Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Problem Exists: between chair and keyboard

PEBCAK: (The) problem exists between (the) chair and (the) keyboard.

Ten-T Error: This error code is visual, sorta like a vanity license plate– ID:10T.

This is how Tech Support people used to refer to the Number One Cause of all technical support service calls (Help Desk)– Operator Error.
People who use computers (and other “high tech” devices) don’t always know what they’re doing.. or fully understand the mechanics behind the cause-and-effect.
People generally don’t read the manual. They turn it on and go.

Yes folks, when you give us a call, the odds are good we’re not going to diagnose a true software misconfiguration or hardware malfunction.. we’re going to figure out what you are doing wrong. We tech support-types need to be Behaviorists, Psychologists, Counselors, and Professors before we even start learning about Windows or command lines.

Needless to say, people who work at the Help Desk have heard some truly astounding Ten-T errors. And being people too, they tell their co-workers about the more memorable ones. In fact there are some legendary 10-T’s in the PEBCAK Hall of Fame, which have been so oft-repeated that their origin is untraceable.. for example the lady who thought her CD-ROM’s tray was a cup-holder. Or..

Call #1

TechSupt: “Okay, now close the window and..”
Caller: “Okay. Hold on.” clunk (puts phone down)
Footsteps.
Scrape/thunk.
Footsteps.
Caller: “Okay, I closed the window.. but I don’t see how that’s going to help my computer problem.”

Call#2
Caller: “I just got your new computer home and out of the boxes and all set up.. but it won’t turn on. Something is seriously wrong with it, and I want my money back.”
TechSupt: “Did you plug it in?”
Caller hangs up.

I will tell you that the calls that come in to me at Aplus Computer Aid are almost never Ten-T errors. I do not have one personal humorous story to share with you; 99.9% of all of my calls have been real issues that needed professional help.
I do not think this is due to people being any smarter today than they were ten years ago (hah!), but is due to the fact that the technology has improved/”matured”, and we have been using it longer. Plug ‘N Play mostly works, and DOS is long gone. Still..

Tip(s) of the day: RTFM (read the *freaking* manual). Sure, it is easier to buy a new gizmo, gadget, or doodad, bring it home and take it over to your geeky friend/relative/co-worker/neighbor and ask them to show you how to use it.
And, yes, the manual that comes with your gadget has too many pages.. and the grammar isn’t always the best.. but here is how you learn THE CORRECT METHODS for using your device.. and not Fred’s* best guesses at how to use it.
Also.. those blinking lights and confusing menus and strange-looking icons are explained.

FAQ stands for “frequently asked questions”, and almost every device manufacturer has FAQ’s posted on their Website. These are the “How do I..?” and “What does xyz mean?” questions and answers that new users typically have. You will probably find the answer you’re looking for here, without having to go bother Fred*.
Some manufacturer’s call this page “Support”.

Owner’s manuals and FAQ pages can prevent you from making it into the PEBCAK Hall of Shame.

Today’s free link: Loyal Friends and True of this series know that I like to post lighter, more “fun” links on Friday’s and today is no exception. A wonderful collection of humorous tech support questions and Ten-T errors can be found here.
Explore the various ‘categories’ and get a glimpse of what life is like for tech support persons, and a good laugh or two as well (and odds are good, you’ll feel smarter afterwards too).

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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March 28, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, tech

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