Tales from the Machine Room

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Is it that difficult?

This is not actually a "tale", is more of a rant, a collection of grievances. Take is as you wish.

We have to talk. To talk about phones.

You know? Those things that makes noises all the time, like the neighbour's son, that think he is a great musicians/drummers/trombonists/wathever and is always a huge pain in the .... hears (both: phones and the boy).

In 1875 a scotsman and an italian discovered a way to send sounds into a telegraph line, the italian decided to stop at a nearby cafe' on his way to the patent office and the rest, as they say, is history.

Before the advent of the phone, people was using telegrams, that is a giant pain in the ass to use. First you need to go to a specific office, and dictate your message to a guy, then you need to PAY! And the longer the message the more you pay, so people was trying to be super-concise and to send telegrams only if it was really required.

With the phone is a different thing. And people discovered they could babble for hours without actually saying anything. The result is again history. As in HIS Story...

Today... we are going backwards.

I read the "reviews" of the latest model of idiotphone: super-fantastic display, 10/10, HD++++, a billion pixels per inch, fantastic truer-than-life colours. Audio: awesome: 11/10, such a good sound that it seems to be in a theater! Connectivity: full! TLE, G3, G4, G5, BINGO! WiFi, BlueTooth! Ok, so is good to watch porn on the go, a shitload of ram, all the app you want and even more, aestetic... wathever... Hmmm.. that thing... Is it a "phone" right? Has anybody checked how does it work as.. you know.. MAKING PHONE CALLS? Or receiving them?

But if we check, it seems nobody uses the actual "phone" unless they are forced to. And when it happens, it's a crysis.

Today, everybody try the "internet" way, a form or an app to "contact", send a message, and then they send a pile of shit that is impossible to read and is in the end dropped because it's impossibile to process.

And when that happens, then they search the way to "contact a human being" Sorry, there aren't any, if you can reach 17000 bauds I can patch you directly into the Matrix...

I remember long time ago, when I got "trained" in the use of the amazing device. My parents owned and operated a restaurant, so it happened that I was the only one "available" to pick up the phone during the day, so my dad gave me the "quick" course:

"First of all, if you ANSWER the phone, first you say WHO THE HECK YOU ARE, then ask who is calling and what he needs. WRITE IT DOWN! That's why there is a notes here and a pencil. And get his number too in case we have to call him back. If you are the one to call, when they pick up you tell them WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU WANT! Be precise but quick. Try to speak without chewing your own tongue and leave the phone number twice, speaking each digit on its own. Clear?"

Since then I used that technique that worked well for me, I've no idea how things are today but it looks to me that the "technique" was lost with the ability to write more than 3 words by hands or do simple math without a calculator.

Today there are several "figures" you can "meet" on the phone.

There is the "hurry" one. That usually is a male, age between 25 and 35 (I think, kinda difficult to say).

He is the one that when you answer it starts with

"Yes it's me. The thing there doesn't work, fix it."

And then hangup. And you have no freaking clue which one of the thousands "Me" it was, what the fuck is "that thing" and what "doesn't work" means. The result is that you ignore the call and after a while you get another one from the same Mr. Me that wants to know why we haven't done shit.

What I do normally is to ask "which who did you spoke before?". And that stalls them better than a truckload of quick cement.

The there is the confused one. This one can be male or female, age varies between 30 and 50 I think, is the one that starts with

"Ahhh... Iis it $companyyouwaresadlyworkingfor?"
"Yes, I'm D. What can I do for you?"
"Uhhhh... we have a problem... I think..."
"That's not good. Can you tell me the name of your company?"
"Ehhh.... I'm X, Aaaaah... I think there is something wrong with the network... maybe..."
"Good morning Mr X, can you tell me the name of your company?"
"Hmmm.. because yesterday was really slow and now..."

And he goes on like this for at least 25 minutes before he finally tell you the name of his shitty company, and usually it turns out that they have moved to another hosting a couple of months before or they have 2 hostings and this involve the other one.

And then there is HER. That sometimes is an HE, but in 90% of the cases it's an her. Age between 45 and 60 I think, so not very joung anymore but still can't be that senile (I hope, since I'm in that range too). The one that, ignoring what you just said, try to "guess" who's at the phone. Yes, even if you just told her.

Me - Goodmorning, $shittyhostingprovider, I'm D, what can I do for you?
She - Hmmm... John?
Me - No, I'm D...
She - .... Paul ?
Me - ...no, I'm D...
She - ... Anna?

What the... Ok that I'm kinda tired, but ... ANNA???

Sometimes, after a dozen or so names she decide that she punched the wrong number.

The there is the Man That Doesn't Need To Ask. Always MEN. Age between 35 and 45 I tink. The ones that it looks they are always chewing something while they speak. The ones that can rattle down a 28 digit serial number in a quarter of a second, that you wants to ask how many time did they tried before if they can do it without having to breath in the middle.

He - I am shulshulfuamopzublablawe have a problem with the proxy fruafalbulbulzamtolitoli, restart it right away.
Me - Sorry, it was kinda garbled, which proxy and for which company?
He - (exasperated) tuflafaloppaloppaturala.
Me - And which company?
He - (more exasperated) Grubbagrubbamossaloffa
Me - Hmmm.. can't find it with that name, do you have the customer number?
He - Geezyouareslowarentyou? Do you know how much do I pay for this?
Me - Yes, I kinda know, but if I restart the wrong service it wouldn't be good right?
He - fine. The customernumber is totoseveightsiztirtaforeighthundredseventitwelfemillionfortyzerozeroeightthereyago.

... Good... Well done... I can play this game too you know?
Me - Ah, I see, Sheila Shaggawell, Porn Production... But I don't see any proxy in your configuration...
Me - Oh you got a sex change? Sorry, but is not that uncommon you know?
Me - Sorry, he broke a foot and is working from home.
He - I want his phone number!
Me - Fine. totoseveightsiztirtaforeighthundredseventitwelfemillionfortyzerozeroeightthereyago.

Now... Seriously!

Everybody, sooner or later, have to contact the "technical support" for some reason. And all of us should think that the poor asshole that answer the phone is not there to have fun (ok, he SHOULDN'T be there to have fun), and it is OUR interest that he can do his job and solve our problem in the shortest time possible.


  1. BEFORE you pick up the phone, grab pen & paper (do you remember how to use a pen?) and write down a short description of thep roblem. It has to be short but precise. And sentence like "it doesn't work" or "the thingy that does the thing" shouldn't be allowed.
  2. If you have a "customer number" or a "contract number" expect to have it asked, so grab it and keep it handy.
  3. Be sure you are calling the right number. Talk to the gas company ain't going to help with your problem with the electric company.
  4. Speak clearly, talking at normal volume and try to enounce correctly every word. Tell your name and the reason you are calling.
  5. If you  have an uncommon name (and dutch peoples can't understand dutch names, leave alone non-dutch ones) be prepared to do spelling.
  6. Provide your phone number specifing every single digit and repeat the whole thing TWICE.
  7. If it is possible, ask for a confirmation e-mail to be sure they got the right person.
  8. All this is particularly important if on the other side there isn't a human being but an answering machine.

Is it that difficult?

16/04/2018 11:46

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Comments are added when and more important if I have the time to review them and after removing Spam, Crap, Phishing and the like. So don't hold your breath. And if your comment doesn't appear, is probably becuase it wasn't worth it.

13 messages this document does not accept new posts

Il codardo senza nome

By Il codardo senza nome posted 16/04/2018 12:40

Al canistracciHosting ho riso forte: io ho una moglie strega quindi penso che comprerò un pacco alto così delle vostre azioni tanto ci pensa lei a farle salire di prezzo :D ... PS. Telefono, email o whatsapp o quelchellè, la sostanza non cambia, se dall'altra parte c'è una testa di quiz non ne vieni fuori...

-- Il codardo senza nome


By Zrungmfblk posted 16/04/2018 13:34

Ciao, sono quello lì di quella ditta là e ti devo dire che il coso non cosa quando io clicco sul coso dei cosi per cosare la cosa. Richiamami al numero umpazumpalikkolakkosciesciantotto.


Però sei pignolo, eh. Quando ti dicono "non va" o "non funziona" dovresti già aver risolto il problema alla terza sillaba, ekkekkazzo!

:D e ancora :D

-- Zrungmfblk

Anonymous coward

By Anonymous coward posted 16/04/2018 13:46

Poi ci sono anche i "supporto tecnico" che dopo che uno si è smazzato un'ora per individuare con precisione il problema, tradurlo in parole, rileggerlo, sintentizzarlo, renderlo il più possibile comprensibile, rileggerlo di nuovo... rispondono in venti secondi dimostrando di non averlo sostanzialmente letto né tantomeno capito quel messaggio, anche se era scritto e non parlato. È un problema profondo, si insinua tra la stupidità, la maleducazione e la fretta vera, presunta o autodisorganizzata. Ciao.

-- Anonymous coward


By Thomas posted 16/04/2018 15:12

<i>vi ricordate come si tiene in mano una penna si?</i>

Io avevo iniziato ad avere problemi di questo tipo.

Da anni ormai l'unica cosa che "devo" scrivere a penna è la mia firma, per tutto il resto di norma posso usare ed uso una tastiera (fisica o virtuale). Ad un certo punto però mi ero reso conto che, dovendo scrivere qualsiasi cosa che non fosse la firma, presa in mano la penna mi bloccavo per una frazione di secondo, come se il mio inconscio pensasse "aspe', com'è già che funziona 'sta roba?".

Onde evitare di ritrovarmi tra vent'anni completamente incapace di scrivere, ho preso l'abitudine di buttare giù qualche riga ogni settimana. Anche cazzatine tipo la lista della spesa, purché sia fatto con carta e penna.

Sono l'unico a cui è successo?

-- Thomas

Davide Bianchi

@ Thomas By Davide Bianchi posted 16/04/2018 16:12

Sono l'unico a cui è successo?

Io mi sono fatto punto di scrivere almeno una pagina al giorno. Anche scrivere cazzate ma scrivere. Aiuta molto che sono sempre stato un fanatico di penne, matite, biro etc....


-- Davide Bianchi

Anonymous coward

@ Thomas By Anonymous coward posted 17/04/2018 16:49


vi ricordate come si tiene in mano una penna si?

Io avevo iniziato ad avere problemi di questo tipo.


Sono l'unico a cui è successo?

Io secondo i mei insegnanti fino alle medie ero destinato a fare medico o farmacista a causa della mia grafia orribile, salvato dal PC.

Comunque si h iniziato ad avere problemi del genere e dedico una o due ore la settimana alle parole crociate, così tengo vivi anche i due neuroni rimastimi.


-- Anonymous coward


By magaolimpia posted 17/04/2018 06:57

Capisco benissimo. Lavoro al Customer Service in una ditta che fornisce software sanitario a ospedali, laboratori analisi e simili. Alcune chiamate che riceviamo sono surreali. Per non parlare di quei messaggi lasciati in segreteria tipo: "Chiamo da Ortopedia, è urgentissimo, richiamatemi al 456" 

-- magaolimpia


By JaM posted 17/04/2018 09:29

@Thomas: io ho reiniziato da un paio di anni ad usare le stilografiche (abbandonate dalle elementari): ai meeting e nelle cose da fare quotidiane prendo appunti solo su blocco con la stilo.

Sono catartiche, tra vari modelli, inchiostri colorati, pennini di diverse misure, e ti obbligano a scrivere bene per non ritrovarti con le mani zuppe di inchiostro... e oramai è pure iniziata una collezione :D

-- JaM


By emi_ska posted 17/04/2018 10:40

quando ho visto il telefono speravo fosse un'altra storia sulle scimmie...

ps. sto provando il famoso cms fdt!

-- emi_ska


By Guido posted 19/04/2018 08:57

L'unico appunto e' che (ok, non in ambito lavorativo) la messaggistica e' comoda perche' io ti scrivo quello che ti devo dire, tu quando puoi leggi e rispondi...

PS comunque anche a me a suo tempo hanno insegnato la stessa cosa che hanno insegnato a te - ma forse oggi non lo insegnano piu' e quelli che ti han chiamato erano tutti GGiovani...

-- who uses Debian learns Debian but who uses Slackware learns Linux

Anonymous coward

By Anonymous coward posted 23/04/2018 10:47

ma parliamo anche di una altra categoria: quelli che forniscono un servizio, tu li chiami e quando alzano la cornetta mormorano un 'onto?' tagliato dal tempo di setup della linea senza dire uno straccio di informazione su chi sono che devi indovinare se hai chiamato la persona/ditta giusta.

-- Anonymous coward

Anonymous coward

By Anonymous coward posted 24/04/2018 22:59

Ma la CanestracciHosting è una controllata della holding CanestracciOil?😂

-- Anonymous coward


By Jepessen posted 21/06/2018 08:38

Dissento solo su una cosa: se uno fa bene il suo lavoro per me può anche divertirsi, anche se fa supporto tecnico...

-- Jepessen

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