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(BBC)   The Witch goes on display. Welcome to the days when computers were real computers, weighed 2 tons, made a clattering noise and had flashing lights   (bbc.co.uk) divider line 34
    More: Cool, witches, Bletchley Park, calculations, Buckinghamshire  
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2276 clicks; posted to Geek » on 20 Nov 2012 at 10:37 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-20 09:57:47 AM
Pfft.

i.imgur.com

/so, does lukket know that CollegeHumor watermarked his 'shop?
 
2012-11-20 10:41:00 AM
But does it know where the last Golden Ticket is?
 
2012-11-20 10:42:36 AM
Is it made out of wood?
 
2012-11-20 10:54:32 AM
popdose.com
 
2012-11-20 10:56:46 AM
What a world!
 
2012-11-20 10:58:51 AM
news.bbcimg.co.uk
"It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times?"
 
2012-11-20 11:00:07 AM
1.bp.blogspot.com

We've all got our switches, lights, and knobs to deal with, Striker. I mean, down here there are literally hundreds and thousands of blinking, beeping, and flashing lights, blinking, beeping and flashing - they're flashing and they're beeping. I can't stand it anymore! They're blinking and beeping and flashing! Why doesn't somebody pull the plug?
 
2012-11-20 11:04:31 AM
a real computer consumes so much power you never need to turn on the heat in that room.

hell a real computer has a hole for you to shove the wood into and another one in the back for the black smoke technological POWER to come out of!

also a real computer needs all its cables ziptied down or it may wind up sounding like a cessna with some loose parts.

like my wife's computer when she fired it up for the first time. 120mm fans move a startling amount of air.
 
2012-11-20 11:08:33 AM
My first computer was a Philco 2000:

foodman123.com

No kidding.

A bit of advice learned the hard way - do NOT power up a drum unless it is firmly bolted to the floor.

/Old Fart
 
2012-11-20 11:12:24 AM

dahmers love zombie: Pfft.

[i.imgur.com image 600x450]

/so, does lukket know that CollegeHumor watermarked his 'shop?


Wouldn't that be copyfraud?
 
2012-11-20 11:24:17 AM
From the headline: "...made a clattering noise and had flashing lights"

My computers at home and at work do that.

Likewise my laptop and smartphone.

Defrag sounds like a Model T shaking itself apart.
 
2012-11-20 11:38:24 AM

dofus: My first computer was a Philco 2000:

[foodman123.com image 610x712]

No kidding.

A bit of advice learned the hard way - do NOT power up a drum unless it is firmly bolted to the floor.

/Old Fart


What you never purposfully wrote an application to make the drums spin up real quick and then suddenly stop so as to make the unit shuffle and move... and then had races?

Also <CSB>
I once read about an admin that did not bolt down the drums and after a particulalrly intensive program ran one of the machines had managed to move and block the door to the computer room. They had to cut a hole in the wall to get back in a move it back. 
</CSB>
 
2012-11-20 11:56:41 AM

Melasoul: dofus: My first computer was a Philco 2000:

[foodman123.com image 610x712]

No kidding.

A bit of advice learned the hard way - do NOT power up a drum unless it is firmly bolted to the floor.

/Old Fart

What you never purposfully wrote an application to make the drums spin up real quick and then suddenly stop so as to make the unit shuffle and move... and then had races?

Also <CSB>
I once read about an admin that did not bolt down the drums and after a particulalrly intensive program ran one of the machines had managed to move and block the door to the computer room. They had to cut a hole in the wall to get back in a move it back. 
</CSB>


As I recall - its been forty something years now - the drum units were about 5' tall, 3' on a side and maybe 300-400 pounds. Powered by 440 three phase. When I say 'do not' I mean exactly that. The one time we tried it without thinking, the whole unit tried to spin around the room. There were about five of us hanging on to it screaming "Turn it off!"
 
2012-11-20 12:14:04 PM
dofus et. al.

Thanks for sharing those stories. I can only imagine what it must have been like - kinda like an unbalanced overfilled washing machine. I bet you're happy that computers are at the size they're at now.

I love the fact that we're using home computers (and smaller devices) that are faster per watt than anything made before 2005.
 
2012-11-20 12:21:00 PM
Ahhh, those were the days. When men were real men, women were real women, and small, furry creatures
from Alpha Centauri were real small, furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. Spirits were brave, men boldly split infinitives that no man had split before. Thus was the Empire forged.
 
2012-11-20 12:33:19 PM
I repaired and upgraded a lot of these back "in the day"
blog.wisefaq.com
 
2012-11-20 12:33:53 PM

dofus: Melasoul: dofus: My first computer was a Philco 2000:

[foodman123.com image 610x712]

No kidding.

A bit of advice learned the hard way - do NOT power up a drum unless it is firmly bolted to the floor.

/Old Fart

What you never purposfully wrote an application to make the drums spin up real quick and then suddenly stop so as to make the unit shuffle and move... and then had races?

Also <CSB>
I once read about an admin that did not bolt down the drums and after a particulalrly intensive program ran one of the machines had managed to move and block the door to the computer room. They had to cut a hole in the wall to get back in a move it back. 
</CSB>

As I recall - its been forty something years now - the drum units were about 5' tall, 3' on a side and maybe 300-400 pounds. Powered by 440 three phase. When I say 'do not' I mean exactly that. The one time we tried it without thinking, the whole unit tried to spin around the room. There were about five of us hanging on to it screaming "Turn it off!"


melasoul's probably thinking about some of the later, smaller units, or the drive towers that stood a couple feet tall. those were cool because you could write scripts to vary the drive speed and read head controls to where the unit played a tune.

/not an old fart, but we had one of those ancient effers on the ship i was stationed on. still worked, even.
//when we got direction to destroy it for disposal during a dockside, we cobbled up one of the aforementioned scripts and undid the nuts holding it to the deck and let harmonic wobble from the drive heads work it over.
///it lasted up till the end of the drum solo in 'inna gadda da vida.'
 
2012-11-20 12:36:49 PM

dofus: Melasoul: dofus: My first computer was a Philco 2000:

[foodman123.com image 610x712]

No kidding.

A bit of advice learned the hard way - do NOT power up a drum unless it is firmly bolted to the floor.

/Old Fart

What you never purposfully wrote an application to make the drums spin up real quick and then suddenly stop so as to make the unit shuffle and move... and then had races?

Also <CSB>
I once read about an admin that did not bolt down the drums and after a particulalrly intensive program ran one of the machines had managed to move and block the door to the computer room. They had to cut a hole in the wall to get back in a move it back. 
</CSB>

As I recall - its been forty something years now - the drum units were about 5' tall, 3' on a side and maybe 300-400 pounds. Powered by 440 three phase. When I say 'do not' I mean exactly that. The one time we tried it without thinking, the whole unit tried to spin around the room. There were about five of us hanging on to it screaming "Turn it off!"


I got into the game about the time that hard drive drums were about 2 feet tall and weighed about 75-150 pounds... Thrashing races were fun then. Also remember the "Portable Machine Analyzers", that took three people to move them? We always called them Portable my ass... ;)

Good times..
 
2012-11-20 01:03:18 PM

Foundling: From the headline: "...made a clattering noise and had flashing lights"

My computers at home and at work do that.

Likewise my laptop and smartphone.

Defrag sounds like a Model T shaking itself apart.


Seagate drives?
 
2012-11-20 01:38:39 PM

buttery_shame_cave: dofus: Melasoul: dofus: My first computer was a Philco 2000:

[foodman123.com image 610x712]

No kidding.

A bit of advice learned the hard way - do NOT power up a drum unless it is firmly bolted to the floor.

/Old Fart

What you never purposfully wrote an application to make the drums spin up real quick and then suddenly stop so as to make the unit shuffle and move... and then had races?

Also <CSB>
I once read about an admin that did not bolt down the drums and after a particulalrly intensive program ran one of the machines had managed to move and block the door to the computer room. They had to cut a hole in the wall to get back in a move it back. 
</CSB>

As I recall - its been forty something years now - the drum units were about 5' tall, 3' on a side and maybe 300-400 pounds. Powered by 440 three phase. When I say 'do not' I mean exactly that. The one time we tried it without thinking, the whole unit tried to spin around the room. There were about five of us hanging on to it screaming "Turn it off!"

melasoul's probably thinking about some of the later, smaller units, or the drive towers that stood a couple feet tall. those were cool because you could write scripts to vary the drive speed and read head controls to where the unit played a tune.

/not an old fart, but we had one of those ancient effers on the ship i was stationed on. still worked, even.
//when we got direction to destroy it for disposal during a dockside, we cobbled up one of the aforementioned scripts and undid the nuts holding it to the deck and let harmonic wobble from the drive heads work it over.
///it lasted up till the end of the drum solo in 'inna gadda da vida.'


Indeed, I was talking about the smaller units. I maybe should also note that I'm too much on the young side to have actually worked with any of these units, but I have always enjoyed reading about this kind of stuff.

Speaking of which, thanks everyone for sharings these stories. I find it difficult to find these kinds of tales anymore and the more modern trials of admins and hardware tend to usually be the same 4 stories about wrong cables, cupholders, and "can you believe that they thought that would work" stories. -_-

/We need more "Magic / More Magic switch" stories today.
 
2012-11-20 02:32:21 PM

Melasoul: buttery_shame_cave: dofus: Melasoul: dofus: My first computer was a Philco 2000:

[foodman123.com image 610x712]

No kidding.

A bit of advice learned the hard way - do NOT power up a drum unless it is firmly bolted to the floor.

/Old Fart

What you never purposfully wrote an application to make the drums spin up real quick and then suddenly stop so as to make the unit shuffle and move... and then had races?

Also <CSB>
I once read about an admin that did not bolt down the drums and after a particulalrly intensive program ran one of the machines had managed to move and block the door to the computer room. They had to cut a hole in the wall to get back in a move it back. 
</CSB>

As I recall - its been forty something years now - the drum units were about 5' tall, 3' on a side and maybe 300-400 pounds. Powered by 440 three phase. When I say 'do not' I mean exactly that. The one time we tried it without thinking, the whole unit tried to spin around the room. There were about five of us hanging on to it screaming "Turn it off!"

melasoul's probably thinking about some of the later, smaller units, or the drive towers that stood a couple feet tall. those were cool because you could write scripts to vary the drive speed and read head controls to where the unit played a tune.

/not an old fart, but we had one of those ancient effers on the ship i was stationed on. still worked, even.
//when we got direction to destroy it for disposal during a dockside, we cobbled up one of the aforementioned scripts and undid the nuts holding it to the deck and let harmonic wobble from the drive heads work it over.
///it lasted up till the end of the drum solo in 'inna gadda da vida.'

Indeed, I was talking about the smaller units. I maybe should also note that I'm too much on the young side to have actually worked with any of these units, but I have always enjoyed reading about this kind of stuff.

Speaking of which, thanks everyone for sharings these stories. I find it diffi ...


I have a different story...
Working Compaq tech support... 900yr old lady calls in, and tells us she is stepping on the peddle as hard as she can and it "won't go"... I didn't get the call myself, but one of the level 1 techs asked me, and I told them this is her peddle:
h20000.www2.hp.com
 
2012-11-20 03:08:54 PM

Melasoul: Speaking of which, thanks everyone for sharings these stories. I find it difficult to find these kinds of tales anymore and the more modern trials of admins and hardware tend to usually be the same 4 stories about wrong cables, cupholders, and "can you believe that they thought that would work" stories. -_-

/We need more "Magic / More Magic switch" stories today.


OK.

I worked as a tech in a computer maintenance lab. We were responsible for three of the Philco 2000s and a single 1000. (Could have been 2 and 2. It was a while back :) Programming was done with Hollerith cards (punch cards) in, I think FORTRAN IV or 66. I didn't start using FORTRAN until just after 77 came out.

The card readers were 2' wide, maybe 4' high and something like 8' long with a long tray on each end for the deck of cards. The cards were pushed through an optical scanner containing 80 tiny incandescent light bulbs by a rubber foot on a little arm attached to a rotating shaft. The foot was called a picker cleat. When functioning properly, the cards went down into the machine and out into another tray. Once the belt driving the shaft was installed incorrectly and the picker cleat sent the cards - one by one - up to the ceiling and all over the room. The guy swore it was a mistake.

I have no idea how many of those farking lightbulbs I changed.

The computers also had a display unit called the Polish Polaroid. It was about 10' on a side and I'm sure weighed something measured in tons. The Polish Polaroid had 3 vector display CRTs, each with a colored filter. Two inch (I think) B & W film went from a giant supply real through an exposure stage and then into a series of development baths. It finally wound up in front of three projection lamps. All of this was behind a huge translucent screen.

All of the computer boards were constructed using discrete transistors. I could usually find the busted one using a Simpson 260 volt/ohm meter. Try that with anything today.

The tape drives used vacuum tubes. 5U4s, 12AT7s and something like a 6L6 on steroids if I recall. Getting zapped was not even worth mentioning after the first couple dozen times.

If this sounds like stuff the movie War Games, well... that movie wasn't entirely created out of thin air.
 
2012-11-20 03:11:43 PM

HindiDiscoMonster: Melasoul: buttery_shame_cave: dofus: Melasoul: dofus: My first computer was a Philco 2000:

[foodman123.com image 610x712]

No kidding.

A bit of advice learned the hard way - do NOT power up a drum unless it is firmly bolted to the floor.

/Old Fart

What you never purposfully wrote an application to make the drums spin up real quick and then suddenly stop so as to make the unit shuffle and move... and then had races?

Also <CSB>
I once read about an admin that did not bolt down the drums and after a particulalrly intensive program ran one of the machines had managed to move and block the door to the computer room. They had to cut a hole in the wall to get back in a move it back. 
</CSB>

As I recall - its been forty something years now - the drum units were about 5' tall, 3' on a side and maybe 300-400 pounds. Powered by 440 three phase. When I say 'do not' I mean exactly that. The one time we tried it without thinking, the whole unit tried to spin around the room. There were about five of us hanging on to it screaming "Turn it off!"

melasoul's probably thinking about some of the later, smaller units, or the drive towers that stood a couple feet tall. those were cool because you could write scripts to vary the drive speed and read head controls to where the unit played a tune.

/not an old fart, but we had one of those ancient effers on the ship i was stationed on. still worked, even.
//when we got direction to destroy it for disposal during a dockside, we cobbled up one of the aforementioned scripts and undid the nuts holding it to the deck and let harmonic wobble from the drive heads work it over.
///it lasted up till the end of the drum solo in 'inna gadda da vida.'

Indeed, I was talking about the smaller units. I maybe should also note that I'm too much on the young side to have actually worked with any of these units, but I have always enjoyed reading about this kind of stuff.

Speaking of which, thanks everyone for sharings these stories. I fin ...


oh now THAT is beauty. that's right up there with being told 'my computer is acting funny' and walking up to it and yelling 'straighten up and fly right, you!' and walking away.

ship i was stationed on still had the remnants of the coaxial networking. naturally a ring topography network. it was the kind of stuff i'd read about but been assured i'd never see.

that and the old *nix terminals... man, good times.
 
2012-11-20 03:18:11 PM

buttery_shame_cave: the remnants of the coaxial networking. naturally a ring topography network


If you had VAXes on board, it'd be DECnet. Still have some of that stuff around here somewhere.
 
2012-11-20 03:20:25 PM

HindiDiscoMonster: Melasoul: buttery_shame_cave: dofus: Melasoul: dofus: My first computer was a Philco 2000:

[foodman123.com image 610x712]

No kidding.

A bit of advice learned the hard way - do NOT power up a drum unless it is firmly bolted to the floor.

/Old Fart

What you never purposfully wrote an application to make the drums spin up real quick and then suddenly stop so as to make the unit shuffle and move... and then had races?

Also <CSB>
I once read about an admin that did not bolt down the drums and after a particulalrly intensive program ran one of the machines had managed to move and block the door to the computer room. They had to cut a hole in the wall to get back in a move it back. 
</CSB>

As I recall - its been forty something years now - the drum units were about 5' tall, 3' on a side and maybe 300-400 pounds. Powered by 440 three phase. When I say 'do not' I mean exactly that. The one time we tried it without thinking, the whole unit tried to spin around the room. There were about five of us hanging on to it screaming "Turn it off!"

melasoul's probably thinking about some of the later, smaller units, or the drive towers that stood a couple feet tall. those were cool because you could write scripts to vary the drive speed and read head controls to where the unit played a tune.

/not an old fart, but we had one of those ancient effers on the ship i was stationed on. still worked, even.
//when we got direction to destroy it for disposal during a dockside, we cobbled up one of the aforementioned scripts and undid the nuts holding it to the deck and let harmonic wobble from the drive heads work it over.
///it lasted up till the end of the drum solo in 'inna gadda da vida.'

Indeed, I was talking about the smaller units. I maybe should also note that I'm too much on the young side to have actually worked with any of these units, but I have always enjoyed reading about this kind of stuff.

Speaking of which, thanks everyone for sharings these stories. I fin ...


I have a similar story. I was working Tech Support at a local college when one of the admin staff calls in with some software issue. Well, I was walking her through it over the phone and I kept hearing this odd scraping and banging noise in the background. We're not getting anywhere so I decide to go to her office.

She had the mouse upside down and was using it like a track ball: rolling the ball with her finger and slaming the mouse on the table to click the buttons.
 
2012-11-20 03:22:19 PM

dofus: buttery_shame_cave: the remnants of the coaxial networking. naturally a ring topography network

If you had VAXes on board, it'd be DECnet. Still have some of that stuff around here somewhere.


no VAX machines, but old i believe motorola processor equipped terminals or something equivalent. pre *86 or maybe even really early 286-era CPU on 'em. monochrome monitors, the whole 9 yards. we finally ripped all the legacy shiat out and replaced it with newfangled P2's back in oh god, summer of 2000, 2001? stuff was 15 years out of date. kept around because it still worked.

actually now that i think about it there may have been a vax on board at one point or another, but it was gone before i got there.
 
2012-11-20 03:31:19 PM

dofus: Melasoul: Speaking of which, thanks everyone for sharings these stories. I find it difficult to find these kinds of tales anymore and the more modern trials of admins and hardware tend to usually be the same 4 stories about wrong cables, cupholders, and "can you believe that they thought that would work" stories. -_-

/We need more "Magic / More Magic switch" stories today.

OK.

I worked as a tech in a computer maintenance lab. We were responsible for three of the Philco 2000s and a single 1000. (Could have been 2 and 2. It was a while back :) Programming was done with Hollerith cards (punch cards) in, I think FORTRAN IV or 66. I didn't start using FORTRAN until just after 77 came out.

The card readers were 2' wide, maybe 4' high and something like 8' long with a long tray on each end for the deck of cards. The cards were pushed through an optical scanner containing 80 tiny incandescent light bulbs by a rubber foot on a little arm attached to a rotating shaft. The foot was called a picker cleat. When functioning properly, the cards went down into the machine and out into another tray. Once the belt driving the shaft was installed incorrectly and the picker cleat sent the cards - one by one - up to the ceiling and all over the room. The guy swore it was a mistake.

I have no idea how many of those farking lightbulbs I changed.

The computers also had a display unit called the Polish Polaroid. It was about 10' on a side and I'm sure weighed something measured in tons. The Polish Polaroid had 3 vector display CRTs, each with a colored filter. Two inch (I think) B & W film went from a giant supply real through an exposure stage and then into a series of development baths. It finally wound up in front of three projection lamps. All of this was behind a huge translucent screen.

All of the computer boards were constructed using discrete transistors. I could usually find the busted one using a Simpson 260 volt/ohm meter. Try that with anything today.

The tape drives us ...


Huh, I had not heard of the film displays like that before. Looks like I have something to look into now.

And yeah, I've replaced some capacitors in a couple of monitors before but it is getting harder and harder to manually service stuff now.

On a side note, the oldest (and probably most interesting thing) that I have personally worked with was a bunch of these:
upload.wikimedia.org

Had to rig a dozen or so new ones up in an old lab in a school district. We eventually pulled them out but left the cabling in the dropped ceiling (district didn't want us messing with it for now). Went back to take it out later and it was all gone. We think someone stole it to sell the copper.

/ On yet another side note, if you like the more modern IT stories, go here: Rinkworks: Computer Stupidities
 
2012-11-20 03:45:17 PM

Melasoul: Huh, I had not heard of the film displays like that before. Looks like I have something to look into now.


I'm not at all surprised. As far as I know, there were only 2 or 3 of them ever built. Today I think of them as 'interesting'. Back in the day, most of us thought 'someone is out of his farking mind'.
 
2012-11-20 03:47:44 PM

dofus: Melasoul: Huh, I had not heard of the film displays like that before. Looks like I have something to look into now.

I'm not at all surprised. As far as I know, there were only 2 or 3 of them ever built. Today I think of them as 'interesting'. Back in the day, most of us thought 'someone is out of his farking mind'.


Oh yeah, seems like a horrible way to things. Still, it is fascinating some of the stuff that was tried back then.
 
2012-11-20 05:48:10 PM
Mine still has flashing lights and sometimes the video card fan rattles, steel case too, not two tons, but pretty heavy...
 
2012-11-20 06:16:11 PM

Cyno01: Mine still has flashing lights and sometimes the video card fan rattles, steel case too, not two tons, but pretty heavy...


my dad still has a bunch of stuff in storage that he saved from the CIC of the last frigate he was posted to when they decomm'd her. whole racks, displays, lots of switches/knobs/bulbs and all kinds of retro computing stuff. oscilloscope tubes/displays, the works.

last time i talked to him he casually mentioned dragging some of that stuff out and using it as a grossly over-sized casing for the guts of the new computer they bought, and redo the entire spare room/book room into a 1950-s style computer lab to go with it.

i joked that he needs to get a second computer like a Pi or a beagle to control all the displays and lights, maybe spin a reel to reel machine now and again, stuff like that. he got a kick out of the idea.
 
2012-11-20 07:34:30 PM

HindiDiscoMonster: Working Compaq tech support... 900yr old lady calls in, and tells us she is stepping on the peddle as hard as she can and it "won't go"... I didn't get the call myself, but one of the level 1 techs asked me, and I told them this is her peddle:


Don't tell me.... let me guess....

You also got the call about the "coffee cup holder"

and the call where you told the customer that they were "too stupid to own a computer"

or the call where you told the customer that the problem was a "PEBKAC"
 
2012-11-20 07:55:57 PM

buttery_shame_cave: Cyno01: Mine still has flashing lights and sometimes the video card fan rattles, steel case too, not two tons, but pretty heavy...

my dad still has a bunch of stuff in storage that he saved from the CIC of the last frigate he was posted to when they decomm'd her. whole racks, displays, lots of switches/knobs/bulbs and all kinds of retro computing stuff. oscilloscope tubes/displays, the works.

last time i talked to him he casually mentioned dragging some of that stuff out and using it as a grossly over-sized casing for the guts of the new computer they bought, and redo the entire spare room/book room into a 1950-s style computer lab to go with it.

i joked that he needs to get a second computer like a Pi or a beagle to control all the displays and lights, maybe spin a reel to reel machine now and again, stuff like that. he got a kick out of the idea.


I have an old NCR data warehousing server. Custom cabinet design with racks across the front and back with dozens of drive cages. I have 2 Pis so far and want more. I'd love to fill the drive cages on that thing with modern drives (much smaller than the drives that monster came with) and Pis.

It always makes me smile to think that I bought the thing for 25 dollars as surplus when it was over a million dollars new. Worldmark 4500. Really hard to find info on these days. 4 processor board slots that could take cards with up to 4 processors per board. Up to 16 200MHz Pentium Pros, a gig of RAM, and a terabyte of storage. For a million dollars. Kinda makes modern desktops look like a pretty good deal.
 
2012-11-21 01:30:10 AM

maddogdelta: HindiDiscoMonster: Working Compaq tech support... 900yr old lady calls in, and tells us she is stepping on the peddle as hard as she can and it "won't go"... I didn't get the call myself, but one of the level 1 techs asked me, and I told them this is her peddle:

Don't tell me.... let me guess....

You also got the call about the "coffee cup holder"

and the call where you told the customer that they were "too stupid to own a computer"

or the call where you told the customer that the problem was a "PEBKAC"


As cliche as some of them are, they keep happening. I was a floor runner in a call center. The ones of us that really knew what we were doing ran around helping the ones who were still green. I can't remember what boneheaded thing the customer had done but I told the tech it sounded like a PEBKAC error. Before I could even start to explain the joke he unmuted the phone, told the customer that a supervisor had just told them it sounded like a PEBKAC error, and that he was going to check how to fix it. Then he remuted his phone, looked at me, and asked what PEBKAC meant. I had to explain and watch it isnk in as he realized what he had just said to the customer.

The other one that was popular in our call center (and I'm sure others as well) was the I D 10 T error. most people didn't get it unless they wrote it down and even then the majority still didn't catch it.

No matter how far fetched the jokes and stories you hear from tech support seem, they are probably all true. I had a DSL customer on a houseboat. I had people that had ripped out their wiring to move it to another room less than an hour after an installer left. I had somebody that wanted the phone company to fix their refrigerator. I had a guy loaded on Valium and generally incoherent trying to install a modem. That one I left him on hold and took a break, he didn't care because of how loaded he was.

I had a woman who literally thought internal and external were some sort of mysterious technical terms and told me I was going to have to speak English to her. We weren't allowed to hang up at the end of the call (had to let the customer drop the call) so many MANY techs got to help people get their DSL modems installed and then listen as the people put the phone down and immediately started watching porn. Yes, that included at least one where the customer uttered the phrase "Hey honey, come check this out. It really IS a woman having sex with a horse!".

You really did get calls where you would tell somebody to move the mouse across their screen and the next sound your heard was the clink of a mouse being put up against a CRT. I had a guy call who want me to trouble shoot his connection while he was in the car on his way to the video store. We got tons of calls where people wanted help changing the home page on their browser because they clicked YES on some random porn site and now they were in a maze of pop ups and porn every time they open their browser. My first week on the job I had somebody call in and ask me to connect him to the "internet police" because people kept pinging and port scanning him.

We had people quit on their first day. We had people fall asleep on the phone. We had people quit and walk out in the middle of their shift. We had the entire phone system get fried by a lightning strike while hundreds of people were on the phone. Every single phone just kept doing whatever it was doing when the switch got fried. You couldn't mute, dial out, hang up, nothing. If you were already on a call you just had to do your best and explain to the customer that even though they had called a phone company we no longer had working phones of our own. That went over about as well as the several times the whole call center lost their internet connection. Always a bad day when the tech support call center has to call tech support. We got threatened, we got thanked, we had people break down on both ends of the line, we had cases of the blind leading the blind.


So yeah, all that stupid stuff you assume is just made up or somebody repeating old jokes probably really did happen. It just happened to happen repeatedly.
 
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