User lacks vision

Double dotting

User lacks vision

A BlackBerry user is setting up his new device when he calls support pilot fish with a problem. "The configuration routine includes the user entering his email address and a password," says fish. "This user called to tell me that the instructions didn't work." Fish walks the user through the process, which has worked fine for others. In particular, fish asks the user to carefully check his email address for any errors. "Everything looks good", user replies. But it's still not working, so fish calls the service provider's support line, and puts the tech on the line with fish and the user. Together, they check every possible problem they can think of and go carefully through the steps of the set-up process with the user. That includes checking and rechecking the email address, which the user insists is spelled correctly. But it's still not working. So fish calls tech support for the BlackBerry vendor, Research In Motion, and conferences that tech in, too. After an hour on the phone, no joy — and fish is ready to give up. "I asked the user one more time: 'Are you sure you've spelled your email address correctly?'" reports fish. "He replied, 'Well, let me put my glasses on,' followed by a long pause. "Then: 'Oops, I have two dots before the com part of my address.' "He's fortunate he's a remote user", fish fumes.

Trophy disks cause alarm It's more than a few years back, and pilot fish works in a computer room where the big machines have big disk drives. "The drives had large, removable packs of platters," says fish. "They weren't terribly reliable and would crash, and so we'd replace them and save the bad ones in a pile in the back of the datacentre." The night computer operator is a deer hunter, and one time, he asks if he can have the dead packs. No one objects, so the operator and some of his co-workers take them out in the country, set them up on hay bales and use them for target practice with their rifles. Then he dismantles the packs, and hangs the most spectacularly shattered platters on the computer room wall. Some time later, fish is working late one night when a woman on the housekeeping staff comes by with a question. "She pointed into the computer room and said, 'Do those things explode very often? Because my daughter is majoring in computer science, and I was wondering if it was dangerous.' "So I explained to her that no, they don't, and what had actually happened to the platters. "She was very grateful — and relieved."

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