"Ever since you guys put a new hard drive in my modem I can't see the Swedish Bikini Team"This is how the conversation started. I knew right away that I was dealing with a novice, but this man had the nerve to admit WHY he wanted his modem to work. Another customer, who was using Netscape 3.0 back when browsers stored your browsing history in the address bar without giving you a way to erase it, had a different problem:
"The kids were doing something on the computer, and now there's smutty websites showing up when I try to type in a web address. How do I get rid of them before the wife sees it?"In the first case, the problem turned out to be the modem settings. Modems have never been easy to set up because several poor design factors in computers; first the classic modem hardware competed with other devices for scare resources, and then, when hardware started improving, modem manufacturers started cheapening their designs with buggy, unreliable, CPU-hogging software modems. Now things are pretty sane, and lots of people have high-speed Internet anyway. The customer's settings were messed up because we installed a new hard drive in his computer, which had an internal modem; I guess someone told him the box with the phone line is the modem.
For the second user, there was little he could do since he was unable to edit the registry. I told him to browse the web to 10 different sites so that he could replace the history entries. Unfortunately I couldn't walk him through it because he only had one phone line, and needed to dial-up to access the 'net. Now I'd ask him to call me back on his cell phone. Ah cell phones, high-speed Internet.... heck these days some ADSL and cable modems probably do have hard-drives.