, and there, in front, was a prominent sign reading:

"The Internet is down all over the world!"

To this day I wonder if the employees were clueless, or if they made that message up to prevent questioning from angry patrons.

Bayfield High School announced in their recent yearbook that their introductory technology class had "almost completed rebuilding the Internet." That's some introductory class!

I attend a major Australian university, and the library computers are often the only Internet access that students have. This means that the librarians often have to explain to students how to use the net connection. One day as I was doing some research for an assignment, an older gentleman asked the library assistant how to print from a web site. He was fairly web savvy, so he was just asking about selecting and printing the text he wanted. The assistant complimented him on his prudent use of resources and said, "So many students don't do that. They just print out the whole Internet."

Now I knew our printers were fast, but I didn't realize they were that fast, or that we had that much paper. It was a real effort not to butt in and correct her, or burst out laughing, or both.

I am a student studying Computer Systems Engineering. In my final year, I moved into a house with a few friends, one of which was a woman studying English. As I was the only person connected to the Internet from our house, they all used my computer to check email and so forth. Well the English major kept asking me if she could have a look on "my Internet." I said she could, and she logged in and directed the browser to a search engine so she could find the information she wanted. Fifteen minutes later:

Several months ago, a woman came in and wanted to start an Internet account. She lugged her 17" monitor in, sat it on the counter, and proudly proclaimed, "I would like you to setup Internet on my computer." Holding in my laughter as best I could, I politely explained that she needed to bring in the "other" part of her computer.

After trying to explain how the web worked, the customer refused to take my word and said she was going to call AOL. A while later she called back.

I'm the executive director of a company which produces communication media software, our principle program being a chat client.

Sometime back, in the days when I was still working for this company in technical and product support services, we used to do a lot of real time on-line support service on our chat server.

One day on site, I saw a man come into the room I happened to be working in. As I had the official company insignia of a support tech by my name, everyone else in the rather crowded room kept telling him to ask me. Now, keep in mind, all the chat dialogue in the room was scrolling very quickly. New users often find it difficult to follow a "threaded" conversation, and this guy was no exception.

I wondered if he was calling because he couldn't hear them, or because he could.

I fix computers for most of my friends, so it's not uncommon for a friend to approach me about fixing one of their friend's computers. What is uncommon is the fact that this woman completely dismantled not one but two of her computers because it wouldn't connect to the Internet. (She figured she could open the case and find the problem?)

I was expecting to receive two PCs that would require the reinsertion of graphics cards, and possibly a drive or two from the description, but that wasn't to be. What I was given was a huge box full of parts. She went to the trouble of unscrewing the motherboards from their casings in her frenzy. I have no clue why she did all of this, but she said she just got pissed and didn't stop until every single component was taken apart.

My friend then informed me that she didn't need two working computers, so if I just made one computer out of the box of hardware, she'd give me one of her LCD monitors, because she wouldn't need the other. I agreed, since I'd been planning on getting a new monitor anyway.

Nine hours later, I had one fully functional computer. It wouldn't have normally take that long, but the situation was so funny that a good portion of the time I spent putting it together I was laughing too hard to really do anything.

I called the woman up and told her I was finished. She came over the next day with my monitor, and I gave her her computer. I told her that if she had any more problems to call me, and I'd help her through it.

I got a call an hour later. The computer still wouldn't connect to the Internet. This was odd, because I'd been able to connect at my house the night before, and I'd downloaded updated drivers and everything. I told her I was on my way over.

So I got there and checked things out. Everything was hooked up correctly. She had a LAN connection that was actually connected, but sure enough, I couldn't connect to the Internet. I asked her where her modem or router was, and she just stared at me blankly. So I followed the ethernet cable and found a router. It was set up right, the DSL modem was connected to the router in the correct manner, but then I discovered that there was no phone line connected to the modem.

Once I pointed this out, she pulled out a 50 foot phone line that she'd purchased specifically for her modem, and I hooked it up. I found the nearest phone outlet and discovered there was a DSL/phone line adapter hooked up to the jack. She'd bought a line, prepared the jack, but never connected it all up. Because of that, she'd torn apart two computers and gave me a monitor.