Posted On: Fri, Sep-01-2000
Written By: jonny
Title: Guru's World 09/2000: A collection of six rants
Introduction: A collection of six rants from the the tech bench of jonnyGURU...

Page 1:

RANT ONE (Just because your a tech, doesn't mean you can't ask for advice)

This guy came in with a 503+ motherboard claiming that it was defective.

He said that the machine would constantly pop up with registry errors.

I like dealing with computer parts in such a large volume because you can use percentages of returned product in relation to product sold to make a point. And using numbers make you sound intelligent.

I asked him if had he tried another CPU in the motherboard. He said no.

This is why I asked: Of all the stuff I've tested in the past, when I get chronic registry errors, 70% of the time I'll replace the processor and the problem goes away. 20% of the time it's the motherboard. I'll give 5% to RAM and 5% to "other". See? I used numbers. Pretty intelligent, eh?

So I tested his board with my 500 MHz K6 processor. It worked flawlessly. I ran BCM for a couple loops and it never crashed. While it was running I decided to talk to the guy.

I said to him that the problem he was having was likely the CPU.

Of course he has to point out that he got that component from us as well like it would make any difference at this point. Lie I would say, "No, sorry sir. Only one visit per customer, per day. You'll have to come back tomorrow with that CPU!".

I told him that if he had called tech support first I would've told him to bring both in and if he wants to call me when he gets home we could go over a few things.

Now here the part that struck me funny:

He said he was a tech himself and therefore didn't need to call our tech support.


I know that I can be pretty cocky, but I swear that I'll ALWAYS ask the other techs if I have to, ASI's tech, AMD's tech, you guys, etc. for advice if there is ever a shadow of doubt in my mind that I could be wrong.

Nope. Not this guy. He's SUCH A GOOD tech that he needs NOBODY'S help in ANY matter.

Whew! Fruit loopy if you ask me! I can only figure that he just hasn't been a tech for very long. Sort of reminds me of when I managed the bicycle shop way back when. We would get kids in all of the time that would BEG to work for us. We learned that the guy you WOULDN'T hire out of the bunch is the guy that insisted he knew everything. If someone insists that they know everything, then how can they be accepting to learn something "new"? And, certainly you can't tell me that some kid that built a dozen BMX bike for friends necessarily knows one thing about overhauling a Sturmey Archer 3 speed never mind a Bendix kick-back 2 speed! ;-)

I replaced the board for him anyway because I could use the 503+ for myself. I told him that when he realizes that the problem is actually the CPU because I replaced his perfectly good board for him with another good board, he can come on in and we'll swap it out for him as well!

Page 2:

RANT TWO (Identity Crisis)

In the following, the names and phone numbers have been changed to protect the ignorant.

This guy called that I charged a restocking fee for because he returned a hard drive for credit that he "did not need", but yet he opened it up.

I was willing to reverse the decision since it was only $12 and an open hard drive is no big deal since I could always use it in a build. I was in a really good mood.

Now before you people pass judgment on me and think that I'm always a grump, I'll have you know it doesn't take much to make me in a good mood or persuade me to turn things around in your favor. If I didn't have to deal with so many jackasses, I'd be so happy my freaking head would explode. I think it was obvious that I was in a good mood based on the patience I had with this guy and his current identity crisis.

"What's your invoice number?"

"I don't have it."

"What was your RMA number?"

"I don't have it."

Of course first, I had to FIND the guy. "What's your name?"

"My name is John Doe."

"OK sir, I have no John Doe in the system. Could it have been under another name?"

"Try Joe Smith."

"OK sir, I have no Joe Smith in the system. What is the phone number that would've been typed in when the order was placed?"

"Try 813-555-6273."

I type in 813-555-6273 but there is nothing. I look one below and see a 813-555-6723 and think that that may be it. "Could it be under the name Jill White?"


"Well sir, that phone number is not in the system and this is as close of a phone number as I have. Isn't the shipping address 12345 Bigoak Dr?"

"Yeah! Yeah, that's it!"

"OK. That's Jill Smith. Let me put the restocking fee back on the credit card."

"OK. The name on the credit card is Jeremiah Black."

Wait a freaking minute! Who's this Jeremiah Black character? I don't see that name anywhere! If that's really the name on the credit card and that name is not in the system, how did they get the credit card approved?!?! "Well sir. I don't show that name as a cardholder, but I do show that a credit card that ended with 4567 was used to purchase the drive initially. May I credit that card back?"

"Oh. Ummm.. Sure. OK."


Page 3:

RANT THREE (More power to ya!)

Wow! Some people want so much information, that they can only manage to confuse themselves in the end.

I just got off the phone with a guy that insisted I tell him what the amperage draw off of the wall outlet is for a power supply he had received from us.

I was so taken off guard by the question that I ummed and awwed and eventually put him on hold so I could take a St. John's Wort and a swig of Mountain Dew. The amperage draw is probably only like 4 or 5 Amps tops with your typical build, but still. Who cares!??! Are you hooking it up to a Honda generator?

I got back on the phone and said to him that I did not have that information, but was curious as to what he needed the information for.

He told me that he was buying a battery back up and wanted to know what the amperage draw of the computer was so he could determine what VA rating of UPS he should buy.

I explained to him that the PC's draw is going to be the least of his worry and that the monitor should be his biggest concern.

He said he just wanted to be sure that he bought a UPS with enough juice to cover both the PC and the monitor.

I then explained to him that they put information on the box of the UPS that explains how long a particular UPS is going to last with a particular monitor.

He said, "Right, but it doesn't say anything about the power supply. What if one guy has a 200W and the next have a 400W. Shouldn't that be taken into consideration?"

"Actually, No." I responded, "Fact is the difference between a 200W and 400W at the wall is only going to be 1 or 2A on a 120V line! It's NOTHING! And that's assuming that the PC with the 400W power supply is even a PC that NEEDS that much more power!"

He was very skeptical of my response, "Hmm.... I don't know. I think I would want to buy a larger VA UPS for a bigger power supply. Mine's a 300W, therefore I would think that I would need a larger UPS than someone would with a 150 or 200W"

I'm thinking, this guy and 90% of the freaking population have a 300W power supply! Come on! I'm starting to get a little tired of this conversation so I tell the gentleman to just go out and buy a UPS like a 1000 VA, that's much, much more that he could possibly need.

"No... That would be foolishly expensive. If I don't need it, why buy it?"

"OK... Fine. What size is your monitor?"

He tells me that it's a 17" monitor. Cool, I'm ending this conversation right now.

"OK, sir. I can recommend a 420 VA UPS for use with your 17" monitor and your 300W power supply powered PC. This should give you about 30 minutes of use after a power failure."

"30 minutes?" He says, rather surprised. "Heck! I don't need to be on for 30 minutes. What do you think I need if I only want it to run for 5 minutes?"

UNBELIEVABLE! What a putz! The end of the rope has been met. I grasp the phone cord in my fist and start my final sentence. "Well sir, if 5 minutes is all you are looking for..." YANK!

Page 4:

RANT FOUR (No no no. The Bus is only 100 MHz and goes up your ass, sir.)

I actually feel bad. I hung up on someone today. This guy did everything to rub me the wrong way. First he calls for tech support, but doesn't want tech support. He argues with my logic then puts down our product.

He didn't yell. He didn't curse. He just rubbed me the wrong way.

He bought an Intel PIII 700 with a 100 MHz bus.

He bought an Asus P3V4X motherboard.

He bought PC133 RAM.

He called:

"I've got this motherboard and CPU and RAM and it's not compatible"

That happens. People buy Socket 7 CPUs and try to put them in Socket 370 boards, so I get ready to give him an RMA number. He tells me what he bought and I ask him what's not compatible about it.

"The CPU is a 100 MHz bus and the motherboard is 133. That's not going to work."

Of course, he's wrong. The conversation is going well and I can understand where he's coming from, so I try to explain it to him: "No sir. The board is capable of UP TO 133 MHz bus. You can use your 100 MHz bus CPU in it, or even a 66 MHz bus CPU if you wanted to. It makes no difference. And, you can use the RAM too since the RAM can run up to 133, but certainly also 66 and 100 as well."

He then tells me, "Sure it will work, but Windows will crash and you will get Windows Protection Errors, etc. etc."

Hmm... I don't know where he gets his information from, but I decide to back mine with my own experiences. "Sir, that's really not true. I've built 100 MHz bus CPUs and 66 MHz bus Celerons on that very board with no incident and have installed every operating system from 98 to 2000 to Linux and never have had a problem because the CPU is one bus speed and the board is capable of higher."

I kept saying "capable" because I thought it would help maintain my standpoint that the board would do UP TO 133. Unfortunately, he felt that my pointing out all of the machines I've built as a way to belittle him and imply that I have built more machines then he. Of course, whether or not I've built more PCs than him is a moot point. My point is that he is wrong in his assumption about this combination.

"Well I've built hundreds of machines and I know that this is going to cause a problem. You can't have different things on the board running at different bus speeds."

OK. Fine. So the guy is "experienced". Let's try to explain it logically. "Sir, the CPU bus speed is the most important factor. As long as everything is capable of running at least the bus speed of the CPU, you're cool. Now, the other way around isn't going to work.It's not like you can run PC66 RAM on a 100 MHz system bus CPU. That won't work and maybe that's what you are thinking of."

Of course, he can't be wrong: "It makes no difference if the CPU is faster bus or the RAM is faster bus. It's the same problem. You will have issues! You need to have your CPU, RAM and motherboard all the same bus speed."

OK. I'm getting a little weary. "Sir. Did you TRY to build up the PC?" Of course he hadn't. "Sir. Did you open the retail boxed processor, because if you hadn't I will swap it for a 133 bus processor."

"I opened it because I wanted to check it out to see if it could be run at a 100 or 133 MHZ bus speed."

"Sir. You opened it. I'm not going to take it back. Why did you open it if you're not even going to try to install it?"

"Why did they let me leave there with a 100 MHz bus CPU and a 133 board and RAM?"

"Sir. Why did you ORDER A 100 MHZ BUS CPU IN THE FIRST PLACE??? Furthermore, they let you leave here because we all know that the combination you bought works PERFECTLY."

"No it doesn't. I'm an MCSE, NCE, A+ with 30 years experience. I was sniffing PCBs in Submarines for your country while you were still in diapers..."

I needed to wrap this up (three people on hold waiting for support) and there wasn't anything I could do for him since there was nothing wrong with any of his parts.

"Sir. What if you had a Celeron. A Celeron has a 66 MHz front side bus. Any BX or i810 board is capable of a 100 MHz bus, and you'd be hard pressed to find true PC66 RAM. What then? Will that board not function properly?" I should've stopped there, but once he went on his "how dare you question my ability rant" I just went off. "What about all of the KX133 boards and KT133 boards that people are building with PC133 RAM when the AMD Athlon CPU only uses a 100 MHz front side bus?"

All this time neither one of us raised our voice or said a single obscenity. We actually stayed as calm as two friends talking Football at a bar. Sure, there was a "tone" with both of us, but nothing offensive. More like a "The Bucs suck" vs. "No, Dilfer sucked" kind of an argument. It did kind of tick me off that he wouldn't admit that he was wrong and was trying to imply that his previous experience meant he knew more than me. The icing on the cake was when he said...

"I don't care how those AMDs work. I don't use those. They are all flaky. I always use Intel."

I just couldn't take it anymore.

I just took the phone from my ear, and without saying anything, quietly hung up.

Needless to say, one of the managers asked to speak with me later that day.

Page 5:

RANT FIVE (Here's another motherboard. Blow this up for me.)

Ahead of time, I would like your forgiveness for the excessive use of the word "Jackass". This individual really set me off.

So anyway, this JACKASS gets an FIC 503+ motherboard.

Can be a piece of crap, sure. But, when it works it works well.

Well, this JACKASS calls me complaining that the keyboard port does not work. It happens. Not often. Maybe 1 out of 1000 boards, but it happens.

I give him an RMA number and he sends the board back.

When I get the board back the first thing I notice is that JACKASS just slapped a label on the FIC box and shipped it that way. The box was CRUSHED, but JACKASS got lucky and there was no physical damage to the board. I then test the KBD circuit and I notice there is no continuity through the keyboard fuse. I think to just solder the circuit solid, but the other tech said that we would be much worse off with FIC if the KBD BIOS blows and they find out that we modded the board. He's right, so I just replace the board but without the box because it got ruined.


The REPLACEMENT board ALSO, at this time, has a non-functioning keyboard port. This time I have to see what's up with this. Two in a row? I ask him what kind of keyboard. He says Mitsumi. Any additional peripherals powered by the keyboard port? Hub? Joystick? No? Is the keyboard on a switch? Yes? AHA!

I tell the guy that it is likely his KVM switch is probably bad and thus blowing the KBD fuses on the motherboard.

He tells me that the KVM switch was expensive and thus couldn't be the problem. SO?!?! My wife spent $12,000 on her Ford and the freaking tranny still fell out of it after only two years! Point?? He says that the other two PCs on the switch are fine. So? Two's company. Three's a crowd? I dunno! But two boards in a row??? Come on!

I told him that despite this being the second board and even though we think that the problem is likely the switch, I would replace the board AGAIN for the guy.

I got the other board in and found, once again, the blown KBD fuse. I clued the other tech in as to what was going on. I sent out the third board, making CERTAIN that it's keyboard port works.

He gets the board and a week later calls telling me that the board locks up a lot with known good CPU and RAM. I jokingly made the comment that "at least it's not a blown keyboard port" and he said that he hadn't even gotten around to trying the board on a switch. I gave him yet another RMA.

Upon its return, the third board came to the other tech. This time, the other tech sends a board that was tested, not only for a working keyboard port, but also "burned in" to assure that it wouldn't lock up or crash. That board got shipped to the customer.

Now, the customer has received the third board and has tested it to his satisfaction. He builds up a machine with it and then THE JACKASS DECIDES TO HOOK IT UP TO THE GOD DAMN SWITCH.

Guess what.


Blown keyboard port!

He now calls and talking to the other tech is INSISTING on another motherboard! He also said that I never implied that the switch was the problem. BULLSHIT!! I told the other tech NOT to give him another RMA and that he was being lied to.

I can't believe that the JACKASS told him that I never told him not to use the switch! Let us, for a moment, assume that I did NOT tell him not to hook the PC to the switch. YOU WOULD THINK that he could figure that out on his own!

I'm FLOORED! He wants a different motherboard! Guess what! The original one got crushed when he used it as a shipping box. Sorry. Incomplete product means exchange for same product only!

NOW he wants to talk to a manager! I should've never replaced the second board! I was being nice, now he's going to be an ASS!

This article comes from JonnyGURU

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