Tag Archives: computer errors

Vrooom-A-Zoom Zoom!

18 Jun

July 18, 2021

Amos: I’m a Zoomer now!
Me: What?
Amos: I’m a Zoomer. I’m zooming!

That’s Amos, who works for me. He’s a crack investigator whom I once avoided for 20 minutes by the cleaver ruse of simply walking two feet behind him and slightly to his left.

Amos has a little trouble with technology.

Amos: This cellular phone isn’t working.
Me: What’s wrong?
Amos: I can’t find the antenna. I think it must have fallen off.

I had to set up a Zoom meeting for Amos so he could get some training from an outside contractor.

Amos: That’s what you call people who do Zoomer meetings, isn’t it? Zoomers?
Me: Yup. You’re a Zoomer.

Amos has gone through 4 cell phones since I have known him, about 3 years. They never seem to work right. They all have the same problem: user error. Amos has no idea how to set up a contact, so every time I call him- and during the week I may call him four or five times a day- I have to tell him who’s calling when he picks up since he doesn’t recognize my number.

Amos also cannot receive email on his phone. There is something wrong with the settings on all his phones, he tells me. He’s gone to his local Staples to fix it and they always tell him they can’t find anything wrong. Amos says it is a scam to get him to buy a new phone, which he usually does.

When I want to send a case to Amos, I have to email it from a coworker’s account since Amos has somehow blocked me on his email, which he has to go to Staples to access and someone there has to “pull the email off the computer” for him.

My boss recently bought a fax machine for Amos. That was nearly three months ago. It is still not working. Amos has called in the phone company, the company that made the fax machine, and tech support from a number he saw on a flyer on a pole, and they all agree that there is nothing wrong. Amos is so far behind that he is flailing about like a trout on the line trying to figure out the fax machine, a piece of technology that is nearly obsolete.

Amos does not have a home phone line and is dependent on his cell phone (a disaster in the event of emergency) so in order to set up the fax he needed a phone line put in, which will cost him $30 a month. He asked my boss to reimburse him for that. My boss, who is notoriously cheap, agreed to pay it based on my advice.

I told him why not? The odds are he’ll never figure out how to use it anyway and he’ll send it back.

Go Speed Amos Go!



16 Nov

from October 19, 2008

I’ve never had a problem with email. I love it. In fact, if it wasn’t for email I’d have to talk to people and that would just make me miserable. But email had a problem with me.

It’s grade time in the NYC school system, and you know what that means: fail ’em all! Fail ’em if they’re stupid, fail ’em if they’re ugly, fail ’em if they passed every test. Just fail ’em.

Usually they fail themselves but try to convince them of it.
“Mister, why you fail me?”
“I come everyday.”
“I took notes today.”

I used to love the bubble sheets. No one else did but me. All you had to do was bubble in the right spots and you were done. I’d give the kids some work and while they were on task (ha) I’d bubble in their grades. Then I’d just throw away their papers because it was just busy work anyway.

But no no no. No. That was too hard. (Somehow.) Let’s make it all technological and stuff. Let’s do it with a computer. Let’s email the grades. Because no one has ever, in the history of man, had a problem with a computer. Even HAL simply needed to be rebooted. C’mon people- didn’t anybody ever see WarGames? I know it had Matthew Broderick in it but it was still a good film. (And yes, that is the proper spelling. I checked. Who says I need an editor?)

Trouble started when Jeff, our programmer and all-around laid back dude, tried to email me the files for my grades. He couldn’t explain why, and I doubt Bill Gates could either, but the “system” wouldn’t accept my DOE email and would not send me my files.

I smelled Twilight Zone. That’s how it starts. First the computer doesn’t recognize you, then your friends don’t recognize you, then you find Rod Serling recording an introduction in your bedroom and before the final commercial you cease to exist.

He gave me the files on a floppy disk and asked me to return it by Friday, 1 pm. This was Thursday but entering grades only takes a few minutes so that deadline really wasn’t bad.

Due to this and that, and some other stuff, plus the fact that I am a derb, I got home at 10:30 that night. I zipped over to the computer and popped the disc into the drive. It banged into the USB port.

Hmmm. That’s strange.

I reinserted it and it stuck in the DVD drive.


By the time I had tried to jam it into the vents in the back I realized that my computer doesn’t have a floppy drive. This is the computer I got from my Dad, brand new in 2007, and there simply isn’t a call for floppy drives anymore. No worries, I thought, I’ll just use the laptop.

You know what’s coming.

So both of my home computers were out. I’d have to do it between classes at work on Friday. Schools are the last bastion of obsolete tech. Just last week I recorded some notes on a reel-to-reel Wollensak that took up half the room.

I turned on the computer, ignored the damage the kids did, popped in the disc, and tried to open the file.


I stopped everything, opened Excel (the files were Excel files) and tried to get Excel to open the files. Nothing happened at all, for awhile. Then my computer stopped responding and I had to do a restart. When it was ready, I tried to open the file again and got this message:

Warning! The last time you tried to open this file a serious error occurred. Do you wish to continue?

Oh Hell yes I did. What’s the worst that could happen? It isn’t my computer anyway.

I was disappointed that there was no smoke, no high-pitched whine of agony from the processor, not even a cool flashing warning symbol. It simply shut down.

I had two more classes to go and by the time I got down to the program office it was after noon. I explained the whole situation, and after he got through laughing (and calling me “Doctor,” for some reason) he gestured to my flash drive and said he’d put the files on there.

He popped it in and waited. And waited. And, yes, waited some more. The computer, though sending power to the flash, wouldn’t recognize the flash. Kind of like how I ignore people I just the day before had a long conversation with. He popped it back out and tried my other drive. For no real reason I carry two around.

Same deal, no worky.

It turns out that his DOE computer will not recognize any drives with security enabled. Despite the fact that I have used my drives in many such computers, this particular was a stickler. It was the Felix Unger of computers. (Not to be confused with the Doris Unger of computers, which would be a very confused computer indeed.)

Let’s stop and recap. A medial summary, if you’ll forgive me for sounding like a teacher.
Email had failed me.
Three computers had failed me.
Two flash drives had failed me.

The logical solution was, of course, to give me bubble sheets and I’d be done in fifteen minutes.

However, no. This is the DOE. Mr. Programmer put the files on his own flash drive and let me take it home over the weekend.

Remember what I said about schools being the home of obsolete tech? This flash drive, I swear, looked to be straight out the 1970’s. It was big, square, and bulky. I’m sure it had a dial on the side and a UHF antenna. It had to be analog. This drive was black, but had been handled so much that it worn grey spots. The part that goes into the drive was bent. It didn’t even fit comfortably in my hand. There were sharp edges, a small tin plague peeling off (“—rop–ty of Ne- York -ity Boar- of ——-on”) and it was bigger than a bread box.

Still, I was relieved that I’d be able to do it at home. When I got home I put it in my computer and, rubbing my hands with anticipation, waited for it to open.

It didn’t.

You see, this particular computer doesn’t have Microsoft, er, stuff. When I want to open a Word file it opens it with WordPerfect. Any other type or Microsoft file gets some kind of equivalent. And the Excel equivalent didn’t open the file. (Did I mention that I would have had the bubble sheets done two days before?)

But my laptop came through! YES!

But not right away.

I don’t use the laptop too often, and when I do I have to sit through updates to this, scanning for that, restarts, destarts, and upstarts, before I can use it, typically two to three hours later. When nightfall came I had the file opened and saved to my desktop.

And as of this writing, Saturday night (Sunday morning if you prefer) I have not yet entered the grades but I’m sure I’ll be able to do it tomorrow.

What can go wrong?

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