Help Desk Action

I’d heard stories. Stories about really dumb people ringing up helpdesks. Then I found myself on a helpdesk. I was a little skeptical. I had hope in intelligence of other people. Oh, but I was wrong.

This woman rings up and asks if there is something wrong with New Zealand web pages because she can’t get any to load. It turns out that she thinks that if you type in www.(any word) it will go to a page on that subject.

Cut Off

This person of indeterminate gender calls and complains that I cut him/her off in the middle of a download. Oh, like I am sitting there and I cut that person off because… um… I explained that it could have been a problem with the analogue telephone system. The response: “But it’s not fair….” Oh boo hoo.

And then…

This angry sounding chick calls the helpdesk. She’s got a new account, has managed to get connected… but, “um, where’s the internet”. Using my supreme technical skills I was able to solve the problem by getting her to run Internet Explorer.


A woman rang wanting to know where the key that looked like an a with a circle around it was. After telling her that the @ was called “at”, I told her that it could be found by pressing shift+2. For some reason, that key wasn’t on her keyboard.

Secret Code

A really confused sounding woman asked, “The password is the secret letters thing, isn’t it?” But by that she meant her user name. Top secret.

Porno Guy I

A guy rang up. He gave his log-in name as the ISP’s homepage. Then he said that he’d heard that there was lots of pornography on the internet. I told him to use search engines, but if I’d been thinking, I would have referred him to


And the cool chick who got an error message saying “illegal operation” and wanted to know if that meant her account would get closed or if the police would know about it.


“Could I have your name?”
“The name of what?”

Garth Brooks

This guy calls up and starts rambling about country music and various shite. I managed to get what he wanted, which was a friend of his had written a country song and wanted to give it to Garth Brooks, “It would be a big hit for him”. He had heard about how there are all these celebrities on this “internet” thing and he wanted to contact Garth. I told him I had no idea how to contact Garth Brooks. He sounded somewhat disappointed.

Porno Guy II

A pervy old man type person calls up and said he’s heard that “they” were cracking down on people who were “downloading files”. What he mean was pornos. I assured him that it was only illegal pornos, not the lovely ladies he was into. He sounded quite relieved.


Somehow Eudora becomes pronounced as “Endora” and Trumpet Winsock becomes “Winstock”. Another neat trick, “Open Eudora.” “Open my door?”

S For…?

I was having trouble hearing a person spelling their user name, so I was going through the letters with the alpha-bravo-charlie-delta alphabet. I said, “is it s for sierra”? The guy goes “No, that’s wrong. It’s S for Smith”.

Wrong Number

A guy rang up needing help installing a start-up CD for another ISP. And then a woman rang wanting to pay her phone bill. Then a guy called wanting to order a some computer games.

After about six weeks of this I finally got out and into a job in the accounts department. I was on the verge of turning into a egomaniacal helpdesk bitch, with nothing but contempt with everyone who called. But I’m ok now.

I should also mention that there were some pretty cool people who called and I only got majorly yelled at a couple of times.

It’s fun.

Nuke It All

One fond memory I have of being a child of the eighties is the Whitney Houston song “Greatest Love of All” which starts with “I believe the children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside”. (I’m quoting purely from memory, I’m ashamed to say).

I remember thinking at the time “What a load of crap”, but last night I was thinking back about what the world offered me as a child and I remembered a very disturbing thought.

The cold war was this stupid thing that hung over life in the eighties. Like a false sword of Damocles. It was like if we didn’t all behave the Russians and the Americans would nuke each other and the whole world would die. Yay!

The nuclear thing invaded popular culture and media. There was the sad film “The Day After” about a nuclear bomb going off in an American city. I even remember an episode of “Benson” where they did a mock civil defence nuclear attack situation.

Then my local newspaper, The Waikato Times did an article about what would happen if a nuclear bomb was detonated in the middle of Hamilton.

From the article I worked out that from where I lived I would get really bad radiation sickness and my hair would fall out and eventually me, my family and my cat would die. I remember thinking that I wished I lived in the middle of Hamilton so I would die instantly instead of suffering.

How fucked up is that?

What kind of world did I live in where nuclear paranoia made me, an 8 year old girl, wish I lived in a certain place so I would die instantly?

As it turned out the Cold War was really just something to keep the American arms industry afloat. The was no major nuclear threat, especially not to Hamilton, New Zealand.

So what has this made me? Cynical and skeptical and with an intense dislike of Whitney Houston.

View Source

Postscript: Back when I wrote this in 1999, my website was handcoded, as were all the websites of my interweb friends.

So it came that people would hide semi-secret messages in comment tags amongst the HTML. The message was invisible in the web browse, but would show up when the webpage source was viewed.

No one really advertised when they’d done a hidden message, but those in the know knew to check the source for the telltale that hide the messages.

At the time I was working as an HTML editor, so I spent much of the day staring at HTML. So I thought, why not write an entire piece in a comment tag? So that’s what this is all about.

Does it even work with newfangled blog software? We’ll see.

and it doesn’t matter.

And of course this is a sign that I use a text-based
HTML editor. Whilst I am fully capable of typing out a
page in HTML entirely by hand in Notepad, I don’t
because it bloody well takes too long.

I use Homesite, because it speeds things up, but leaves
me in control. Fast and in control. Yeah.

This is a bit like the alt text page. It’s really just
playing with the novelty of a new thing, but I’m making
an effort to actually have some decent text rather than
just rambley shit.

Oh hey, my Fridge Magnet theory.

You know those fridge magnets that have a little
saying, or piece of advice or whatever on them, that is
presented in an artistic way? There are lots of web
pages like that.

Done by people with lots of visual ideas, but who don’t
actually have anything to say. I call them fridge
magnet sites.

Because the T in HTML stands for text. Short attention
span people might like pretty sites, but I get off on
written stuff. Words that mean things.

I’ve said it before: You do not fuck with the English

That’s enough.—>

r u m or f ???

I’m pissed off with guys on IRC.

For ages I had avoided the supposed joys of IRC simply because I couldn’t come up with a nick that I didn’t hate. Then one night I came up with “Rosia”. In some languages it means “Russia”, but it was meaningless to me when I thought it up. Don’t ask to me pronounce it.

So I joined IRC using undernet and everything was fine, that is until the messages started. A query box pops up with “hi” in it. So I respond with “Hi” back. Then the guy responds with ” r u m or f”. If I was The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, I might be impressed by people who use letters and numbers for words, but I’m not. I like the English language, and I like words. I like capital letters too.

So anyway, the “conversation” continues and the questions from him continue: “how old r u?”, “what do u look like?”, “what are your measurements?”. I’m supposed to answer stuff like “I’m 18, tall, slim, long blonde hair, 36, 24, 36”. But that’s not real. I don’t own a tape measure so I wouldn’t have a clue what my “measurements” are. It’s not like I have an actual daily need to know my waist measurement.

It seems that the average net-sex guy needs to hear that I’m a gorgeous 18 year old babe, even though I’m not. He doesn’t seem to be too interested in anything other than what I physically look like. I mean, I could be a serial killer or a rocket scientist, but all he’d care is if I had big boobs.

I’ve thought about changing my nick to something gender neutral, but I’m not sure I want to do that. I want things to be different. I want to be able to go on IRC without guys assuming that just because my nick is vaguely female, that I’m a hot wet horny babe.

Sun Outage

I saw this unusual message on my ISP’s technical updates web page:

Sun outages affecting satellites

We are currently experiencing sun outages at approximately 12:50pm daily as the sun tracks across the sky and ends up directly behind our satellite.

So let’s get this straight. It’s not the satellite that is experiencing outages caused by the sun, but it’s the sun that’s having the outages.

Well, then I think someone ought to get hold of the sun’s bandwidth provider and let them know that they are not very happy with the poor level of service that this “sun” is offering.

It’s also interesting to note that the sun is observed as travelling across the sky. Just like that ancient Polynesian legend about Maui and his brothers beating the sun up so it’d slow down when it travelled across the sky.

I think Maui should be contracted as a solution provider to do some consultancy work in getting the sun to stop messing up the satellite.

Word needs to get around that poor customer service will not be tolerated from celestial bodies. If they can not measure up, then another sun provider will be used.