Looks like an urban legend, if I hadn't seen it myself

An astonishing tale of tehno-ignorance.

Last week we sent out a team of 5 people (3 nurses and two administrative people) to do a public health screening at local store. They were to perform bone density scans, using a portable instrument (a GE Lunar “Pixie”) run by a laptop computer.

Two hour later, I got a call from one of them. The computer was broken, they couldn’t make it work, they had tried and tried, and then they had packed up and headed back to the office.

“What happened”, I asked. She replied,“Well, it started out ok. But then the computer locked up. Nothing would run. We tried Control Alt Delete, and it wouldn’t reboot. We tried the power switch, and it didn’t work. We tried unplugging it, and the screen stayed lit”.

So I said, “Did you take the battery out of the laptop”?, and listened to the dead silence on the other end. Of course, it was too late, they had already left. Had they called me at first, I would have had them back up in two minutes. Because when the gear came back, we rebooted, and everything worked just fine.

These were five people. all with college degrees, all born and raised in America. None of them could make the leap from “lit screen” to “power supply”. And I have no idea what other help they may have sought out in the meantime, before I heard from them.

Is it REALLY THIS bad other places? This is MADISON, WISCONSIN, the “most wired city in America”.

When I started this job, I was delighted to be the “techno whiz” in the department. I posted a thread about it, lost in the Crash.

Now I’m getting just a little scared. I love my job, I like these people, but I have difficulty taking even a day off. Because if ANYTHING fails to operate EXACTLY as it’s supposed to in their environment, they are completely helpless. And we have one person who hand calculates her monthly reports on paper, and draws the charts on graph paper. One advantage is that her graph paper doesn’t crash, but Jeez!

… It’s like the commercial for some terxh service that features people calling the IT person saying things like “I’m off to crash the server! Wish me luck!” and “I promised the costumer that we’d have compatibility! What does that mean?”

terxh = tech :rolleyes:

There is a joke commercial about a people who freak out when the stapler is ‘down’.
This is documentary footage from my office.

yojimboguy, aren’t you supposed to be their tech support guy for this kind of thing? Why didn’t they call you right away? Maybe I’m misunderstanding your job.

I wasn’t hired to be THEIR tech support guy. I was hired to be an AV guy, and to control the conference room scheduling within our center. These nurses and I report to the same boss, but in theory we don’t interact on business unless they need to schedule a meeting room. Which they often do, for planning or for public education courses.

That’s why they didn’t call me, because I had nothing to do with their external event. And as I said, I don’t know WHO they talked to in the intervening time. I suppose I could investigate, but that’s kind of treading onto my boss’s turf.

But around the office, I’m the default fixit guy. And 20-30 times a week, I interupt my work to go fix theirs. Again, not something I was hired for, and mostly I rather like it, and my boss certainly has no objections.

But I have some rather ambitious plans for MY little area of turf that I have trouble finding time to work on. I’m designing a room reservation system that can be filled out and processed online – the current system requires a paper form through the mail, and all sorts of duplicate data entry in multiple systems. My current department is the result of a merging of 2 smaller departments, and they still run 2 completely separate (though structually identical) databases for their operations. EVERYONE undertands they could simply enter all new daya into EITHER system, and stop using the other, but they’re not “comfortable” about it. And the two databases CAN’T talk to each other, which means every month they have to to TWO of every report, and add up the results by hand. Which is one reason everybody is so BUSY.

This database thing is something I tried to change in my first month on the job, and I failed. I will have to revisit it again, and I hope that I have gained enough stature among them to push through a change.

And I’m sure next time, from the mall, they will call me.

I had a temp job once at a large charitable organization in Des Moines, which I shall not name. One day a woman in the office completely flipped because her computer was running “some kind of mini-version of MS Word.” She was terrified that her computer was “broken.” I took a look at it.

She didn’t have the Word window maximized. She had never seen this happen before. Seriously. One click and she was happy.

I work for a Web site, and the calls we get from people looking for help are sometimes astonishing. One guy didn’t understand that his screen could scroll; when I walked him through it (“click and hold on that bar over at the right of your screen… no, the RIGHT…”) and the screen contents moved upward, he hollered in fear.

“hollered in fear”. hehehe

jackelope, pretty damn funny!:smiley:

Was this for Halloween? :stuck_out_tongue:

Could it just have been that they just didn’t think of something so obvious?
Sometimes, it’s so ‘d’uh’, you don’t even think of it-if that makes sense?

My company develops medical software, and we do transcription for about 400 doctors in various offices in Texas, Cali, Arkansas, Florida, New York, Ohio and a couple of other places. I promise you, it IS that bad everywhere.

We use a web based software, and for people on dial-ups an FTP program. A lady called me the other day complaining that she didn’t have enough memory on her computer and wanted to delte some files. After speaking to her for a moment I realized she wanted to delete files from our server. I tried explaining this to her, I tried to tell her that other peoples wav files were there also. I told her I couldn’t delete the files, she told me the doctor would be very upset when he got wind of this. I’m not sure why she couldn’t grasp the concept of seeing files that were located on another computer, I made her a new folder and set it as her default path. Now she has no more “memory” problems.

I could give you hundreds but after typing that I noticed it wasn’t that interesting. :stuck_out_tongue:

hijack/ Clever Hans, perhaps you could help me with this. My boss has asked me to look for software-based Health Risk Assessments. There are a number of web-based dial-in things I’ve found, but she wants something that will ork stand-alone. Apparently they tried a web-based system before my time, and had “trouble” (I suspect inadequate training, but who knows?). Presumably the system would need to include a databse of “norms” for comparative purposes, and I wonder about the useful lifespan of such norms. How soon are they obsolete? Presumably, a dial-in service is continually updating it’s info.

Sorry, for all I know, you might be in accounts payable with no idea of the answers to my questions, but what the hell?

Yojimbo, I would be glad to answer the question but don’t quite follow. How will this be used, in transcripts and reports? Such as a normal HEENT normal throat and all that good stuff?

If that is what you are talking about I think I could help you, if it something else please go into more detail.

You can e-mail me at jcollins@worldtechusa.com or collinsj_wt@hotmail.com these are spam free @ the moment so if massive amounts of “Hi, do you remember me, my name is Linda I’m a blonde 18 year old” messages start popping up I’m blamin you.

I had a problem with my computer yesterday. I came back from lunch and tried to “cntl+alt+del” to enter my password. No luck. I tried moving the mouse around to see if my computer was “locked up”. The cursor didn’t move. I turned off the power to reboot. Up came the computer, but it wouldn’t accept mouse or keyboard commands. I called tech support and was to ld to power down, wait a bit, then power up. As I was about to power up, the tech support guy asked, “Is your keyboard plugged in?” Huh? Why wouldn’t it be? What a strange thing to ask!

I turned the machine around, and someone had disconnected my keyboard and mouse while I was at lunch. I don’t know who or why. In hindsight I can say, “D’oh! I should check the connections!” But since there was no reason to think someone may have come around and disconnected me, I didn’t think of it.

(Our office is moving next Friday, and I did notice a couple of strangers – presumably tech support – going into offices, probably checking things out for the move.)

Totally off topic but Johnny L.A.'s post reminded me of it.

A fun computer prank to do is use the print screen to make a picture of their desktop set it as the wallpaper and hide all the icons. Keep em their for hours if they are the do it yourself type.

I don’t have a laptop, so I have no idea: do most regular laptop users know that sometimes rebooting requires removing the battery? Is this a feature, or a bug? Reminds me of the joke about how if cars were designed like computers, when the car won’t start you have to take out the engine, put it back in, and try again.

My all-time favorite dumb-customer tech story is the time a lady was told to click on the “Start” button, and she wailed “Whaaa? The STAR button???”

Uhm… I don’t get it. Your laptops require you to remove the friggin battery to get them to reboot? Am I missing something?

I work for a college, and get this kind of thing all the time. (Most of the staff are fine, but many of the faculty are close to helpless.)

I think the biggest problem is that most so-called “computer training” offered to employees is only concerned with particular applications like MS Word or yojimboguy’s database. Users rarely get anything aimed at general use of the computer or the layout of the network. I was glad to hear a few months ago that our PD department finally decided to offer a couple of useful sessions, one on MS Windows and the other on file management. I’ve even talked to a few people who intend to take one or the other!

I like to get the resistive users with a metaphor. “I don’t want to know anything about computers!” they say. “I just want to type a letter!”

I tell them “That’s just like saying ‘I don’t want to know anything about cars! I just want to drive to the store!’” “Fine,” I say. “But you still need to steer and work the pedals, and know what that big red light at the intersection is for. I don’t expect you to change your own oil, but you have to know that the oil needs changing.” Some of them even get it.

[slight hijack] What email system do you use? This sort of thing can be set up in GroupWise in about a half hour, and it works great. I’m not sure if other email systems have the feature set to make this work, but I’d guess that Lotus Notes might. Basically, we give an email account to each conference room, then grant proxy access to the calendar for the room to anyone who should be allowed to schedule appointments. You can add bells and whistles like automated responses, etc. but the basic setup is a piece of cake.
[/slight hijack]

I am also confused as to why they needed to replace battery when rebooting.