After working at CompuType for 19 years, I have met a lot of customers, and fixed a lot of computer problems. Or, did I meet a lot of computers and fix a lot of customer’s problems? Hard to say. Sometimes you have to slow down, and listen to what your customers are saying, and try to figure out what they actually mean. Occasionally, they even talk about the problems with their computers.
This brings to mind a few computer terms, I, or my coworkers have heard over the years. One customer in particular called in and told us, “I think I broke the cup-holder on my PC.” When asked if they were talking about the CD-ROM drive, they said, “Well, No. Maybe. You know, it’s the little cup-holder that goes in and out of the computer.” They were amazed to find out that it doubled as a CD player.
Many customers in “the early days” didn’t know what to call the components of their computer. They often referred to the CPU and monitor as “The Brains and the TV”. We had a lot of people that just had to hit the reset button on their Brains to get something to show up on the TV. Once their computer was running, they could start typing up a storm on their “typewriter thingy”. When we told them they could hit their “Turbo” button to make the PC go twice as fast, they though we were computer gods.
It’s hard to believe, but we had dozens of people coming into our office to buy mouse balls. I know it sounds awful, but sometimes they just had to be replaced. People would lose them, or they’d just get dirty. No one likes dirty mouse balls. They just don’t work very well. We kept a box of mouse balls for just this purpose.Ã‚Â At least now when someone calls and asks if we have mouse balls, we can tell them, “No. It’s all lasers now”.
In recent years it seems that our customers are more educated in computer terms, and run into more advanced problems as the systems get more complicated. We still have our share of calls about upgrading “gigglebytes, megapickles, megarams and gigarams”, but it is a far cry from the early days. With all of the added functionality of current computers, and instant access to CompuType support and the Internet, our customers are much happier and well-informed. I’m pretty sure the mice are happier, too.