First stop, the bank. I change a $50 note into quarters and then ask to see a balance of my account. Then I yank the power lead out of the teller's vdu. It dies. I say I'm in a hurry and is the manager around?
He rolls over like a man-sized twinkie and asks what the problem is. I say that all I want is a balance of my accounts. I cross my fingers. YES! He finds the vdu lead out, plugs it in, and logs in...TO THE MANAGER'S ACCOUNT. Now's my chance - I slip up against the counter, slopping 200 coins across the counter. The manager ignores it, but all the tellers dive for the money. I watch, unobserved, as the manager types in his password at the breakneck speed of one character a minute. At that rate I should've got $100 worth... He finishes typing. "MONEY". What a toughy! Well, that's my mortgage taken care of tonight...
A user that I recognise from "D(eletion) day '89" approaches. I think he's going to talk to me. Even the bank manager is shaking his head furiously. But it's too late, he stops.
"Um, excuse me, Could you tell me what is the best computer to buy to do my thesis on?
"You've heard of Commodore 64's?" I ask
"Avoid them like the plague! Not many people know this, but computers aren't made to handle that much memory - it's over 64,000 things, more in some cases. It's a recipe for disaster!"
"Try something safe and proven. A ZX81 with dual cassette drive if you can get it. The 1K ram model. Write that down. Don't buy a disk drive - You know how they're always failing, but music cassettes last forever!"
"No worries. What was your username again?"
He tells me. Just in time for D-Day 92. You'd think they'd learn.
I get back to work and the janitor's asleep at the terminal. I ask him if he wants to work here too, but he likes the ability to bust in on people when they're in the toilet...
I put the phone back on the hook, and straight away it rings. I hate it when it does that, it takes me AGES to get my walkman phones in.
It's the hottest hosemonster I've ever met, and she's got a computer problem! I love it when that happens!
"What's your username?" I ask
She tells me (as if I didn't know)
Quick as I can I read all her e-mail (mostly boring stuff), then grep everyone else's mail files for her username. Nothing. Excellent!
"What's the problem?" I ask, all smiles and charm.
"I can't save my documents, it says something about space."
"Not a problem for long" I say, and delete everyone else on the same disk as her. "You should be fine now.."
"Thank you so much" she gushes. I make a mental note to do something to her account again tomorrow. "No worries."
The phone rings almost before I've got it on the hook.
"My files are all gone!" a voice whines out at me.
"When did this happen?" I ask.
"Just now..." he says, through the tears
"I see. Well, I wouldn't worry, there's three days till the end of the semester, if you work day and night until then, you should get at least a C-"
He sobs a couple more times then hangs up. What a wimp.
THE PHONE RINGS AGAIN!
"The screen on my PC is really dim" The woman at the other end says "Should I wind the brightness knob up?"
"NO!" I scream "Don't touch that knob! Have you any idea of the radiation that comes out of that thing when the knob gets wound up?!!!!"
"Well I..." she says, all uncertain
"TAKE MY ADVICE!" I say "There's only ONE way to fix a dim display, and that's by power surging the drivers"
The words "power surging" and "drivers" have got her. People hear words like that and go into dummy mode and do ANYTHING you say. I could tell her to run naked across campus with a powercord rammed up her backside and she'd probably do it... Hmmm...
"Have you got a spare power cord?"
"Oh well, never mind, we'll have to do the power surge idea... Ok, quick as you can, I want you to flick the power switch of your PC on and off 30 times"
"Should I take my disks out?"
"NO! Do you want to lose all your data!?!"
"Oh. No! Ok.."
I listen carefully.. ..
...*clicky*..*clicky*..*clicky*.. .. .. .*clicky*. ...*clicky*.. ...
Amazing, it probably made it to 27 - the power supply usually shits itself at 15 or so...
"MY COMPUTER BLEW UP!!!" she screams at me down the line
"Really? Must've been a dodgy power supply! Lucky we found out now! Is your machine still under warranty?"
"Dear oh dear. Well, Best get it repaired then. Did you backup your files?"
"Yes, to the system, Yesterday, but all this morning's work is gone!"
"Oh dear. What was your username, I'll just check that your backups are ok."
She tells me....