Nov 13, 2008

Being a network admin #2

Got a call from a new and young network computer user who has recently been assigned a brand new, shiny PC with a flat screen with speakers. He has that 'know-it-all computer' attitude that I've come across many a time from users in my 20 year stint as self-made computer geek.

"I can't hear very well from the PC".

Afraid I might insult him -power user that he has led me to believe he is- if I ask the obvious question of whether the speakers were turned on, I inquire if there is ANY sound coming from the speakers.

He replies "only a little".

"Look", I answer, frustrated and assuming that most young people just want to get the most out of their itunes at work, "if you need a better set of speakers, you might need to buy them yourself. The speakers are decent enough for regular office use. Our department won't order separate speakers".

"Oh no, I understand... but, I can HARDLY hear anything".

"That's really strange. I'll be up there to see for myself".

I go into his office. He's a courteous young man and immediately offers me his seat so I can inspect the problem.

"No need", I reply. He has a youtube movie playing on the screen but NO sound is coming from anywhere because...
he hadn't opened the power switch for the speakers.

His young cheeks turn violet red as I turn the knob that is on the screen, labeled "power". The music from the video blares as I adjust the volume from the same knob.

I didn't mean to add to his embarrassment but curiosity got the best of me: "You know what threw me off track? You said that you couldn't hear it VERY WELL and I assumed the sound was muffled or the sound card was below your standards. That's why I suggested a better set of speakers! What WERE you listening to?"

He shrugged a bashful smile.

Moral of the story.
Always ask the stupid question first: "Is the power switch on?"