Stupid user tricks 5: IT's weakest link

Flaming laptops, nosy mothers, and server racks sent tumbling down stairs -- seven more real-world tales of IT brain fail

By InfoWorld staff, InfoWorld |  Career, help desk

Case in point: I got called to a branch office for unspecified "printer problems." It's a small branch office, with three users, each in his own office. The firewall/router on a bookshelf in one room connected them and provided the way back to headquarters and the Web. One guy had a big HP LaserJet in his office, and he complained that suddenly his coworkers can't print "off my printer anymore." I did the due diligence and found that while the printer had an Ethernet port: (a) it wasn't configured, (b) it was hooked only to his desktop with a USB cable, and (c) his wall jack only had a single Ethernet port available and that was being used by his PC. I checked his desktop, and no, Windows XP was not set up to share his printer. I knew he's lying, but I can't resist:

Me: "So you were all sharing this printer?"

Lying liar: "Yup. It was working fine until the other day, and then it just stopped."

Me: "You know, there's nothing wrong with requesting that you be able to share the printer. If you'd have just said that on the phone, I'd have driven out here with a mini-hub and we'd be all set right now."

Lying liar: "But it was working. It just suddenly stopped. That's why I called."

Me [eyes rolling]: "Fine. I can share the printer. Hang on."

Now I could have told him that print sharing his PC was going to slow down performance a bit, but I was annoyed so I just did it, had his coworkers test it out and then left.

Skip forward a week. The same guy called and my boss kicked it to me. Once again, the ticket said "printer problems," but now it added "Internet down." The bastard was snickering when he gave it to me, too. This time I grabbed a mini hub and some spare patch cables before I drove over.

I got there and for some reason they'd switched offices. The moved desks, bookshelves .. and their PCs, as well as the big printer. Again, the same guy got up and said, "Everything was working until yesterday, and then the printer just stopped working."

Me: "Uh-huh. Yesterday wouldn't happen to be the day you moved offices, would it?"

Lying liar: "No, no. That was over the weekend." [This is Wednesday.]

Me: [Sigh.]

Again I checked the PCs. His coworkers were fine; their PCs had power and the Ethernet cables were plugged into the correct wall jacks. They hadn't moved the router, so everything was working for those guys. Lying liar, however, had lost the USB cable. Instead, he'd plugged his Ethernet cable into both his PC and the printer.

Me: "And this was working for two days before it died?"

Lying liar: "Oh yeah. Just the way you had it."

Me: [Thinking: why are you such a lying twit? You just cost three people two days of work!]


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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