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No, working in IT does not mean you can fix anything with a soldering iron

What’s worse than absurd support requests at work? Ridiculous requests at home, that’s what

On Call As another working week ebbs away, dispel any thoughts that your efforts have made no mark in history by wallowing in other readers’ misery in another instalment of On-Call, The Register’s weekly tale of being asked to fix the ridiculous and absurd.

This week, meet a reader we’ll Regomize as “Sebastian” who told us that from nine to five he works as an engineer of embedded software and is regularly called on to support customers when all other avenues of assistance have been exhausted, and someone who can read the code is thought to be the most likely source of a fix.

Sebastian’s work feats have been noted by family and friends.

You can guess what’s coming next: they all therefore think he’s just the chap to help with domestic IT disasters.

Or as Sebastian put it in his mail to On-Call: “To most of them anything involving computers is all 'IT', and therefore the moment their latest iDevice won't send their emails or their printer has started speaking French I'm definitely the best person to talk to.”

A few weeks back, that appraisal of Sebastian’s talents led to a call from a friend who said they had a cable that needed some repairs, probably with a soldering iron.

Sebastian is a generous fellow so replied that he’s a competent soldering iron practitioner but would like to get a look at the job before committing.

His friend sent the following photo.

Dead HDMI cable

A rather dead HDMI cable - Click to enlarge

Sebastian’s assessment of the image above, with which the On Call desk concurs, is that it depicts “one end of an HDMI cable.”

“I have no idea how it got in that state, nor do I particularly want to know,” Sebastian said. But his friend had the missing metal connector that once made it a functioning cable.

“They wanted to know if I could solder it back together because 'you're good at soldering',” Sebastian told On Call, incredulity making itself evident in his email.

Sebastian didn’t finish his story – we’ll assume because no happy ending is possible!

Have your repair skills been utterly overrated? Or have you been asked to address physical layer problems that are completely beyond your remit? If so, share your story with an email to On Call and we may well share your story in a future column. ®

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