The family technical support department: Everything is Outlook


We're all in the same position. Since we work with computers all day, everybody in the extended family considers us the technical support department. One thing you all need to take away from your role as family technical support department is that normal people view computers completely differently from the way you and I do.

One of my relatives calls every program Outlook.

"I'm on the Internet checking the weather report and then Outlook keeps displaying these windows with advertisements in them."

"I'm having trouble listening to music on Outlook."

"How do I get Outlook to play that card game you showed me last time?"

"I tried to save my spreadsheet and Outlook gave me this weird error message."

Why is every program called Outlook?

At work, this particular relative received word that the computer systems were being upgraded. The old system was a dedicated CAD system, but the new computers were PCs running CAD software and Outlook.

"Okay, I know what CAD software is. That's what I've been doing for the past five years on the old system. Therefore, by process of elimination, everything else on the computer must be Outlook."

When they got a home computer a year later, it didn't come with any CAD software on it. It was all Outlook.

(One of my colleagues is in a similar position: His relatives call everything on the computer Microsoft X. It could be Microsoft Norton Utilities or Microsoft Quicken. I wouldn't be surprised if they even said Microsoft Google.)

My colleague KC Lemson is in the unfortunate position of being the "Outlook expert" in her family, despite having not worked on Outlook for six years. It turns out that there have been a lot of versions of Outlook released since then, so her specialized knowledge is pretty badly outdated. That doesn't stop them from trying, though.

She told me that she attended a family wedding some time ago, and heard from three separate people, "Oh, Alice [not her real name] has an Outlook question for you." The effect of this was perhaps not what those people expected, because KC spent the entire wedding trying to avoid Alice. KC explained, "If she'd just come up and asked the question herself, I probably would have been fine with it, but having such an early warning just scared me. Plus, sniff sniff, you want to be wanted for who you are and not what you know."

Comments (63)
  1. Rosyna says:

    I’m in an opposite issue, most users tend to blame us for everything under the sun. So we have to be well versed in random software. Whereas family members only tend to ask about very small subset of very specific software. Go figure.

    Anyone with a computer related job (even if it is just pressing the "Y" key to vent gases) and with family are doomed to be support. Even if you’ve never met these people before.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We are experts avoiding this.

    My father moved 200 miles from my extended family’s base before starting his own family. May not sound like much but in 60’s India it was.

    In tune with the 21st century, I moved 10,000 miles away…..to SF bay area!

  3. Anonymous says:

    You’ve got it easy… At least you’re on the same OS. I haven’t used Windows for anything but an old telebanking application for about ten years and people still come to me with "My Windows takes 10 minutes to boot, can you fix it?". My Windows 3.11 foo is pretty useless by now…

  4. Anonymous says:

    My dad has a variant of the "Microsoft X" problem.  He runs Microsoft Express, Microsoft Version 10, and Microsoft Photo on his computer.  And possible Microsoft Picture as well.

    (It’s not so much the "everything is from Microsoft", all of the above are really Microsoft apps, but all I can ever get is garbled and mostly unusable fragments of the actual program name).

  5. Anonymous says:

    Last time I was at a relatives I spent 2h purging the think of spyware and then an hour getting the ipod firmware upgraded, then another half an hour getting the hardware firewall and WLAN system locked down.

    Somewhere in computing, we’ve taken a wrong turn. We’ve built a system where things only work by careful nurturing. If you are a technical person, you end up being the support person for the extended family.

    My current policy is "no support for non-legit windows systems", but I’m getting so fed up with spyware cleanups on legal XPSP2 boxes that I’m tempted to move to a linux-only policy. But even there, things are less than perfect. Ubuntu doesn’t even come with the firewall blocking anything, and lacks a good firewall config app.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Eh, just give it ten years for them to get used to Vista and they’ll be calling it "Windows Outlook," "Windows Google," and "Windows Grand Theft Auto 5: Stories Somewhere in San Andreas." Problem solved!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Over the holidays my father told me that he had "gotten a new version of Google." That apparently translated to "IE7 is out." I swear I am not making that up.

    I also once knew a woman who referred to every complex piece of technology as a "CB." Presumably because citizens’ band radio was about where she stopped caring about semantics. "How do you work this CB?" (referring to the VCR). "How do you work this CB?" (referring to the microwave). Etc.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m so tempted to get this shirt from ThinkGeek: <a href="http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts/frustrations/388b/">"No, I will not fix your computer"</a>.

    As far as confusing names goes, my mother told me yesterday that "The internet crashed", and then "Now Microsoft crashed".

    Then, "every time I click on this Ofoto album in my email, it crashes, it must be because your internet connection is slow today".

  9. Anonymous says:

    If I had a nickel for every time someone told me, "My Microsoft crashed…."

    PMP

  10. Anonymous says:

    my version of this is that people expect me to know everything and anything about politics.  Lots of people ask if I plan to run for President.  My mom expects me to know the ins and outs of running a campaign.  It’s very difficult to explain that studying political philosophy in no way qaulifies me for political office, and in many ways actually disqualifies me.

  11. Anonymous says:

    While on the topic of unfortunate associations, Raymond: I shared the article on "Snide" detergent with my wife, and now you are known around our house as "The Snide Guy."

    We have saved a lot of money on detergent, though.

    PMP

  12. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn’t that be "Microsoft The Google" or "The Microsoft Google"?

  13. Anonymous says:

    You don’t know how long it took me to train my dad about firefox tabs. He’s an stubborn, old mechanic that wonders why I can’t and don’t want to learn about how to fix cars (like all those techniques will work on these black box OEM cars nowadays), yet it took him 2 months to learn that ctrl+T means open tab. He still hasn’t mastered middle clicking on a link to open it in a new tab or closing tabs via ctrl+W/middle clicking though.

    I wonder if Pavlov had an easier time.

  14. J. Edward Sanchez says:

    I don’t mind doing tech support for relatives. It’s usually something that I know how to do anyway; besides, I figure that the amount of time I spend helping them is nothing compared to the amount of time they’d waste (and frustration they’d experience) trying to solve the problem themselves.

    That said, sometimes it can be a challenge to even understand what the problem is. Here’s a recent tech support call from a close relative:

    Her: I need your help getting my pictures onto the computer.

    Me: OK. Where are you stuck?

    Her: Well, I turned the computer on, and I have the ScanDisk.

    Me: Oh. The computer probably didn’t shut down properly last time. Just let it go and check the disk. When it’s done, Windows will come up and you can copy the photos using Picasa like I showed you before.

    Her: Oh, I’m already in Picasso.

    Me: So the ScanDisk completed?

    Her: Huh? I just put the ScanDisk in, and nothing’s coming up.

    Me: You "put the ScanDisk in"? What?

    Her: I took it out of the camera and put it in the USB thing you bought for me. But nothing’s showing up.

    Me: Oh! You mean the SD card?

    Her: Uh… THAT’S WHAT I JUST SAID. The ScanDisk. Isn’t that what SD stands for?

    Me: SD stands for "Secure Digital". You might be thinking of SanDisk, which is a company that makes SD cards.

    Her: Yeah, that’s what I have. A Kingston ScanDisk.

    Me: What you have is a Kingston SD card. SanDisk is a different brand. Anyway, let’s figure out why Picasa isn’t seeing the card….

  15. Anonymous says:

    All I can say is … me too

  16. My parents call everything Windows. One name to cover lots of applications makes it a little difficult to help them. The other thing I find frustrating is trying to help them over the phone. I’m just wouldn’t be any good at help desk work. I need to see the problem. :)

  17. Anonymous says:

    I used to get "I was opening a site and my google crashed" from my father. But he’s learning quickly! I explained to him the other day why Youtube videos sometimes skip after playing fine (they’re still loading) and why he has to type Captchas on certain sites (vision is hard). I enjoy helping relatives, it usually furthers my own understandings of how and why thinks work the way they do.

  18. JamesNT says:

    I have two clients that call all errors "Microsoft Errors."  It doesn’t matter what third party software caused the error (and it is almost always a third party program), all errors are Microsoft errors.  

    "My computer gave me a Microsoft Error today," they say left and right.  

    The reason is because when one of these third party programs crashes, the Microsoft error reporting tool comes up asking to send or don’t send information to Microsoft about what caused the crash.  Hence, all errors are now Microsoft Errors.

    James

  19. rbirkby says:

    My father calls every window that appears either a drop-down.

    Father: "A drop down has appeared"

    Me: "What does it say?"

    Father: "It’s the Open File drop down"

    Me: "What does it say in the title bar?"

    Father:"What’s a title bar?"

    Me: "What does it say at the top of the drop down"

    Father: "Save File as" [sic]

    It takes a long time to get anywhere. Case in point last week. I was doing Remote Assistance for the first time. His email wasn’t working, so we had to get the Remote Assistance file to me some other way. How about "Windows MSN Live Desktop Messenger" I thought.

    Silly me. The download page for WMLDM is designed for 1024×768 screens, whereas my dad runs as 800×600 (bad eyesight) and the Download button is off the screen. The WMLDM developers wrote a website that doesn’t allow scrolling and is designed for 1024×768 or larger screens.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Two more favourites:

    Q. What version of Windows do you have installed?

    A. 97

    and

    Q. Why doesn’t my new computer have Windows on it?

    Both meaning Office, of course.

  21. Anonymous says:

    So you’re saying the Outlook isn’t so good for 2007?

  22. Anonymous says:

    I love it when this extends to all things even slightly technological. People ask me for help figuring out their mobile phones, why their TV antenna isn’t working properly, how to connect the VCR…

    As for computer problems, the correct answer is "have you tried closing it and opening it again" or simply "oh yeah, computers are pretty weird aren’t they".

  23. Anonymous says:

    @GregM

    Don’t get the shirt. It only makes things worse ;)

    It seemed cute when I got it for a gift, but I’ve even had random strangers asking me about their computer problems while wearing that one…

  24. Anonymous says:

    Some years ago my grandfather phoned me, asking how to save a letter he wrote using Word.

    Me: "Just click the little brown floppy disk, near the top-left corner."

    Him: "Hm… nope. Sorry, couldn’t find it."

    Me: "OK. Click ‘File’, then ‘Save’."

    Him: "Great, it opened that old screen asking me the title of my letter. Thanks!"

    Ten minutes later he phoned me again.

    Him: "Hey. Everything fine with my letter, but I searched again for that floppy disk and couldn’t find it. Where is it?"

    Me: "Just below ‘File’ there’s a little blank sheet of paper."

    Him: "Yes, I can see it."

    Me: "Go right two or three pictures. The brown disk is there."

    Him: "Oh, please! Why didn’t you say to me that I should click the little brown TV set?"

    He tried explaining it to me, but I still can’t understand how a floppy disk looks like a TV set…

  25. Anonymous says:

    This happened to me too.  I finally gave up and disowned my family.

    It was that or computers.

  26. rickbrew says:

    I found a way to fix this back in college at WSU … I was in my dorm room doing some random homework and a guy I know knocks on the door and asks, "Hey Rick can you help me figure out why my computer won’t print?"

    Me: "Sorry man, I’m an agriculture major. I don’t know anything about computers."

    Him: "Dang you Rick!"

    See, they knew I was a computer guy and that I probably could figure it out. But by telling them I was an ag major it was a clever yet slightly more polite (albeit smart-alecky) way of saying "No."

    Except this half backfired at a party one time when I was talking to a girl and she said something about her laptop acting up and if I knew anything about laptops.

    Me: "Nope, sorry, I’m an agriculture major."

    Her: *all excited* "Me too!!!"

  27. Anonymous says:

    Just proves that we are building software with UI that is confusing, not obvious and difficult to use. Suggest your folks to try Microsoft Bob :) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Bob)

  28. Anonymous says:

    On the contrary, I refuse to support anyone who spend no effort on identifying things. :P

  29. Anonymous says:

    I have a policy that says "If you have pirated software on your PC, I won’t fix it.", because those are usually the PCs which are extremely malware infested. That is after I had lowered the threshold of saying "save the data you need, format and install Windows". Most people have far fewer things than us techies. You help them get the Outlook files and some documents/pictures and are good to go.

    Seeing the amount of malware that some people manage to live with is often amazing. "Yeah, those windows are always there."

    If all else fails, do what Gabe of Penny Arcade did:

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/05/07

    :)

  30. Anonymous says:

    If I’d have $1 every time I’ve heard that the person’s operating system is "Windows 2000 Millenium" or "Windows Millenium 2000"…

  31. Anonymous says:

    My solution is the following:

    • For the closest relatives I installed some remote desktop stuff, so if they have a problem I can check/review the problem with them online. They can see where I click and then they learn how to do that again.

    • For not too close relatives, I point them to computer repair shops, who go to their houses and fixes/reinstalls stuff if needed.

    • But this Xmas was not OK, I had to install 4 new computers with all the updates and small utilities. Grrhh.

  32. Anonymous says:

    julio, presumably that’s because you aren’t old enough to remember when tv sets looked like that. :)

    Somehow I seem to get less of this these days, I’m not sure if that’s because computing has got easier, my relatives have got more adept or if I’ve perfected the "please don’t you dare ask me about your computer" look I always wanted….

  33. Anonymous says:

    The biggest support issue I have to deal with these days is computers slowing down after a few months of use.  People think "my computer is getting old, maybe i should get a new one."

    Invariably it is one of three things:

    1) Spyware… duh.  Lots of it.  Even with all the XP2 features turned on, people still let in the spyware.  This is typically because they are running as admin.  I’d like to think Vista takes a step towards addressing this.

    2) Bloatware.  Many (popular) third party programs think they absolutely have to have some stub on ALL THE TIME with an icon sitting in the notification area ("na").  Photo software does NOT belong in the na and I can think of no reason it needs to ever be there when the camera is not plugged in.  Graphics card settings dialogs NEVER need to have an icon there.  Printer setups don’t need to put icons there either.  These installs are merely designed to get a logo in your face 24/7, so you remember to promote their products.  <TongueInCheek>I wish there was a way Windows just uninstalled all of this stuff and disabled the hardware from working when vendors do this crap</TongueInCheek>.

    Bloatware offense #2: I have built a popular document reader that takes an eternity to load up. This is the most important application on your desktop, so I will secretly run myself on startup to load 90% of me (minus the GUI) until you need me, so now you will think I am speedy.  Too bad I crash and burn everytime you shut the system down (on several machines), but at least you will blame MSFT for it.

    3) The system really does need more RAM.  People buy computers cheap, which is fine, but they typically are underpowered in the RAM department.  This simple and cheap upgrade often makes the machine lightning fast (since most of these users just email, web, and write).

  34. Anonymous says:

    Neil: My mother tells me she is assured by her IT manager that there is no such thing as Office XP – she must mean Windows XP instead, it’s Office 2000, which is the latest…

    KTamas: Just wait until we all start having to demangle whatever ‘Windows Vista Ultimate x64’ ends up as.

  35. Anonymous says:

    "…Plus, sniff sniff, you want to be wanted for who you are and not what you know."

    ‘I heard an old religious man

    Had found a text to show

    Only that God, from Whom the floods

    Of all compassion flow,

    Could want you just for what you are,

    And not for what you know.’

    -Wang-W-B-Yeats-Lo.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I think maybe the next iteration of the desktop OS should have a single SKU, and it should be called Microsoft Windows Outlook.

    What, that wouldn’t help? :)

  37. Anonymous says:

    it always amazes me when people are staring right at a word or sentence and read it completely wrong.  over and over again.

    I’ve decided that "computer skills" really just means "I know how to read"

  38. Anonymous says:

    re Bloatware: somehow I doubt un-checking the "show systray icon" in the Video Card properities page actually saves any resources. That would require a programmer to do something beyond removing an icon. Plus I’m sure the systray notification linkage DLL is a tiny part compared to a 3MB video driver… in the old days there was a seperate "helper" app that could be removed.

    tech support: I used to help friends with the intention of teaching them how to fix it next time. Then I realized they just want me to do it for them always… even the technically literate.

    Call me selfish, but now I only look at problems I have not encountered before. Then it’s a challenge.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Steve:

    Somewhere in computing, we’ve taken a wrong turn. We’ve built a system where things only work by careful nurturing

    Not all computers are like that. Windows can be secure and rock stable in the face of relatives, but it wouldn’t sell as well.

    I don’t mind doing tech support for relatives

    I don’t do tech support for relatives. Basically, I’m not willing to deal with all the maddening stuff in this thread for free, and I’ve not done tech support for pay for long enough that I wouldn’t feel good charging money for it.

  40. MSDN Archive says:

    Dearest Family:

    I understand that computers are often perplexing to you, and you are desperate for someone to come along and help. I am glad to help, but you must adhere to the following rules:

    1. You must be running Windows XP SP2, Server 2003, or Vista.  
    2. Only I get to know the administrator password.

    (This brings the scope of the problem down to the point where I can handle it.)

  41. Anonymous says:

    My brother in law has got a thing for the latest techno gadgets and gizmo’s, but he never knows how to use them. For instance he upgraded his camera from a 5MPixel Sony DSC-P10 to a new slimmer Sony model with 7MPixel. It would be nice if he would give me the 5MPixel one, or at least sell it to me, but he doesn’t even know where it is anymore. He has had 5 PDA’s in the last 5 years, would be nice if I could have one of those, but he doesn’t remeber where they are anymore and the list goes on. ( he’s got a digital handycam somewhere as well )

    Now he had this PC with decent specs for everyday usage ( 1.6Ghz Pentium, 17" LCD, 512 MB RAM ) but the thing was stuffed to the brim with spyware. You know the case where you can’t even get one decent app to start anymore. Well he blamed it on the fact that it was an old pc. He was a bit weary about me doing any cleanup work, for some reason he doesn’t trust me with his PC’s ( a LOL is in place here ). So he decided to upgrade and replace his laptop at the same time. He bought a Sony VAIO and gave his old laptop to my sister ( his wife ). And the old desktop PC? A nice PC for anyone looking to do some first time computing? I found it on their attic once while helping my sister to clean up. I didn’t get it though, because supposedly they would be giving it to his mother. Well a half year later, and it’s still there.

    Now this drives me 10 x as nuts as my mom calling about having no internet (  her WIFI is crappy ) and lots of viruses ( mails from her friends’ zombie PC’s that are scanned at ISP site with [Virus] tag in header ).

  42. Anonymous says:

    I’ve read how-to articles (in major papers) that say people buy a new computer after 6 months or a year because it is "slow" or "outdated" when in fact the PC is just clogged with malware. They buy a new machine because 1) it’s easier than dealing with confusing technology and 2) it’s the American throw-away culture.

    To what extent has spyware/spam/etc contributed to the economy by inducing spending? Excluding direct spending on Norton or McAfee and viagra.

  43. Anonymous says:

    My father is good for stuff like this.  Take Windows… the windows themselves… see that little X, and the little line and the two boxes, those buttons in the top right of windows… they do stuff… pretty consistent stuff.  However, for him, each window, and what it can do, can be completely different, they might as well all just Blow Up Computer unless I tell him differently, for each computer.

    Worse was the detailed, incredibly detailed list of instructions for how to connect to our dialup ISP.  He followed those instructions each and every time, as if he had never seen them before, for years.  It only came to an end when we got cable internet.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Whenever someone tells me they have a problem with their computer, I insist on specifics. Unless I can get close to the exact text of the error message (it’s usually an error message they are asking about), I tell them I would have to look at the computer myself.

    Also, if they cannot follow my instructions, I insist on doing the fix myself.

    Thus, while I do get requests, they aren’t really very annoying, I only really have to look at more serious problems and those tend to be quite challenging and give an actual sense of achivement when fixed.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I get this stuff all the time.  Thankfully I have been able to teach my family/relatives *not* to click all those "Your computer is infected with spyware! Click here to download!" ads.

    A good website to check out is http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid

    It is full of incidents like this.  My favorite categories are "Revenge" and "Hardware"

  46. Anonymous says:

    "If I had a nickel for every time someone told me, ‘My Microsoft crashed….’

    PMP"

    Have you met Bill Gates?  He *does* have a nickel for every time someone told him "My Microsoft crashed…."

    -Wang-Lo.

  47. Anonymous says:

    One of my relatives calls every program

    Outlook.

    I’ll trade you one who calls nearly every program Yahoo.

    "Plus, sniff sniff, you want to be wanted for

    who you are and not what you know."

    Naaah.  That’s what you need in order to get a good job, that’s not how you make friends.

    Monday, January 01, 2007 10:05 AM by Rosyna

    I’m in an opposite issue, most users tend to

    blame us for everything under the sun.

    Um, I thought anyone who could use a Sun would know better.  I only get blamed by Windows users.

    (I wish this wouldn’t need a </pun> tag.)

    Monday, January 01, 2007 11:00 AM by Steve Loughran

    Somewhere in computing, we’ve taken a wrong

    turn.

    Not really.  There’s a turn that we haven’t yet taken.  Or there’s a turn that we’ve half-taken, hiding technical details from technicians who need them, while still not making appliances that work as appliances for non-technicians.

    […] but I’m getting so fed up with spyware

    cleanups on legal XPSP2 boxes that I’m tempted

    to move to a linux-only policy.

    I got sufficiently fed up that I refused to repeat a cleanup for someone who should have understood it the first time.  But I think it’s understandable how each person can get tricked, even repeatedly, until someone teaches them once.

    But I don’t think a Linux-only policy would work.  I installed Linux for two computer geeks but they never use it, they never have time to switch away from the systems that they need for ordinary work, and in recent years I also never have time to make that switch.

    Ubuntu doesn’t even come with the firewall

    blocking anything,

    Ooh.  Competing with the latest downloadable build of a more famous server.

  48. Anonymous says:

    The problem would be solved if Microsoft used generic names such as Spreadsheet, Word Processor, IDE, etc., but then there is the risk of confusion with other products on the market. Software should be sufficiently standardized in the future that it should be possible to use such generic terms, and then the problem will go away.  

    There was the article in the Economist on this subject–earlier there were different kinds of screws made by different companies, but nowadays it doesn’t matter much since the screws have been basically standardized. Once the software market matures to a certain point it should be possible to obtain standarized applications that will not differ much between vendors, and the need for distinction will basically disappear.

  49. Anonymous says:

    The need for many distinctions already has disappeared. Visualize the following as fierce suns around which dozens of commodified OS features already revolve:

       — the C standard library

       — a graphically rendered web page

    Have you seen Google’s spreadsheet yet? In a few years, your parents will be saying Google Excel, and only Microsoft’s trademark lawyers will care.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Boris:

    The problem would be solved if Microsoft used generic names such as Spreadsheet, Word Processor, IDE, etc., but then there is the risk of confusion with other products on the market. Software should be sufficiently standardized in the future that it should be possible to use such generic terms, and then the problem will go away.  

    If you did that, how would you trademark your product and how would you know who made it (assuming that mattered)?

    earlier there were different kinds of screws made by different companies, but nowadays it doesn’t matter much since the screws have been basically standardized.

    Microsoft Word is not a phillips head screw. Also, I wager that screws are not a very high margin thing now (Word is). Even so, still matters for some things – getting a set of fasteners for your engine block from ARP might just save your bacon if you’re building a 500HP beast. Drywall, not so much.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Cooney: Obviously it would still be Microsoft Spreadsheet, add to that perhaps Model 5000 or another such designation. Note that some software is already going in this direction — a C++ compiler is usually called an <insert name here> C++ compiler. Notebooks have all kinds of designations, but most people still call it a notebook made by a company X and don’t really bother with model numbers and product lines.

    What I’m saying is that distinguishing your software by a name that doesn’t say anything won’t be necessary once it becomes an appliance. I’m sure toasters have special names now (MyCompany ToastPro 5000), but who remembers these names or designations? People call it a toaster, or toaster made by company X, and if you’re really picky you might add a model number to it, but that’s as far as it goes.

  52. Anonymous says:

    I like using Fog Creek Copilot for this sort of thing. When people have a problem, and you make them pay ($5USD) they tend to remember it a bit more.

    Also, you are actually SHOWING them what you are doing. I know from working in e commerce that people don’t read, they look at pictures.

    My parents, who couldn’t even tell if they are running windows or not, have been spyware *free* for nearly a year now because I showed them what NOT to do.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Everything is not Outlook here. Our most annoying misnomer is, "I opened it in Adobe…", "I’m having trouble with my Adobe…" – Adobe WHAT?! Whether it’s Photoshop, Acrobat Reader or even IrfanView, if it’s vaguely graphically orientated, it must be Adobe. And, it doesn’t help that the company has renamed their PDF viewer "Adobe Reader". Of course, we are also plagued by the "I was typing in Microsoft and now I can’t find my document" problem, but at least Word and Excel are Microsoft products.

    It’s alarming how few users know what version of Windows or Office they’re using. We had numerous calls from people insisting that they were running Windows’97 or Office XP (before it was even written).

  54. Anonymous says:

    Marklar.  Smurf.  Outlook.

  55. boxmonkey says:

    One of my co-workers (in another department, thankfully) calls USB ports "jump drives."

    It took me a while to figure out why she would complain that her mouse wasn’t working when she plugged it into the jump drive.

  56. Anonymous says:

    It took me a while to figure out why she would complain that her mouse wasn’t working when she plugged it into the jump drive.

    You can’t just plug mice into a jump drive – they might end up in the middle of a star!

  57. Anonymous says:

    Don’t get the shirt. It only makes things worse ;)

    It seemed cute when I got it for a gift, but I’ve even had

    random strangers asking me about their computer problems while

    wearing that one…

    You could solve that by getting a shirt that says:

     I worship Cthulhu.

     Cthulhu eats babies.

    I’m sure that would discourage queries from random strangers.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Everything is not Outlook here. Our most annoying

    misnomer is, "I opened it in Adobe…",

    "I’m having trouble with my Adobe…" – Adobe WHAT?!

    Whether it’s Photoshop, Acrobat Reader or even IrfanView,

    if it’s vaguely graphically orientated, it

    must be Adobe.

    I’ll see your "everything is Adobe" and raise you an inability to pronounce Adobe.  If I hear "Why can’t I open this with Adowe-b" one more time I won’t be responsible for my actions.

  59. Anonymous says:

    My wife has it worse: she is a medical doctor.

    Ever since her second year as a medical student both our families have been looking up to her as the family expert on everything from simple head-aches to massive surgery.

    How would you react when as a second-year student your are asked "the professor says we should operate. what do you think"?

  60. Anonymous says:

    Meh I just solved the problem by having my grandparents buy a Mac and then pled ignorance.

Comments are closed.