Monthly Archives: April 2007

If you don’t know how, don’t try to improvise…

My first phone call this morning was from a woman who obviously had no idea whatsoever about computers. I doubt she is even able to tell the front from the back on a standard desktop tower. Now, I’d like to make it very clear that I have absolutely nothing against that. Ignorance is not a crime, nor is it morally wrong in any way. She knows nothing about computers, and that’s fine. Without people like her I wouldn’t have a job. So this far into the story, we are all good and fine and dandy.

However, as the story goes on, it is revealed that she purchased my company’s product, a memory upgrade (two modules, in fact), and attempted to install them, without quite realizing the full scope of her ignorance.

She installed them backwards.

I have yet to figure out how on Earth anyone can manage to install memory backwards, given that it is intentionally designed to prevent that, but somehow, this woman managed. So she installed her memory upgrade, and she plugged her system back in, and she pressed the power button, and she smelled something burning.

The simple experiment of installing the computer’s original memory and attempting to boot confirmed my suspicions: Her motherboard was fried, toast, dead, and finito. That’s what happens when you install memory backwards, it shortens out the slot it is installed in and kills the motherboard while it’s at it. That’s why it is designed so it can only be installed facing the right way, as I mentioned earlier.

I had to spend the rest of the phone call explaining to my customer that it was her own fault that she had killed her computer, and that none of this was covered under the warranty of either motherboard or memory.

We took her memory back for a full refund anyway, because we are a nice company, but the moral of this story still stands: If you know absolutely nothing about how the hardware in your computer works, don’t try to improvise or play around with it. Seriously, don’t. Because while we are refunding what she paid for the memory, we sure aren’t paying for the new motherboard.


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Link of the day:

The Sith Lords Restoration Project is all about finishing what could have been one of the greatest games ever produced for the PC, if Obsidian had not been too spineless to demand more time to work on it. In this particular case “work on it” means “finish it”… Yes, I expect anyone who has played through the entire game to know what I mean.

Team Gizka has been working tirelessly at their project for over two years now, and I cannot wait to see the finished product. If you own the game, go check this out. You can thank me later.

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Another day without TV

A few days ago, I mentioned in passing how sad it made me that the beautiful big TV stopped working. I also mentioned that Samsung’s response was a nice change from Microsoft’s excuse for customer service, and that the TV most likely was going to be repaired by this weekend.

If Samsung had not sent out a defective replacement part, it might have been. Actually, if they had sent out one defective replacement part, it might have been. But both the parts that have been sent to the Local Authorized Service Center have had the same kind of defect: A crucially important lens is too scratched to function properly. The repair person that came to install the part is not at all happy about this kind of behavior from Samsung, and has made a third attempt to order a functioning part from them. It will arrive Monday, we are told, and we hope it will be scratch-free. For now, we have to settle for watching NBA playoff previews and highlights online, and visit our friends to be able to watch the actual games.

I want to make it very clear that the repair person that has been coming to our house twice now has been very pleasant and professional, and I would be happy to recommend the company to anyone who needs a TV repaired. Samsung, on the other hand, I now cannot get far enough away from. I am only hoping that at the third attempt they will finally manage to send out a working part.

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Today’s very short post:

The comments come in pop-up windows now. Karin suggested it in a comment below, and it looks better that way. So pop-ups it is.


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Another recent toy…

Keen Galiana of West Harbor.
I wish I had more free time.


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LA Lakers 95, Phoenix Suns 89

The high point of my day.

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My Five

In a futile effort to be rebellious and go against the time-honored tradition of Customer Service Workers Complaining About Their Customers, I am putting together a short list of things that customers can do to make the phone call to customer service or tech support more enjoyable for both parties. I feel this is a more constructive approach, and above all I hope that it will pay off better than the complaining did.

1. Don’t be nasty. Seriously. I have power to make your life a lot easier and solve your problem. All you have to do to convince me to go that extra mile for you is make me like you and feel sorry for you. Being nasty only makes me want to be nasty back.

2. Don’t be in the bathroom. Listening to you do “No. 2” (also known as “take a dump”), while I am trying to figure out what that second charge on your credit card is coming from, is not pleasant. It should be noted that this suggestion is aimed exclusively at male customers.

3. Don’t be stupid. I have nothing against ignorance, or ignorant customers. It can be cured, and it does not interfere with learning in any way. Not to mention, the ones who don’t know anything about computer hardware are more than willing to take my advice or follow my instructions. With the stupid ones, I am lucky if they understand the instructions.

4. Listen to me. I need to give you this information, because it’s important. If you install memory backwards it will shorten out and fry your motherboard. I don’t want that to happen to it, mainly because when it does you will call back and scream that it was our fault, and that we owe you a motherboard. I’d hate to be the one getting that call.

5. Have your stuff ready. If you call to ask about an order, have the order receipt, or the confirmation email handy to reference. If you want to return or exchange a part, have it there, for reference. If you want to ask about what will work best in your computer, be at your computer, for reference.

Common sense and courtesy, all of it. It’s easy, really. Give it a try!

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