If your selfies are coming out blurry and I say “You need to clean the lens”, please clean the front-facing camera, not the one that was pointing away from you each time you took a picture that was smeary and blurred.
User: Hello, I want Uber Expensive Software Package Pro. I need it on my laptop. It’s urgent.
Me: No, you can’t have Uber Expensive Software Package Pro on your laptop. Your laptop isn’t a company laptop, and we have made Uber Expensive Software Package Standard available over the network to people who actually need it. Why do you need it?
User: It’s very urgent that I have Uber Expensive Software Package Pro.
Me: I see. What exactly are you doing with it?
User: It’s very urgent that I have Uber Expensive Software Package Pro because I need to do Very Basic Stuff To Some Files That Can Be Done In A Different Software Package Lite.
Me: Oh, well the funny thing is I’ve written some code for Word that can enable you to do that very easily. It has two buttons, one for Go and one for Stop. Even you should be able to manage that. I’ve added it to your user profile.
User: So I’m not getting Uber Expensive Software Package Pro? ‘Cause I found the install files on the network and I just need the licence key now so it’ll work on my laptop.
Me: Use the code I sent you. I am Software Compliance. I am not easily angered, but you have managed it. And because of this, all of your output files will have the word “client” replaced by the word “penis”. Good day.
In order for this to work, you will need to do (A).
User: Help, I need my application to work!
Me: Have you followed the instructions?
User: Yes, I’ve done (B) and (C).
Me: Have you followed the instructions and done (A)?
User: Yes, I’ve now done (B) and (C) twice and it’s still not working. I’ll try (D) next.
Me: You just need to do (A).
User: (D) didn’t work, you’re wasting my time.
Me: Can we go back to the initial instructions, please. Read them carefully and follow all the steps detailed there.
User: I’ve asked around and I’ve been told to do (D) again, and then follow it up with (X), (Y), and (Z). Twice.
Me: Perhaps you could try (A)?
User: (D), (X), (Y) and (Z) didn’t work. You know nothing.
“Hello, a user would like access to XLS Viewer.”
“They have Excel.”
“They need access to XLS Viewer.”
“They have Excel.”
“Yes, but they’ve requested access to XLS Viewer…”
“OK, they can have it. But we have an updated version. it’s called Excel.”
“The code you’ve written?”
“If it doesn’t load when it’s meant to load, can you make it load?”
I have a chum whose sole purpose in life is to do fucked up things to perfectly brilliant computer hardware I assemble for him.
His most recent exploit is to keep his PC running throughout the heatwave, burning DVDs. How jolly!
How not jolly to be woken at 6:20am on Saturday by a text message: “PC won’t switch on, left it overnight burning DVDs, call me when you get this msg.” Well, bollocks was I calling at 6:20am. In fact, bollocks was I calling until about 11am. After all, it had been the warmest night on record since recorded records began being recorded, and I needed some bloody sleep.
“Mate,” he said, when I’d decided to phone. “Mate, the pc had been fine all day…”
“All day?” I said. “You left it on all day on Friday?”
“It was fine all day on Thursday, it ran OK all night, then all day Friday…”
“…And then when I went to bed last night, I left it burning a DVD because it takes so long…
“…But when I cam downstairs this morning, the entire box was dead.”
“And you are surprised by this turn of events?”
“Well… yes! What can I do mate? I need my PC!”
So I gave a few basic hints and tips; was it the fuse in the plug? Was it just needing a rest? Was he being a pleb? The usual sort of thing. But no, it seems the computer-box is dead.
“I tell you what, mate,” (the emphasis was lost), “I’ll build up a spare Ubuntu box and have it to you on Monday, how’s that?”
“That’ll be brilliant, thank you!” And he hung up. Well, it was a hot day on Saturday, and you don’t want to risk your phone overheating and going bang, do you?
So what you can do here is imagine a montage section (you can supply the music, suggestions welcome in the comments):
- Me finding the parts for a spare computer, digging in boxes.
- Assembling the parts.
- Switching the machine on for the first time.
- The screen lighting up.
- A wry smile across my face.
- Taking off my glasses and wiping my arm across my forehead whilst drinking from a mug of coffee.
- Watching a progress bar slide along the screen.
- Typing at a keyboard and somehow the text on the screen is projected across my face as I type.
- Clicking a mouse.
- Finally placing the top of the computer on and wiping it with a piece of rag before patting it lightly and sighing to myself.
And now we are at this evening. I have just returned from installing the beast. And a beast it is too. It’s a Pentium 3, 733Mhz with 512MB of memory and 32MB of PCI NVidia graphics power behind it. It’s running Ubuntu 10.04.
I figured that PC-Boiling-Chum would want his DVD burner (I really don’t understand why) so thought I’d just slot that in. It would also probably be worthwhile sliding in his PCI-to-USB card too. He has a worrying collection of, ahem, webcams scattered about his desk which he likes to have plugged in.
My only problem was forgetting that his DVD writer is a SATA-based product, although luckily I had also installed a PCI-to-SATA card in the knackered PC. But what would be the chances of Ubuntu working nicely with:
- A 10 year old PC
- A PCI-to-SATA card it hadn’t known about on install
- A SATA dvd burner plugged into the PCI-to-SATA card it hadn’t known about on install
Obviously, it coped magnificently. Having opened the computer up and filled its amazing little riser card full with a video card, some USB ports and a SATA card, it then proceeded to boot and load in no time at all, perfectly happy with all the hardware. Webcams included.
So there we go. Unbelievers, start believing. Install Ubuntu Linux and enjoy.
(And for those of you that think something must have gone wrong somewhere, well, you’re right. The wireless mouse needed some new batteries.)
Further to my Twitter feed, I completed a song, entitled:
(Lenin and McCarthorse)
Dear Sir or Madam, I’ve erased my site
I need it back, It took me hours to write,
If the boss finds out, I’ll be out of here
And I need a job, and I want to be an intranet writer.
Although all talent’s absent, I have found a niche
Writing crappy copy, which I self-publish
But I clicked a button, now the whole lot’s gone
It’s an easy job, and I want to stay an intranet writer
Intranet writer (Intranet writer)
I get one hundred hits, and some days even more
From my friends in sales on the second floor
And I’ve told them when they should refresh the page
It’s a lovely life, when you’re falsifying intranet hit rates
All my writing’s stolen from a press release
Which I’ve hacked about just how I please
And my spelling’s wrong, and my grammar too
I’ve an easy job, cos I’m the only one with editor access
Intranet writer (Intranet writer)