Friday, October 10, 2008

Tech support, please pick my bathroom lock?

This is something Alex found and it tickled him so much, he's been sharing it with everyone he can find. I'm posting it for him so you can share in the hilarity. Unless, of course, you're the one that called in one of these particular questions...

Weird requests push buttons of IT pros

(CNN) -- Forgive your tech support staffers if they sometimes take a snarky tone. You should see the unending stream of oddball requests they field. Robert Half Technology, a California-based staffing company that provides information technology professionals, asked 1,400 chief information officers nationwide about the strangest queries their help desks had ever received. You've probably heard about the person who confused a CD-ROM drive for a cup holder, but some of the other survey answers, released Wednesday, were baffling.

Katherine Spencer Lee, the executive director of Robert Half Technology, said in a statement it's helpful to review the odd questions. "These unusual requests highlight the need for technical support personnel to also demonstrate patience, empathy and a sense of humor," she said.

Here's a look at some of the oddest questions that IT executives reported receiving:

  • "My computer is telling me to press any key to continue. Where is the 'any' key?"
  • "Can you reset the Internet for me?"
  • "Can you rearrange the keyboard alphabetically?"
  • "My laptop was run over by a truck. What should I do?"

Some people wanted answers to make their lives a little less stressful. They asked:

  • "How can I block e-mail from my manager?"
  • "Can I open the bank safe using my computer?"
  • "Can you install cable TV on my PC?"
  • "I'd like to stop receiving e-mail on Fridays."

And some demanded entirely too much:

  • "I'd like wireless computer access in my motor home."
  • "How long does it take to bake a potato in a microwave?"
  • "My daughter is locked in the bathroom. Can you pick the lock?"
  • "Where can I get software to track UFOs?"

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tallahassee VisionWalk 2008

Glen and Sharyn Davidson have employed me for 12 years. They are great people, and do a lot to help others. When approached with the idea of PATCares - our employee organization that holds fundraisers to benefit our community - Glen supported the idea so thoroughly that for several years, he personally matched all the funds that collected. (it now comes from company funds)

Unfortunately, Sharyn and at least 2 of her brothers inherited a macular degeneration disease from her mother and grandmother. Over time, her field of vision has shrunk smaller and smaller, and her ancestors have gone completely blind. The Davidsons have 4 children, one just a year older than Alex. One of them also carries the gene.

Amazing research breakthroughs have been made in the last few years, and there is hope for a cure. For a number of years, the Davidsons have held a big party at their farm to raise money for research. This year, they have decided to hold a VisionWalk. Much like the March of Dimes or Relay for Life or any of those others, each of us try to collect sponsorships for the walk, and then we show up that morning in solidarity and support for the cause. Alex & I are trying to raise $100 each. I realize times are tough and money is scarce. If you can find an extra $10 or $20 (or more), we would appreciate it. A little bit from several people would really help us reach our goal quickly!

To donate online, you can click here or on the VisionWalk logo on the right. If you prefer to send a check, mail it to me but make it payable to the Foundation Fighting Blindness. All donations are tax-deductible.

Thank you for considering it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Customer Service Week

I love Customer Service Week. It's a national event, held the first week of October, although I know a lot of places don't celebrate it. Thankfully, PATLive does. Each year, a theme is picked for each day. There are decorations, special treats, and a video from the Answering Center supervisors and trainers to go along with the theme of the day. Each day is "sponsored" by a different department, providing recognition to the cs reps of the work they do, and includes an email from that department head usually written to conform to the theme.

Those actually in customer service get the treats, the free foods, the themed games played throughout the day, etc. You know, the things that cost the company money. The rest of us still get to dress up and participate in other "free" things. It's like a week of Halloween, when nobody else outside the company is dressing up. It's absolutely hilarious to be in costume and then go shopping, or get gasoline, or whatever else after work. You get the strangest looks from people who have no idea how to react. Those of us that have done it a few times used to feel self-conscious and would explain ourselves, but now we find it funnier to just let the people wonder what planet we call home. Maybe it gives them something to talk about at dinner that night. "Honey, you'll never guess what I saw at the grocery store today…"

So here are this year's themes. Would you participate?
Monday – Bed and Breakfast. Wear your PJs to work and be ready to be pampered!
Tuesday – Finding Nemo. Bring your luau gear and think tropical!
Wednesday – Dr. Seuss. Wear your wackiest, tackiest outfit ever. We'll also have a crazy sock competition.
Thursday – Viva Las Vegas! Use your imagination, anything goes in Vegas. (Please keep work appropriateness in mind)
Friday – PATLympics. Wear your sportiest and most patriotic outfits today.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TV trivia

I did… poorly… on the TV show theme song quiz that was sent to me. ahem. Trying to redeem myself, I took the game show quiz, achieving a 9 out of 10. yeah, me. I didn't realize I had so much game show knowledge.

how do you do?

Mystery Man

Our church has a small café area that serves food on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. It used to be run by someone at the church, and then a few months ago, the job was taken over by a local bagel company. Ever since the bagel place moved in, I've seen a guy in there that looked really familiar. Every Sunday morning, it would bother me as I tried to figure out where/how I knew him. I kept trying to convince myself that he must have been someone from children's church when Alex was little or something, but that just didn't seem right. The place gets a lot of business between services, though, so I didn't want to take the time to disturb him to ask.

The first Sunday of each month, Alex and I volunteer in the 2 year old room during the second service. We'd been in a hurry to get to church on time ourselves for first service (we made it!) so we only grabbed a quick breakfast instead of the heartier meal I usually try to prepare on "First Sunday". I was a little bit hungry after our service, and Alex was starving. To avoid the temptation to eat all the cheez-it crackers we are supposed to serve the tots, we decided to get a bagel and split it, figuring that would tide us over until lunch when church was over. Sure enough, the mystery man was there. Ah ha! Now I can maybe figure it out….

When we reached the counter, he looked at Alex and said, "Wow, Alex, you've grown a little bit!" Ok, he obviously recognized us, and even knew Alex's name, so I wasn't imagining anything. Unfortunately, I still couldn't place him, and I was forced to ask. It turns out, he was the Assistant Principle at the school Alex attended for 5K-4th grade. He left after Alex's 2nd or 3rd grade year to join his father-in-law's bagel business. Obviously it worked out for him.

I was very relieved to finally connect those dots. It seriously bugged me every week when I saw him, and now I know. But that leaves me to wonder… he hasn't seen Alex in 6 years, yet there was no hesitation on his part at all. Does he really have a phenomenal memory for every one of the hundreds of kids he worked with, not to mention however many regular customers he's met since then, or did Alex just spend that much time in his office for not being able to sit still in class??