The monitor didn't work but the problem was between the user's ears

Worker was in the dark about this thing called 'electricity' that makes stuff work

On-Call How do you people survive at work? We're asking because in this week's edition of On-Call, our weekly reader-contributed column sharing tales of IT support, reader “Chilli” brings us a very frustrating story.

Chilli once worked for an outfit that had 300 remote depots, all of which turned to he and the rest of the IT for phone support. At lunch times, the team took turns to work on the help desk. And on Chilli's day, he received a call from a colleague whose monitor had gone blank.

After asking all the necessary questions about the caller's name, the branch they worked in an so on, Chilli asked if the computer was turned on.

The caller replied in the affirmative.

“Is the LED light in the bottom corner of the monitor lit up” Chilli asked. “It should be green or orange.”

The caller said “No.”

“Is there another monitor near by that you could swap the power lead over to,” Chilli asked.

The caller said “No.”

“Do you know where power supply is to the PC", Chilli asked.

This, the caller knew: the relevant box was under the desk. So Chilli asked the caller to trace the power lead from the monitor to the plug, then turn things off and on again.

“I've done that before", the caller insisted. But Chilli wanted to make sure, so he asked his colleague to do it again, just to make sure he'd found the right plug.

Chilli says he then heard 30 seconds worth of “clattering, things being knocked over, crashing, grunts, more crashing and squealing.”

The caller picked up the phone and said he couldn't find the lead.

At this point Chilli was a bit concerned by all the noise, so asked the caller if she was okay.

To which the caller answered that she couldn't see the lead. At all.

“Is it in a hard place to reach,” Chilli asked. “Is other stuff blocking you?"

“No,” said the caller. “It's just too dark here.”

“Too dark behind the desk?” Chilli asked.

“Yes,” said Chilli's colleague, “it's too dark in the whole office.”

That answer got Chilli worrying that perhaps something had gone wrong with his colleague's eyes. While he tried to think of something suitable to say next, she let him know that “All the lights are out in the office.”

“Why?" Chilli asked.

“Because we just had a power cut,” was the answer.

Cue a heavy sigh for Chilli and a request to perhaps call back after the power had bene turned on again?

If users have asked you to do something similarly silly, write to me and you, yes you, could feature in a future On-Call. Or if you've moved to another country to pursue your job, The eXpat Files are still open, so let us know where you've moved and we'll sort something out. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Israel plans ‘Cyber-Dome’ to defeat digital attacks from Iran and others
    Already has 'Iron Dome' – does it need another hero?

    The new head of Israel's National Cyber Directorate (INCD) has announced the nation intends to build a "Cyber-Dome" – a national defense system to fend off digital attacks.

    Gaby Portnoy, director general of INCD, revealed plans for Cyber-Dome on Tuesday, delivering his first public speech since his appointment to the role in February. Portnoy is a 31-year veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, which he exited as a brigadier general after also serving as head of operations for the Intelligence Corps, and leading visual intelligence team Unit 9900.

    "The Cyber-Dome will elevate national cyber security by implementing new mechanisms in the national cyber perimeter, reducing the harm from cyber attacks at scale," Portnoy told a conference in Tel Aviv. "The Cyber-Dome will also provide tools and services to elevate the protection of the national assets as a whole. The Dome is a new big data, AI, overall approach to proactive defense. It will synchronize nation-level real-time detection, analysis, and mitigation of threats."

    Continue reading
  • Intel to sell Massachusetts R&D site, once home to its only New England fab
    End of another era as former DEC facility faces demolition

    As Intel gets ready to build fabs in Arizona and Ohio, the x86 giant is planning to offload a 149-acre historic research and development site in Massachusetts that was once home to the company's only chip manufacturing plant in New England.

    An Intel spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday to The Register it plans to sell the property. The company expects to transfer the site to a new owner, a real-estate developer, next summer, whereupon it'll be torn down completely.

    The site is located at 75 Reed Rd in Hudson, Massachusetts, between Boston and Worcester. It has been home to more than 800 R&D employees, according to Intel. The spokesperson told us the US giant will move its Hudson employees to a facility it's leasing in Harvard, Massachusetts, about 13 miles away.

    Continue reading
  • Start using Modern Auth now for Exchange Online
    Before Microsoft shutters basic logins in a few months

    The US government is pushing federal agencies and private corporations to adopt the Modern Authentication method in Exchange Online before Microsoft starts shutting down Basic Authentication from the first day of October.

    In an advisory [PDF] this week, Uncle Sam's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) noted that while federal executive civilian branch (FCEB) agencies – which includes such organizations as the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and such departments as Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury, and State – are required to make the change, all organizations should make the switch from Basic Authentication.

    "Federal agencies should determine their use of Basic Auth and migrate users and applications to Modern Auth," CISA wrote. "After completing the migration to Modern Auth, agencies should block Basic Auth."

    Continue reading
  • City-killing asteroid won't hit Earth in 2052 after all
    ESA ruins our day with some bad news

    An asteroid predicted to hit Earth in 2052 has, for now, been removed from the European Space Agency's list of rocks to be worried about.

    Asteroid 2021 QM1 was described by ESA as "the riskiest asteroid known to humankind," at least among asteroids discovered in the past year. QM1 was spotted in August 2021 by Arizona-based Mount Lemmon observatory, and additional observations only made its path appear more threatening.

    "We could see its future paths around the Sun, and in 2052 it could come dangerously close to Earth. The more the asteroid was observed, the greater that risk became," said ESA Head of Planetary Defense Richard Moissl. 

    Continue reading
  • Why Wi-Fi 6 and 6E will connect factories of the future
    Tech body pushes reliability, cost savings of next-gen wireless comms for IIoT – not a typo

    Wi-Fi 6 and 6E are being promoted as technologies for enabling industrial automation and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) thanks to features that provide more reliable communications and reduced costs compared with wired network alternatives, at least according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA).

    The WBA’s Wi-Fi 6/6E for IIoT working group, led by Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, and Intel, has pulled together ideas on the future of networked devices in factories and written it all up in a “Wi-Fi 6/6E for Industrial IoT: Enabling Wi-Fi Determinism in an IoT World” manifesto.

    The detailed whitepaper makes the case that wireless communications has become the preferred way to network sensors as part of IIoT deployments because it's faster and cheaper than fiber or copper infrastructure. The alliance is a collection of technology companies and service providers that work together on developing standards, coming up with certifications and guidelines, advocating for stuff that they want, and so on.

    Continue reading
  • How can we make the VC world less pale and male, Congress wonders
    'Combating tech bro culture' on the agenda this week for US House committee

    A US congressional hearing on "combating tech bro culture" in the venture capital world is will take place this week, with some of the biggest names in startup funding under the spotlight.

    The House Financial Services Committee's Task Force on Financial Technology is scheduled to meet on Thursday. FSC majority staff said in a memo [PDF] the hearing will focus on how VCs have failed to invest in, say, fintech companies founded by women and people of color. 

    We're told Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and cofounder of Ellevest; Marceau Michel, founder of Black Founders Matter; Abbey Wemimo, cofounder and co-CEO of Esusu; and Maryam Haque, executive director of Venture Forward have at least been invited to speak at the meeting.

    Continue reading
  • DataStax launches streaming data platform with backward support for JMS
    Or move to Apache Pulsar for efficiency gains, says NoSQL vendor

    DataStax, the database company built around open-source wide-column Apache Cassandra, has launched a streaming platform as a service with backwards compatibility for messaging standards JMS, MQ, and Kafka.

    The fully managed messaging and event streaming service, based on open-source Apache Pulsar, is a streaming technology built for the requirements of high-scale, real-time applications.

    But DataStax wanted to help customers get data from their existing messaging platforms, as well as those who migrate to Pulsar, said Chris Latimer, vice president of product management.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022