Locally Developed Software and their Support People

Ooookay, so let’s begin:
When a user leaves the company, their username is removed from theactive directory. This resulted in a piece of software called TheProgramto stop functioning for the new user. We place a support call with the company in question.
A week later they arrive. It’s an old white guy. Around 50’odd.
So, I take him through to the quality lab, and show him the problem.This is after I tried to tell him what the problem was, and he seemingly couldn’t understand.
I double click my computer, c drive, TheProgram and try to run theapplication – it doesn’t work. I close everything down and move out of the way so that he can startworking. He seems to be confused.
“How did you get there?” he asks in his slightly Afrikaans accent.
Well now, there’s a warning sign that he forgot his sign at home.
“Just open my computer, double click on c drive and then on TheProgram” I say in my barely restrained-I’m-going-to-throttle-you smile.
I then spend the next 8 to 10 minutes in excruciating pain as this oldtoppie quietly wanders through the maze that is windows and the desktop. Obviously outdone by the complicated and cryptic message on the screen, he pulls out the show-stopper – a 1.44MB floppy disk with “REGISTAR.EXE” scrawled in poor handwriting on top of it. My guts freeze – my jawclenches – my blood pressure sky rockets.
He fumbles the disk into the floppy drive. Obstacle! He needs to navigate through windows to get to the a: drive. Success! He manages touse the window already open to TheProgram to browse (using the foldersicon) to get to the a: drive – fantastic. He runs the REGISTAR.EXE file on the floppy disk – it opens what can only be described as a haxx0r wannabe application that boldly pronounces that the software has beenregistered.
Lucky us.
He closes it down (and I note that he never closed the TheProgram program, so the registering programme probably didn’t work). He goesback to TheProgram. He gets the same error message.
Why am I notsurprised?
Thinking that surely this nightmare of userdom could not get any worse, he fafs around in his pocketses until he produces a marvel oftechnology! The USB flash key! Ah! I think to myself through the haze of pain that my brain is suffering from as it degrades into liquid mush from just watching this guy. Obviously he is some new form of secret weapon for intelligent people. A void of intelligence! A negative IQ! Averitable void of intellect!
With deft grace he inserts his key into the machines slot. Windows showsremarkable fortitude and proclaims loudly: “I have found a new device!”
The support personnel, knowing exactly what to expect from this moves with surprising speed for an old geyser and double clicks on the Found New Hardware balloon, intoning to my disbelieving ears, “I can just be klicking on here to get in right?”
Stunned off my chair, I manage to stifle the urge to rip of his head and defecate into his throat thus improving his nutritional gains as anything my body expunges is surely better than anything that has passed this codgers lips afore!
Thankfully for my sanity Windows once more performs some masterful magic and auto-runs the flash disk, opening a new window displaying folder upon folder of company names and the ilk. With the well trained movements of a prize pregnant yak, the support personal manages to find a name linked with our company, and even successfully manages to recognise the difference between East London and Uitenhage. A surprise, considering at this point I was questioning his ability to read. A language that is.
Finding the folder dedicated to our company, he locates the 500Kb access database file and manages a right click, and then a copy! w00t! Success, let’s hear it for that Windows training. Having managed to copy the file, he closes the window and is greeted by the blank slate of the Windows desktop. Our alert readers at this stage would have remembered the foray unto the a: drive and the movement of the TheProgram folder…
So I watch, fascinated at this slow motion train wreck happening before my eyes, and wait for the immortal words that I just know he is going to utter.
It pauses.
It thinks.
“So where is I findink this file again?”
W00t! Nature is restored! With a terribly flimsy smile I manage an inane, “double click my computer, c:, TheProgram”
At least he can follow instructions. Finding himself once more in the TheProgram folder, he double clicks on the folder icon for our company revealing the access database file that he will have to replace. But wait! Confusion! There is an access lock file in the folder too (the program is closed; it’s just an artefact and could probably be deleted without harm). This is something not covered in Idiot 101 or the advanced class of stupid 201. A deep and thoughtful sigh escapes from the lips of this vile mastermind.
He observes the two files, nestled so close together in their folder, he rubs his bearded chin.
Obviously he’s thinking! Or perhaps trying to up the time on the call out charges. More seconds tick by, I can feel my brain cells committing mass suicide in a desperate attempt to disbelieve this is happening. A sudden flurry of movement nearly blinds me as my eyes blink in surprise – he closes the window (without pasting) and reaches over to another floppy disk. He opens the TheProgram program, clicks through all the error messages and stuffs this floppy disk into the drive (he actually remembered to remove the first one).
More hacked tools? I wonder idly to myself.
He clicks on a button in the program – I make it out, it’s called: Update. Ahah! It’s going to ask him to browse through to the folder – no program would automatically update from the a: drive, they’re so unreliable right? Right? Er… apparently not. Without so much as a precursory “Browse?” it begins copying data off of the floppy drive.
Success? My brain asks in its terrified state.
Apparently not.
He closes TheProgram, leans back, stroking his beard. Obviously the static generated by rubbing his follicled chin gets brain cells fizzing in his head because the hand lashes out – with deft authority it grips a CD! Into the drive!
We wait.
Windows thinks, as if chewing something it hasn’t tasted before, scared.
Suddenly I am informed that software is being installed! (That’s right, no option, no choice, just go for it – hold onto your pantyhose cause here it comes, software). The software installs with hardly any user input (thank god), and suddenly the desktop returns brandishing a brand new icon – TheProgram!
A deft double click later and the program runs fantastically! Why he didn’t do that in the beginning is beyond me.
Now, knowing that these guys come from Port Elizabeth and that it takes a good few days (7 of them in fact) to get them here to fix stuff, and that they’ll charge us for 700km’s of travel (apparently they like to travel through the bushes or something), I ask for a copy of the CD (the only thing that actually did something). He responds quickly, and with that certainty that comes when someone knows they are 100% correct – “It won’t help you.”
“And why won’t it help me?”
“Because you must register the software wif this disk first.” he sayspointing at our drab friend REGISTAR floppy.
“So what you are saying is that every time me move a user from this department, or the user leaves the company, we’ll have to call you fromPE to come and fix it?”
He notes the need to deal death in my eyes and quickly adds, “But don’t worry about it. The peoples in Joburg are busy re-writing the software, they can do that you know, we have a whole team, and they can sort this out – they’ll be able to come in from the Internet and reset the software.”
No Shit.
Barely able to restrain the urge to put this poor animal out of its misery, I manage to utter, “Our workstations are on a private network,behind firewalls and proxy servers.”
Noting his eyes glazing over at the mention of such mystical terms asfirewall, proxy, server and network, I change my tune, “They do not have Internet access.”
He shrugs, glad that obviously that’s not his problem, but a shortcoming on my side he states, “Ja well, I can’t do anything about that. You’ll just haf to call us and we’ll come and fix it.”
Unable to withstand the constant assault of idiocy from local developed software and their support people I left. I even managed a ‘thanks’ for the shafting that I am sure that we will receive when the bill comes.
Is it murder if it puts it out of its misery?


  1. PaCiFieR · October 13, 2005

    Haven’t laughed this much in a while. Good read.

  2. Anonymous · October 17, 2005

    Very funny!!!!–>

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