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0627: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet"

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:00 am UTC
by Zorlin
Image

Link: http://xkcd.com/627/

Alt-text: 'Hey Megan, it's your father. How do I print out a flowchart?'

I may end up putting this on my door.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:02 am UTC
by niteice
Conveniently, I leave for school tomorrow morning.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:03 am UTC
by Zorlin
niteice wrote:Conveniently, I leave for school tomorrow morning.

I guess it's a personalized present from Randall to yourself.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:03 am UTC
by gtdawg
Dude, don't give away my secret.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:04 am UTC
by Tawnos
Randall, now what am I going to do if my current job falls through?! You've ruined my other line of work :(

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:04 am UTC
by glasnt
For some reason this reminds me of a mate's father. He's a professor at uni, and works with flowcharts and mindmaps all the time.

To the point where as part of his speech for his son's wedding he pulls out a piece of paper that we all assume is some notes.. until he unfolds it.. and unfolds it again.. and again.. and again.. until it's revealed that it's a A2-sized mindmap of stuff he was going to talk about in his speech. :lol:

I just sat there thinking 'how the heck did he find a printer that could print something that big at short notice?' (He was still finalising it on the night before the wedding. He must have an awesome home printer.


Hi joee.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:05 am UTC
by Lasher
hoho this is perfect :lol:

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:05 am UTC
by Omegaton
Wow, I've been a computer expert all along.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:07 am UTC
by vslayer
ah so true. although the "ask for help or give up" box is usually preceded by "swap out all the hardware until it works"

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:11 am UTC
by sundance
In case this is too tough, make sure you print out the pre-req: http://xkcd.com/518/

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:12 am UTC
by glasnt
This flowchart has a flaw.

If you click a button, and it doesn't work but you've been 'trying all day', then you never get to the googling bit, nor actually trying more than one button, nor actually trying for any extended period of time.

Then again, I've tech-supported everyone who would have tried 'all day long and it's too ha-ha-haaarrrddd... oh, you mean that button?'

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:14 am UTC
by VHBT
Actually, it is important to know where to find the options menu and how to recognize it (it may be disguised as either "settings" or "preferences" and can be hidden under any of File, Edit, or Tools).

That's probably the hardest part of most of the tech support I do.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:16 am UTC
by Eternal Density
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
Having high intuition levels make finding the right thing to click a lot easier :D
Yeah, finding where the settings, preferences, or other options are is also an important step.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:17 am UTC
by joee
Hehe... I wish I worked on a helpdesk so I could print this out and put it up

HI GLASNT

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:19 am UTC
by Squid Tamer
Great comic! There should be a flowchart for every task!

Though, everyone that I know that needs this chart would mistake "Start" for the start button.

And I think that it is best if you add "Click Undo" between the "no" of "Did it work" and "Have you been trying this for over half an hour?" Else that Word document might get really strange really fast! :) (Note to self: Click every menu item in Microsoft Word and look at the effect.)

And, realistically, Google always comes before time-intensive labor!

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:20 am UTC
by Mavrisa
I always wonder if I'm strange for finding flow-chart comics some of the most hilarious comics I've ever seen, such as the panflute flowchart comic on tpfd: http://www.toothpastefordinner.com/0206 ... wchart.gif

Today's comic follows this trend. And it also has the perk of being quite accurate. I just move the mouse quickly between menus and don't say "uhhh" when I can help it and most think of me as a pro xD

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:20 am UTC
by Omegaton
VHBT wrote:Actually, it is important to know where to find the options menu and how to recognize it (it may be disguised as either "settings" or "preferences" and can be hidden under any of File, Edit, or Tools).

That's probably the hardest part of most of the tech support I do.

Haha, where to find preferences was one of the first things I had to figure out when I switched to Mac. It was quite annoying for the short time I didn't know where it was.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:23 am UTC
by GrandPubah
glasnt wrote:This flowchart has a flaw.

If you click a button, and it doesn't work but you've been 'trying all day', then you never get to the googling bit, nor actually trying more than one button, nor actually trying for any extended period of time.

Then again, I've tech-supported everyone who would have tried 'all day long and it's too ha-ha-haaarrrddd... oh, you mean that button?'


I think it's assumed that you will not continue to try the same button-that-looks-like-it-might-be-related, and thus run out of related-looking buttons and move on to the googling flow. Then again, assumptions should be stated in these sorts of things.

Then again, people who need this chart probably wouldn't be so picky over the details as to recognize when an assumption is being made (just us nerds :P ).

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:26 am UTC
by '; DROP DATABASE;--
It's completely true. Some kids at school once thought I was a genius for figuring out that the music editor on the Mac could record voice. I was just like well there's a clearly-labelled microphone on the screen... let's look under File... Input... Source, let's set that to microphone, oh hey it works. Not really that difficult.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:26 am UTC
by westrim
The issue most people have with computer is that they look at the screen and their brains just shut down, because they've categorized computers into "not something I'm good at" and locked the door. They can be the most intuitive person on earth, a polyglot, and a prolific author, but they can't apply their mental thesaurus to 'preferences' or 'settings' and spit out 'options, the things you need to check'. And even if by some miracle they figure it out for a program they use regularly such as Word, they can't apply it to other programs.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:27 am UTC
by glasnt
joee wrote:Hehe... I wish I worked on a helpdesk so I could print this out and put it up

Right next to this one:
Image

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:28 am UTC
by xlro
This is definitely one of the best xkcd comics ever, and I've been reading for a long time.
The alt text alone is so funny. :D
The concept in the flowchart is spot on, yet apparently hard to describe in most situations (or they just don't believe you). :P

Gotta print this out and distribute it asap.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:33 am UTC
by crazdgamer
... I'm guessing pressing F1 is out of the question?

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:41 am UTC
by Max2009
So true.
I was the local computer expert for 5 years, only because I knew about this flow chart, with the addition of "check to see if it's plugged in" and "swap around hardware".
And there's a couple of special boxes for printers. "Pull out the piece of paper that got stuck", "reset the printer" and my favorite "hit it until it works". You'd be surprised how often the last one works.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:44 am UTC
by CrispyCrew
Funny, but Randall has made earlier comics that don't seem to hold you by the hand through the joke. The comedy would have been sharper had all the text "outside" the flowchart been omitted, and yet we all still would have got it.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:49 am UTC
by xlro
CrispyCrew wrote:Funny, but Randall has made earlier comics that don't seem to hold you by the hand through the joke. The comedy would have been sharper had all the text "outside" the flowchart been omitted, and yet we all still would have got it.

but then you can't send the link to "non computer people", which is a big plus of this comic :wink:

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:57 am UTC
by westrim
CrispyCrew wrote:Funny, but Randall has made earlier comics that don't seem to hold you by the hand through the joke. The comedy would have been sharper had all the text "outside" the flowchart been omitted, and yet we all still would have got it.


Except its not just a joke. This is intended to be actually useful, and context is useful. Don't look at thing with such a narrow mind.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:11 am UTC
by joee
glasnt wrote:
joee wrote:Hehe... I wish I worked on a helpdesk so I could print this out and put it up

Right next to this one:
<snip>

We put that up on the helpdesk (in the back corner, but definitely visible from the window/ledge/thingy)

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:14 am UTC
by Maximus_Light
Finally, something I put up whenever I'm asked about stuff.
(seriously, I've only taken a Computer Science course and know some very basic programing, I can't help you people! ;;_;; )

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:16 am UTC
by Kayube
Another problem is, what if you click through all the related buttons so quickly that by the time you run out and have to start googling, it still hasn't been over half an hour? Then if it still doesn't work you'll have to try a button you've already tried!

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:17 am UTC
by finity
xlro wrote:The concept in the flowchart is spot on, yet apparently hard to describe in most situations (or they just don't believe you)


I wouldn't usually just quote somebody and say "seconded."

So... Ditto.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:17 am UTC
by stormoftara
I need to print this out and tape it on my boyfriend's mom's door. She thinks we know everything about computers and can recite it on command, when most of the time we are just winging it. I remember trying to explain to her to go back to her homepage, she just had to click the house icon. She was closing the web browser and opening it again every time she wanted to go back to that page...

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:21 am UTC
by Zenexer
Whenever I go out on a tech support job, I like to wear a shirt related to the problem. For example, I have a nice BSoD t-shirt that a friend gave me for Christmas.

Please, please make a t-shirt out of this one. :twisted:

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:25 am UTC
by flying_potato
And here I thought it was just me who did this! guess I am a computer expert after all!!

I got my rep back in high school, by reading the instruction 'no keyboard connected etc.' on my teachers 'broken' PC and managing to fix it, haha

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:30 am UTC
by Sunidesus
I need to print this out for that one guy at work who just can't seem to grasp computers.

He was amazed that I knew he had left himself logged in on one of the computers. He figured I knew it was him because I'm "more computer savvy" than him. Or it could be that I just looked at the top of the start menu where his name was in giant letters. He also can't deal with the one program that we have to use every day that won't let a person copy by right-clicking. It's called "ctrl-c", it isn't that hard!

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:37 am UTC
by EdgarJPublius
Ah-ha! Next time I'm home I need to print this out and stick it to both my parents computers.

At least once a week I get a call from my mom about a problem she or my step-dad is having that I eventually solve pretty much exactly like this.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:38 am UTC
by lvdata
I love the comic, but I am concerned as a IT support person that if the secret gets out, will I have a job edumacating the computer semi-literate? :twisted:
I see stupid people....and billable hours :)

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:42 am UTC
by Ronfar
I think we need a poster-sized version.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:43 am UTC
by Flewellyn
If this included the step, before Googling, of "find the manual and look it up", then this would be exactly how I figure out new programs.

Re: "Tech Support Cheat Sheet" Discussion

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:47 am UTC
by TunezNZ
I actually really enjoyed this one as I get many ask's for help each day.