View Full Version : Stupid things *you* did learning how to use a computer?
10-27-2000, 08:36 PM
My first was in the 70's in the computer lab at UCSD. I took a computer class without a sign language interpreter or a notetaker. We got $52 free, in computer time. You got charged for every minute you were at the computer.
I couldn't hear the instructions so I didn't know how to use the computer in the lab. A guy comes over & on the computer brings up the instructions on how to use the computer, then he asked me if I wanted to 'save' them on the computer! So I said yes. Next day I get called into the professors office. He said I used all my computer time. I asked how? He said saving the instructions that were on the computer already back on the computer. lol
10-28-2000, 12:41 AM
Oh geez, handy...where to start?
I melted a monitor once.
The computer lab used some big, clunky boxes (don't remember the name) and they were connected to those big, clunky, GREEN, monochrome monitors.
Well, the teacher was a new-hire, and he passed out about 10 5 1/4" floppies to each of us, for use throughout the class.
I want to state for the record, that we were not told what was on the floppies, neither were we warned against using them.
One of the floppies contained a color graphics tool, so (fool that I was) I tried it out.
Remember, this is a monochrome monitor.
After a few seconds of flickering, the screen turned all green.
That's when we smelled it.
Portions of the plastic case which housed the monitor, once hard and wear-resistant, had taken on a decidedly gelatinous texture.
The monitor itself continued to work correctly afterward, but those bald, bubbly spots remained forever.
10-28-2000, 08:09 PM
I used to teach software apps like Word, etc. I saw some stuff...
The retired doctor who took beginning Word from me three times. By the third time, he could open a file all by himself every time.
People would put one finger on the mouse, use the right button, forget to take it off, and argue with me that they *were too* using the left button to get the little popup menu.
I saw the mouse used with the cord going back *under* the arm. One woman actually looked at her hand on the mouse and her finger on the right button and said, "That's the left."
When we practiced saving and deleting, the classes were told they could delete anything in the Practice folder. One woman's computer wouldn't crashed and wouldn't boot after she got done deleting things.
You wouldn't believe the number of people who acted like double-clicking was the hardest thing they'd tried all year.
But the all time winner is:
I was showing a class how to clean out a mouse, because it had become obvious they had never done it. If I may say so, many women just don't seem to have been born with the "How does that thing work?" gene, and this group was an excellent example. They had no idea how to even take the ball out. So... one woman takes the ball, looks at the monitor, says to herself, "What happens now?" and *rubs the ball on the mouse pad!!* I had to turn away.
10-28-2000, 08:11 PM
Obviously I mean that woman's computer *did* crash after she deleted things.
10-28-2000, 08:18 PM
I um, took the control panel of my old computer (a 286) and put it in clipboard.
Therefore, I couldn't do jackshit with the settings.
(I don't even remember what I was trying to do!)
10-28-2000, 11:43 PM
I used to work for a service bureau owned by two guys who were totally computer-illiterate. Here are some things that one of the owners did:
When the first Mac was installed, he sat down, put the mouse on the floor, and tried to get it to work. After a short while he was on the phone with Apple, complaining that the "foot pedal" was hard to use.
When he finally got the mouse on the mouse pad, he had it with the cord sticking out toward him. The reason? He was afraid of mice (the little furry kind), and got freaked out if the mouse was facing him. Believe it or not, he actually learned to operate the mouse this way!
One Saturday, some of us came in to do major archiving of our entire job base. Since this was to take several hours, we set it up and went to lunch. Sure enough, the owner came in, saw everything running, and went around unplugging the entire system, wiping out the entire job base.
OOnce we got a new imagesetter that was twice as fast as the old one. The owner gave this some "thought," and promptly called the manufacturer, and asked him to slow down the imagesetter so he wouldn't lose money on it.
Needless to say, the company didn't stay in business long.
10-29-2000, 01:20 AM
When I was first learning programming (around 1970), for a while I thought the RJE card reader/printer combo unit was the computer.
10-29-2000, 08:28 AM
I was scared to save on a floppy disk back in eighth grade. We wrote horrible short stories...the instructor believed in the immersion method for typing. So I would save them to the network folder and then wonder where they were the next day (the folder got erased each night).
*sighing and returning to her duties as a minor webmistress*
10-29-2000, 09:00 AM
Well, I just got my first computer about 3 years ago, so I have no clue what some of your are talking about! But I do love hearing about computers in the "good old days".
One dumb thing I did recently: daring to install Compuserve 2000 on my iMac, which corrupted the System Folder. I was able to save important files before doing a fresh install of my System, thankfully. (Note to self - be VERY wary of any software that AOL designs! It's evil!)
But I guess the most humorous and stupid thing I did was when I got my first computer, ever. A Packard Bell Pentium 75, running Win3.1. I wanted to get e-mail, so I impulsively bought a used computer one day. I brought it home, hooked it up, and while it made sounds, all I saw was a black screen, (except for a faint "Packard Bell" logo right at the beginning of boot-up.) I kept on re-starting it, calling computer geek friends (some long distance) and to no avail. Nothing on the screen. So I returned it to the shop.
All that was wrong was that somehow the monitor settings had been turned down, so it was too dark. A quick adjustment of the monitor, and viola! There were all these pictures on my monitor! Fancy that.
10-29-2000, 09:57 AM
Some of you "oldies" may remember that, in the years before floppies, data was stored on paper tape (the data was encoded onto the tape as little holes). The tape was 3/4" wide, and VERY long - when it was rolled up, tight, the roll had a diameter of, maybe, 8". A rubber band was used to keep the roll together, but the inside (like the hole in a donut) was held in place by a small piece of tape, to keep it from unraveling from the center.
One day, I had the day off, and I brought my dog in so my co-workers could meet him. At some point my dog found the paper tapes, got hold of the largest one (a complete roll), managed to get the inner end out, and got the piece of tape stuck to his paw. He then proceeded to run around and around the entire office, with this mile-long twisted paper snake behind him.
It took us three hours to untwist the tape, splice it where it had torn, and roll it up again.
10-29-2000, 10:19 AM
We had an Apple IIGS, kind of halfway between the Apple II and a Mac, because it had a mouse and a windows-type interface. My mom, a teacher, was at the same time very proud that she was on the "cutting edge" of educational technology, and scared to death that we were going to break it.
I discovered that the mouse ball came out, and thought that this would be a brilliant practical joke to play on my little sister, but it my mom was the next person to use the computer--and I wasn't home at the time. She totally freaked out because the mouse wasn't working, and wasn't able to use a program that she needed for some project that had to be done the next day.
When I told her what I did, she was so releived that the computer wasn't broken that she didn't whup my ass like I probably deserved. ;)
And, UNIX-wise, let's just say that you only accidentally wipe out an entire directory containing a month's worth of work once before you alias 'rm' to 'rm -i'.
10-29-2000, 10:41 AM
"When the first Mac was installed, he sat down, put the mouse on the floor, and tried to get it to
work. After a short while he was on the phone with Apple, complaining that the "foot pedal" was
hard to use. "
They actually came out recently with a mouse that you would use with your foot. It doesn't seem to have been very successful though.
10-29-2000, 10:54 AM
>>But the all time winner is:
I was showing a class how to clean out a mouse, because it had become obvious they had never done it. If I may say so, many women just don't seem to have been born with the "How does that thing work?" gene, and this group was an excellent example. They had no idea how to even take the ball out. So... one woman takes the ball, looks at the monitor, says to herself, "What happens now?" and *rubs the ball on the mouse pad!!* I had to turn away.<<
You can clean that little ball? (turns mouse over, peers at bottom.) Huh. How 'bout that. I learn SOOO much coming here.
However I know that the ball thing has to be attached to the mouse thing to actually move things around on the screen thingie. :D
10-30-2000, 01:36 AM
Carina, the thing you're probably going to clean isn't the ball, it's the rollers that the ball is there to turn. They can get a real layer of mung built up, and scratching it off with a fingernail or some such can restore liveliness to a mouse you were on the verge of throwing away.
10-30-2000, 05:49 AM
Thanks Dave! As a matter of fact, the mouse is getting a little sluggish, so I will try that..
Can I be allowed a little rant, here? I know the OP was stupid things *you* did, so this is not directed at the OP or any of the respondents. I first got a computer 3 years ago, and literally did not know how to turn the thing on. (and I am not one of those mechanically challenged people, I'm quite handy at home & auto repair in fact.) I started visiting a tech support forum for info & answers. But I got put off because many of the old time computer geeky types were so insulting about newbies and our "dumb" questions-a constant source of hilarity, apparently- that I went back to figuring things out for myself. Just remember, nobody was born knowing what a "cookie" is or how to "cut and paste." I don't laugh at someone who cannot parallel park a tractor trailer the first time (I can), so please be patient with computer neophytes...it's quite intimidating.
End rant. And...i'm still learning new things! :)
10-30-2000, 10:44 AM
I blew up a power supply once by adding too many hard drives to an old Packard Bell. I had no idea.
I ruined a perfectly good modem (28.8) once and wouldn't let it go. I finally poured gravy on it to keep myself from pulling it out of the trash.
I put a keyboard in the dishwasher and ran it through the cycle. Note: never use the "Dry" option. Them boys get mighty hot inside. Keyboards are no more resilient than Tupperware® bowls.
10-30-2000, 12:04 PM
A couple of good ones:
In my Computer Maintenance night class a year or two ago, my partner and I somehow managed to plug the power into the motherboard backwards.
My favorite story though, has got to be my incredibly stupid programming error. I was using Visual Basic 5.0 to write a crude security program of sorts for my computer. What I did was manually edit the registry to automaticly call my program whenever an .exe file was run. The program would then prompt the user for a password, and if the correct password was given, would run the program.
Nothing fancy, but I thought it was cool. Of course, I tested the program before it was completely finished, as I usually do with programs, but this time I was an idiot: I had already edited the registry, and compiled my program, but I hadn't written the code that would actually run the program that my program was pre-empting. When given the correct password, it simply closed my program and that was that.
I couldn't run any .exe's, including REGEDIT.EXE. Well, I thought for a while, and then rebooted in MS-DOS mode and extracted the relevant part of the registry into a file that I could edit in EDIT. I then put that back into the registry.
It didn't work, although I'm still not sure exactly why.
After a few hours of panic, I find an elegant solution: I rename REGEDIT.EXE to REGEDIT.COM, run it, return the registry to normal, and proceed to kick myself for several minutes.
10-30-2000, 12:33 PM
The very first computer i ever had, I had to store some where while I moved. I left for a few days with a friend with a serious drug problem. I never saw it again.
I have since learned not to do that.
10-30-2000, 01:00 PM
Oh let's see here. Erased some redundant stuff on the C: disk - because I could. Everything else besides the temp folder was off limits. Downloaded a chat client - because I could. That 'didn't know how to use a mouse' stuff sounds mighty familiar though. :(
10-30-2000, 04:16 PM
We had just gotten our new, expensive 20" monitors at work. I was working late one night, alone, and I decided to have some fun with a big magnet from the bulletin board in the office. The magnet made these real neat warp-like distortions when I moved it over the screen. Little did I know that I was causing permanent discoloration.
Of course, I traded monitors with someone else's and pretended to not know a thing about it.
Please don't try this at home.
10-30-2000, 05:33 PM
I've used computers ever since second grade (back when we had to save files on cassette tapes), but I got my very first computer a little over two years ago. I had never used a modem or been on the Internet before this.
Anyway, I was really proud of myself for setting everything up correctly -- or so I thought. See, I never realized that when you have a modem and you live in an area that gets frequent lightning strikes you need to have a surge protector with a built-in phone jack.
The storm came. The lightning struck. The modem went kerblooey. I could actually smell the smoke when my brother took it out of the case.
So my computer was only six days old and I had to go spend money on a new modem.
And just to prove that you don't necessarily get smarter with time, I learned another important lesson last week: never, ever delete the printer driver until you're absolutely sure you have a backup on a disk or CD. It took me days to hunt down a working replacement on the Internet. And my printer's still not working! :mad:
Originally posted by hesredbird
Note: never use the "Dry" option.
Rumor has it that the female posters of this board (actually the female humans of this world) also know enough to ixnay the "DRY" option when it comes to sex, dating, marriage, etc. :(
Re the OP: When I used to play Starflight, I was quite adept at messing up saving games: the game required two disks to save all the relevant information, and you wouldn't believe the number of times I'd screw this up (saving over the wrongs diskettes, etc).
Actually, if you knew me, you probably WOULD believe the number of times I could mess this up.
10-30-2000, 11:40 PM
When I first was using a Windows machine I couldn't shake the DOS habit of shutting down by flipping the power switch.
People would be sooo pissed with me bacause it would add 2 minutes to the next boot-up.
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