Throwback Thursday: Pop quiz

This support pilot fish divides users into two groups. "There are those who can help me diagnose a problem, and those who lead me down a rat hole if I believe anything they say," says fish.

"I frequently ask test questions to gauge the type of user they are."

Case in point: a newly hired marketing writer who calls fish to ask about her home PC. She's not supposed to do that, but fish figures he'll try to help with a little triage anyway.

User: "I got a wireless mouse, and now the monitor won't work when I start up my computer."

Fish: "Are the cables plugged firmly into the computer and monitor?"

User: "Yes."

Fish: "Are the power cords plugged into a multiple outlet strip?"

User: "Yes."

Fish: "Are there separate power switches for the computer, monitor..."

User, interrupting: "Yes, yes."

Fish: "...the keyboard and mouse too?"

User: "Yes, yes, yes, yes!"

Fish: "Are the power switches on the multiple outlet strip for the keyboard and mouse turned on?"

User: "Yes!"

Sighs fish, "She failed the test. I told her, 'Well, I'm not quite sure what the problem is. Why don't you try plugging in a standard mouse and call me back tomorrow?'"

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