Friday, June 06, 2008

In Which I Provide Support

Experiment Parameters:

Logged in 1pm EST to Google Chat, Yahoo IM, and the Live Help chat forums at two seemingly popular PC web portals after posting "I'd like to help" messages in the general forum of each.

I wasn't connected long enough to get any actual spam, but I may have to bleach all associated accounts after this. Here is the chat log, cleaned up for "prettiness" with the user name cleverly concealed--

User: Hey

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: Have you rebooted?

User: What?

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: Rebooted. Like power off the machine.

User: Yes

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: Really?

User: Yes

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: When?

User: I just had a question about something and I thought I could get it answered

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: Me too. When did you last reboot?

User: I've got these pop-up messages all the time and I can't make them stop

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: What do they say?

User: Random stuff

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: Do you have an anti-virus and anti-spyware?

User: Yes

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: Do you update the definition files regularly?

User: Yes

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: When was the last time?

User: I don't know

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: When I said "regularly" I meant "according to a schedule". Like you would know when it happens.

User: It happens at night

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: Every night?

User: Yes

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: So you just leave your computer on all night

User: Yes its on all the time

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: All the time?

User: Yes

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: You didn't reboot at all, did you?

User: Fine. brb

User has gone offline

User: Okay. I'm still getting the pop up things

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: I need to narrow down some stuff to come up with a root cause. Would you mind doing a few troubleshooting steps for me?

User: Sure

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: Click on 'Start', then 'Run' and type "cmd" with no quotes

User: Got it

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: Do you see a prompt where you can type stuff?

User: Yes

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: There is your problem! You are running Windows. Of course you will have pop ups and spyware and junk.

User: Thats not helpful at all

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng: Well, I tried.

After that, there was some uncreative name-calling. If I'd had time to think I'd have done better.
I think this illustrates pretty well why I have never managed to secure a help desk position and also why, over the course of my career, I have been moved into positions of increasing isolation from the users.
It is just best for all parties involved.

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