Nine Types Of Users
From: [email protected] (Sam Jones)
Subject: Nine Types of Users
Keywords: original, original, funny, computer
Message-ID: [[email protected]]
Date: 14 Mar 92 00:30:05 GMT
Approved: [email protected]
This is my own, though the style is a blatant copy of Matt Groening.
Scon is short for Student Consultant. Scons are people hired to help users
learn and work with the university's machinery. A pod is a UNM term for a
place where such machinery is made available.
The nine types of users
El Explicito - "I tried the thing, ya know, and it worked, ya know, but now
it doesn't, ya know?"
Advantages: Provides interesting communication challanges.
Disadvantages: So do chimps.
Symptoms: Complete inability to use proper nouns
Real Case: One user walked up to a certain Armenian pod manager and said, "I
can't get what I want!" The pod manager leaned back, put his hands on his
belt-buckle, and said, "Well, ma'am, you've come to the right place."
Mad Bomber - "Well, I hit ALT-f6, shift-f8, CNTRL-f10, f4, and f9, and now it
looks all weird."
Advantages: Will try to find own solution to problems.
Disadvantages: User might have translated document to Navajo without meaning
Symptoms: More than six stopped jobs in UNIX, a 2:1 code-to-letter ratio in
Real Case: One user came in complaining that his WordPerfect document was
underlined. When I used reveal codes on it, I found that he'd set and unset
underline more than fifty times in his document.
Frying Pan/Fire Tactician - "It didn't work with the data set we had, so I
fed in my aunt's recipe for key lime pie."
Advantages: Will usually fix error.
Disadvantages: 'Fix' is defined VERY loosely here.
Symptoms: A tendancy to delete lines that get errors instead of fixing
Real Case: One user complained that their program executed, but didn't do
anything. The scon looked at it for twenty minutes before realizing that
they'd commented out EVERY LINE. The user said, "Well, that was the only
way I could get it to compile."
Shaman - "Last week, when the moon was full, the clouds were thick, and
formahaut was above the horizon, I typed f77, and lo, it did compile."
Advantages: Gives insight into primative mythology.
Disadvantages: Few scons are anthropology majors.
Symptoms: Frequent questions about irrelavent objects.
Real Case: One user complained that all information on one of their disks got
erased (as Norton Utilities showed nothing but empty sectors, I suspect nothing
had ever been on it). Reasoning that the deleted information went *somewhere*,
they wouldn't shut up until the scon checked four different disks for the
X-user - "Will you look at those. . .um, that resolution, quite impressive,
Advantages: Using the cutting-edge in graphics technology.
Disadvantages: Has little or no idea how to use the cutting-edge in graphics
Symptoms: Fuzzy hands, blindness
Real Case: When I was off duty, two users sat down in front of me at DEC
station 5000/200s that systems was reconfiguring. I suppressed my laughter
while, for twenty minutes, they sat down and did their best to act like they
were doing exectly what they wanted to do, even though they couldn't log in.
Miracle Worker - "But it read a file from it yesterday!" 'Sir, at a guess,
this disk has been swollowed and regurgitated.' "But I did that a month ago,
and it read a file from it yesterday!"
Advantages: Apparently has remarkable luck when you aren't around.
Disadvantages: People complain when scons actually use the word 'horse-puckey'.
Symptoms: Loses all ability to do impossible when you're around. Must be
the kryptonite in your pocket.
Real Case: At least three users have claimed that they've loaded IBM
WordPerfect from Macintosh disks.
Taskmaster - "Well, this is a file in MacWrite. Do you know how I can upload
it to MUSIC, transfer it over to UNIX from there, download it onto an IBM,
convert it to WordPerfect, and put it in three-column format?"
Advantages: Bold new challanges.
Disadvantages: Makes one wish to be a garbage collector.
Symptoms: An inability to keep quiet. Strong tendancies to make machines
do things they don't want to do.
Real Case: One user tried to get a scon to find out what another person's
E-mail address was even though the user didn't know his target's home system,
account name, or real name.
Maestro - "Well, first I sat down, like this. Then I logged on, like this,
and after that, I typed in my password, like this, and after that I edited
my file, like this, and after that I went to this line here, like this, and
after that I picked my nose, like this. . ."
Advantages: Willing to show you exactly what they did to get an error.
Disadvantages: For as long as five or six hours.
Symptoms: Selective deafness to the phrases, "Right, right, okay, but what
was the ERROR?", and a strong fondness for the phrase, "Well, I'm getting to
Real Case: I once had to spend half an hour looking over a user's shoulder
while they continuously retrieved a document into itself and denied that they
did it (the user was complaining that their document was 87 copies of the
Princess (unfair, perhaps, as these tend, overwhelmingly, to be males) -
"I need a Mac, and someone's got the one I like reserved, would you please
garrote him and put him in the paper recycling bin?"
Advantages: Flatters you with their high standards for your service.
Disadvantages: Impresses you with their obliviousness to other people on
Symptoms: Inability to communicate except by complaining.
Real Case: One asked a scon to remove the message of the day because he
(the user) didn't like it.
Selected by Brad Templeton. MAIL your joke (jokes ONLY) to [email protected]
Attribute the joke's source if at all possible. A Daemon will auto-reply.
Please don't send me requests of the form, "could you please send me the
joke about XXX?" Yes, I have it, but if I were willing to let myself be
a joke server I would spend all day doing it. I reject all such requests.