Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nigel - AKA Mr Motherboard

I used to work for a leading computer franchise as a service technician. One aspect of the job was warranty/service on brand name computers. Most schools have these brand name systems as they purchase them in bulk. I had to deal regularly with one of the schools IT teachers, who seemed to have constant and ongoing warranty issues (or what he believed to be warranty issues)
This teachers answer to any problem, be it network issues, software or pretty much anything was to call the system provider and order a motherboard. Sometimes he'd order two.
The first time I arrived on site, motherboard in hand and find the system running along just fine, but he couldnt get an IP address assigned from his server due to a fuckup in his configuration settings. I fixed it and returned the board to the supplier.

The second time I arrive onsite with TWO motherboards the system couldnt find the network. Probably due to the fact that the network card had been disabled in settings. The third time was a beeping computer. I arrived with yet another motherboard to find a RAM error. Easily diagnosed by either beep codes or swapping out one of two sticks in the process of elimination. He insisted it was the motherboard and specifically requested I replace the motherboard. Of course with the RAM replaced it continued to beep away merrily. I removed one stick and ordered RAM. The system ran fine with the one less stick.

By now, every time I talked with the warranty service people they complained long and hard about "Mr Motherboard". I had a few choice names for him myself.

Now here is where it gets funny. He called me to say that one of his students had apparently found a CPU lying on the floor where I had done the last warranty job. His opinion was that in the course of the motherboard swap I had failed to replace the CPU!
Now this seems strange to me considering the system POSTED then booted to Windows.

Ive never seen a computer run without its CPU, so it could be considered a first in the computing world. Maybe it was a Quantum CPU and existed in all states and times at once, both on the floor and in its socket.
So, I requested the system be removed to my workshop, where I straightened the bent pins and reinserted the CPU to its rightful place.

A month later I got another call from him, where he reminded me of my apparent failure to replace a CPU. He called the situation the "funniest thing".

This call was apparently due to a CDRW failing to burn CD's. I arrived onsite, and he insisted I replace the drive "to save my time". I smelled a rat. The first thing I did was a test burn. Worked fine. Now at this point he admitted he hadn't diagnosed the "failure to burn". His partner in crime had stated the drive refused to burn CD's. I dug out the NERO burning logs and found all recent entries as "burn process completed successfully" with a "data verification completed successfully" following.
Now this would indicate to me that everything was working ok, but he insisted upon another test burn. Then another. Then another. After the fourth burn I started packing my gear. He requested I replaced the drive and "no one would know any better". I refused on the grounds that it would be fraudulent. He seemed quite peeved at my failure to comply.

I could care less. Warranty service is for real issues, not for his failings as a technician/troubleshooter.

The sixth visit was supposed to be a stability/Novell logon issue. At this point I'd requested with our warranty service people that I be allowed to diagnose issues before sending parts. I removed it to my workshop, and started the system.
It booted to a BIOS password. I called him and requested the password. He refused to supply the password as it was a "security issue".
Now in a former life I was a high level security operative. I worked the 2000 Olympics as a Security Coordinator. I was vetted by ASIO and given high level clearance.
Now this fuckhead didn't want me in his computer as it was a security issue?
I explain all this to him and he still refuses to furnish a password. I give up.
I pull up a BIOS password cracker and go in.

Now Windows has a password.
I call and he refuses to supply a password. I utilize a password removal tool.

Now Novell has a password. I cant get past the novell login.
I say fuck it, do a RAM test which passes then return the system.

Now do you think he might be being obstinate just because I refused to do his bidding?


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