Archive for November, 2008

10 classic clueless-user stories

November 27, 2008

#1: Icon by any other name

I had one user, the sweetest lady, who was not very computer literate. After she got her new computer, she said, “Where are my programs?” I told her that I had made shortcuts on her desktop to the programs she used. She said, “When I click on the icon, that’s not the right program.” When I asked her which program she was referring to, she said, “The third icon down.” I asked her which program that was. “Oh, I don’t know the name of it. I just know on my old computer, it was the third icon down program.”

This one took a while.


#2: Money’s worth

Client: I don’t understand why that accounting software cost so much. It’s only been used once.

Consultant: What do you mean, it’s only been used once? You use it every day.

Client: No, I don’t. You used it once when you put the program on my computer and it’s been sitting in the box ever since.

…Time to get my money up front….


#3: IRQ sale

One of the contractors in my office ordered a new computer through his company. Unfortunately, he ordered a NIC with an RJ45 connector and we were on a coax network at the time. This was back in the days of Win95. I informed him of the problem and said I had a spare NIC to give him if he would order the correct NIC to replace the one I provided.

He got on the phone with his company and complained about the NIC. This guy thinks he is a computer genius, but really just thinks that bigger, better, and more are always the solution. So he ordered everything he could think of in this computer. Not a single bay was open and most of the slots were filled. Needless to say he had an IRQ problem. His company gave him the number of the computer company and told him to call their sales department. I was happy to see him on the phone because then he wasn’t bothering me while I set up his computer. I overheard him say to the sales department, “My land guy says I’m out of IRQs. Can I buy some more of those?”


#4: Retention dissension

We currently have a great policy for keeping e-mail to a minimum. It’s only kept 90 days, then it’s deleted, so if you want to save it past the retention period, you have to put it into a file somehow.

This has been in effect for several years, but amazingly, we had a couple of executives in the legal dept who built up 40,000 messages in their inboxes each, without having any deleted. I finally got the connection when the new “retention policy” was published. The company lawyers who wrote it had a line in the document that excluded themselves from the policy and made sure they could keep everything forever!


#5: ####

One of our marketing managers complained that he couldn’t make any sense of a telephone management spreadsheet I’d sent him because he couldn’t see when the calls were made. I explained that each worksheet in the spreadsheet had a name and the name indicated the applicable month. Two minutes later, he arrived at my desk saying that he still couldn’t make any sense of the spreadsheet because there were no dates in the worksheets. I opened my copy and showed him that the dates and times were in column A. He then tried to tell me that I had sent him the wrong file because his column A just had “stars” in it! Oh boy—was his face red when I showed him how to expand the column! Makes you think, huh?!


#6: Must have been the instructions

Back when floppy disks were the only portable medium (good old 5 1/4 and 3.5 inch disks hold not much more than a mere 360K), I was working as a field engineer for a third-party support firm. Remembering two calls always brings a smile to my face.

Caller #1: A guy rings up and says that he has just received his new update on four 3.5 inch floppy disks and he followed the instructions supplied with the update to the letter. He had a problem with the machine reading the second disk, just would not accept it. After a few probing questions, a site visit was required, so I attended the next day and was amazed by what I saw. Yes, the guy obviously had a problem reading the second disk after following the installation instructions:

1. Insert disk 1.

2. Run setup, click OK when asked.

3. When asked, insert disk 2.

What I found was that he had not removed the first disk and had actually managed to get both disks into the floppy drive AT THE SAME TIME. Ooops.

Caller #2:

Me: Hello, Tech Support.

Caller: Hello yes, I received this update from you for my new PC, but it cannot read any of the floppy disks you sent me.

Me: Hmm. Can you please explain what’s happening?

Caller: OK, I opened the box and read the instructions telling me to put in disk 1 and run setup.

Me: Good; next?

Caller: So I got the disks out the box and put the first disk into the drive after removing the protective cover.

Me: Protective cover? Do you mean the little white sleeve that the disk comes in?

Caller: No the big black cover that the disk comes in. Is it supposed to be that hard to get the disk out?

At this point I fell off my chair, only just managing to put the caller on hold before breaking out in a laughter fit. When I attended his home, he had not only managed to take out the disk from inside the disk casing, he had actually managed to get it lodged into the drive and then broke the heads of the drive when he tried to get it out.


#7: Memorable lessons

Several years ago, our organization finally got a T1 connection, so everyone suddenly had access to the Internet. The firewall with content filtering software was installed, but we were still playing around with the filtering settings.

Lots of our workers were complete newbies, so I had to teach a class on using browsers and e-mail clients. I had a mixed class of men and women, most of them completely new to computers. One of the guys was a very religious man, and everyone there was well aware of that.

At one point, I asked everyone in the class to enter in the URL box. After a moment, I heard a gasp, followed by everyone in the room busting out in laughter. Seems my religious friend didn’t know how to spell “Yahoo” and had instead entered “Yuho.” To his shock, and in front of a room full of witnesses, he was immediately transported to a raunchy porn site! The poor guy will never live it down!


#8: If it don’t fit…

Back in the early ’90s, I was the PC support person for a tire manufacturing plant. Most of the computers had dual floppy drives (5 1/4 & 3.5), but there were some old clunkers (IBM PCs) with only 5 1/4, as well as some state-of-the-art 286 Compaqs with only a 3.5″ drive. It is latter that this story is about.

I got a call from a summer engineering student that her disk had gotten stuck in the drive. When I got to the computer I found that she had her work on a 5 1/4″ floppy. She was trying to load this work on one of these new Compaqs. The disk was too big, so she decided that, since the material that the floppy is made from is the same, if she were to fold her large floppy in quarters to make it fit the drive then the drive would still read it. Thing is, this person was otherwise a very smart, logical person. I also had a fairly good rapport with her, so I asked her, “How is the drive suppose to spin the disk if it is folded?” The lights came on, cheeks reddened, and she made me promise not to tell ANYONE what just happened. I didn’t in that job, but we both had a good laugh.


#9: Not a speck of dust

I work for an engineering company. I had an engineer (with an engineering Ph.D., no less) call me about a broken mouse. When I arrived at his office, he showed me the problem by moving the mouse smoothly from one side of the mouse pad to the other while pointing out that the cursor moved in jerks. I showed him how to open the mouse, remove the ball and how to clean the crud from the rollers. After this, the mouse worked perfectly. He was quite happy and I left satisfied that this “problem” had been solved to everyone’s satisfaction. However, the next morning, I again received a call from Dr. X to say that his mouse was broken. This time when I arrived, he moved the mouse from one side of the pad to the other while the cursor did not move at all. When I turned the mouse over, I found that our engineer had decided that the mouse was poorly designed to allow all of the dust and debris to enter it. To correct this poor design, he had applied scotch tape over the entire underside of the mouse! I have to admit, he would probably never have had a dirty mouse problem again!


#10: Most important meal of the day

User: “Is sausage bad for printers?”

To this day, I wish I had replied, “Patties or links?”




In downturn, litigation bonanza for Indian legal outsourcers

November 27, 2008
After mortage-related lawsuits, these firms are now getting work valuing toxic assets and processing foreclosures

Amid talk of job cuts and lower-than-expected results, legal offshorers based in India say they are bucking the trend.

If the first wave of work for legal process outsourcing companies earlier this year stemmed from the rise in US lawsuits related to the subprime mortgage meltdown, the latest wave builds on that, but is also tied even more directly to the crisis; Indian legal outsourcers are now processing American foreclosures, and valuing the toxic assets at the heart of the trouble.

The US treasury department’s $700 billion (Rs35 trillion now) plan to purchase troubled assets from the ailing financial institutions and directly take stakes in the banks is, as expected, a boon for attorneys. What wasn’t expected is just how much of it might move offshore.

“In the short to medium term, there is rising litigation, the valuation of assets in the bailout package, bankruptcy, and it’s coming from all sides,” says Anand Sharma, chief financial officer at the legal services provider, Computer Patent Annuities Ltd (CPA). “Forget about cost arbitrage, I don’t think the US is capable of handling this entire work.”

Indian firms are grabbing pieces of it.
One newer player in the industry, UnitedLex Corp., says it has grown by 400% this year in staffing, from 98 people at the end of last year to some 520 now, with plans to expand to 1,000 by March. Another firm, Pangea3 Llc., says its revenues doubled in size in the first quarter, and doubled again since then. CPA, too, says it grew revenues by 30% this quarter from the corresponding period last year, while Mumbai-based Mindcrest Inc. says it grew 45-50% since April. Revenues for the Bangalore-based Clutch Group Llc., the company says, have doubled this year.

The entire industry reported revenues of $225 million (or Rs902 crore then) in 2007, and is expected to generate revenues of around $640 million by end-2010, according to the research firm ValueNotes Database Pvt. Ltd.

Much of the work specifically tied to the bailout package is yet to come, and will likely start in early 2009. But firms have already started handling related reviews of bank assets. UnitedLex, for example, has seen this area of its business grow by 50% since late March, according to Ajay Agrawal, founder and chief solutions officer. “There are millions of assets shuffling hands, and a lot of work,” says Agrawal, who specialized in asset-backed securities as a lawyer in the US.
It’s not just the highly technical work of reviewing complex derivatives that offshorers are gunning for. Home foreclosures and individual bankruptcies have generally been processed by local lawyers. Bits of the work, on loans held by banks with captive centres in India, have previously moved offshore. But now, with almost 280,000 foreclosures in October alone according to RealtyTrac Inc., up 25% from the same month last year, and up 5% from the month before, even after several states mandated delays on foreclosures, the momentum for offshoring has clearly been building up.

“Volume is a huge driver over the past 18 months, and it still has not plateaued,” says Agrawal, who claims that the foreclosure and bankruptcy processing business at UnitedLex took off at the beginning of the year, and has doubled every quarter since.

Bangalore-based Clutch Group is aggressively pitching itself for a newer piece of this market on foreclosures, one that requires court intervention and typically hasn’t come offshore yet. Lenders spend around $1,000 on this type of foreclosure in the US, and the firm estimates that around 60% of the work done before the lawyers file the case is now segregated and can be brought to India.
The firm is in trial runs with a few clients, according to Clutch Group CEO Abhi Shah. “In the next three-six months, it will be substantial,” he says. “Based on the volume of foreclosures for the past five years, it’s a 45-degree arrow going to the right.”

Foreclosure processing aside, much of the anticipated legal business falls under the larger umbrella of “risk assessment”. Pangea3’s co-chief executive Sanjay Kamlani describes one long-standing technology client who tapped the firm to review all of its customer agreements to assess the likelihood of termination, and what might occur in a change of control. The firm did the same on 25,000 open contracts for another telecom client, he says.
And just over the horizon, once US President-elect Barack Obama takes office in late January, observers expect new regulations overhauling accounting and disclosure requirements for public companies; another legal bonanza that offshore providers are gearing up for.

But the bulk of legal outsourcing revenue is still from the labour-intensive document review projects that any large litigation requires, and interest in outsourcing that work is following a well-trodden route.
Shah describes one large law firm client that signed on with Clutch Group for an 80-attorney document review on a case related to the financial crisis, but kept it on shore. Three months into the project, as cost shot up, the firm tested Indian waters and moved five attorneys offshore. Three weeks later, the number doubled to 10, and two months later, it tripled to 30.

“Before, clients had the luxury of saying, ‘This is interesting, let’s think about it,’” says Shah. “But then they spent $500 million (on a legal budget), they can’t do that any more, and the stakes are higher.”

Save The World Before Its Too Late

November 26, 2008

Is this your name

November 26, 2008

This is an awesome site to get interesting facts on your name. Here is what I got on mine..

Top 5 Facts for this Name:

  1. 33% of the letters are vowels. Of one million first and last names we looked at, 60.6% have a higher vowel make-up. This means you are averagely envoweled.
  2. In ASCII binary it is… 01000100 01100101 01101110 01101110 01101001 01110011 00100000 01001010 01101111 01110011 01100101 01110000 01101000
  3. Backwards, it is Sinned Hpesoj… nice ring to it, huh?
  4. In Pig Latin, it is Ennisday Osephjay.
  5. People with this first name are probably: Male. So, there’s a 98% likelihood you sweat just thinking of the price of shaver blades.

Name Origin and Meaning:

Greek (Root: Denis)
Meaning: of Dionysus (the god of wine), Wild, Frenzied

(origin Hebrew) Increase, addition.

3 Things You Didn’t Know:

  1. Your personal power animal is the King Cheetah
  2. Your ‘Numerology’ number is 3. If it wasn’t bulls**t, it would mean that you are enthusiastic, creative, optimistic, and fun-loving. You seek self-expression through words or the arts, and enjoy learning through life experiences.
  3. According to the US Census Bureau°, 0.417% of US residents have the first name ‘Dennis’ and 0.0331% have the surname ‘Joseph’. The US has around 300 million residents, so we guesstimate there are 414 Americans who go by the name ‘Dennis Joseph’.

//Create your sharelet with desired properties and set button element to false var object2 = SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title:”Three things you didn’t know about Dennis Joseph”, summary:”Here are there things you probably didn’t know about the name Dennis Joseph. See more at”, content:”Did you know that Dennis Joseph…

  1. Translates to the number 3 in numerology
  2. Has the King Cheetah as their Power Animal
  3. Shares their name with a guesstimated 414 Americans?

See more at” }, {button:false}); //Output your customized button document.write(‘Like these 3 things? Share them!‘); //Tie customized button to ShareThis button functionality. var element2 = document.getElementById(“share2”); object2.attachButton(element2); 

Jokes in bad times

November 18, 2008

My broker called me this morning and said,
“Remember that stock we bought and
I said you’d be able to retire at age 55?”

“Yes, I remember,” I said.
“Well,” my broker continued,
“your retirement age is now 108.”

If you are having trouble accessing the online resources, click here!

Ford IKON Diesel – heart transplant from the Fiesta

November 16, 2008

Ford recently launched its new mid-size car FORD IKON. The Ikon comes with a refereshed look with a diesel engine option. Ford claims to capture the mid-size car segment with this newly launched Ford Ikon Diesel.

During the launch, Ford India President Michael Boneham said. “The new Ford Ikon continues to be a leader in its segment and caters to customers with a combination of superior fuel efficiency and improved engine performance.”

Although the Ikon is a refreshed one it has the same Duratorq TDCi diesel engine of Ford Fiesta which gives produces 68ps of max power @ 4000rpm and 160 nm torque @ 2000 rpm.

From the design front, the new Ford Ikon received a lot of changes to the interior and exterior European styling. It has a refreshed slick hood design and a much better front bumper. It comes with a modern instrument cluster with new graphics, tachometer, LED needles and LCD odometer display.

Apart from the above, Ford Ikon comes with lot of new accessories like the side skirts, reversing parking sensor, remote boot release kit, sporty seat covers, neck rest and floor mats.

The price of the New Ford Ikon has been fixed at 5.19 lakh for the diesel version and Rs. 4.59 for the petrol one (ex-showroom Delhi.)

The new Ikon comes in a total of 7 color options – Morello, Diamond White, Panther Black, Moondust Silver, Paprika Red, Platinum and Brush Steel.



Replies included on Child Support Agency forms in the section for listing details about the father.

November 14, 2008

• Regarding the identity of the father of my twins, child A was fathered by John Smith. I am unsure as to the identity of the father of child B, but I believe that he was conceived on the same night.

• I am unsure as to the identity of the father of my child as I was being sick out of a window when taken unexpectedly from behind. I can provide you with a list of names of men that I think were at the party if this helps.

• I do not know the name of the father of my little girl. She was conceived at a party where I had unprotected sex with a man I met that night. I do remember that the sex was so good that I fainted. If you do manage to track down the father can you send me his phone number? Thanks.

• I don’t know the identity of the father of my daughter. He drives a BMW that now has a hole made by my stiletto heel in one of the door panels. Perhaps you can contact BMW service stations in this area and see if he’s had it replaced.

• I have never had sex with a man. I am awaiting a letter from the Pope confirming that my son’s conception was immaculate and that he is Christ risen again.

• I cannot tell you the name of child A’s dad as he informs me that to do so would blow his cover and that would have cataclysmic implications for the British economy. I am torn between doing right by you and right by my country. Please advice.

• I do not know who the father of my child was as all squaddies look the same to me. I can confirm that he was a Royal Green Jacket.

• John Smith is the father of child A. If you do catch up with him can you ask him what he did with my AC/DC CDs?

• From the dates it seems that my daughter was conceived at Euro Disney, maybe it really is the Magic Kingdom.

• So much about that night is a blur. The only thing that I remember for sure is Delia Smith did a programme about eggs earlier in the evening. If I’d have stayed in and watched more TV rather than going to a party, [my eggs] might have remained unfertilized.


Insurance Insanity – List of humorous automobile accident insurance claims.

November 14, 2008

Coming home I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t
The other car collided with mine without giving me warning of its intention.
I thought my window was down, but I found it was up when I put my head
through it.
I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.
A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.
The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve several times before I hit him.
I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother in law and
headed over the embankment.
In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
I had been shopping for a plant all day and was on my way home. As I
reached an inter-section a hedge sprang up, obscuring my vision and I did
not see the other car.
I had been driving for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an
I was on the way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint
gave way causing me to have an accident and damage my big end.
As I approached the intersection a sign appeared in a place where no stop
sign had ever appeared before. I was unable to stop in time to avoid the
To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front I stuck a pedestrian.
My car was legally parked as it backed into another vehicle.
An invisible car came out of nowhere, stuck my car and vanished.
I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat I found that I
had a fractured skull.
The pedestrian had no idea which direction to run. So I ran over him.
I saw a slow moving, sad faced old gentleman as he bounced off the roof of
my car.
The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big
I was thrown from my car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by
some stray cows.
The telephone pole was approaching. I was attempting to swerve out the way
when I struck the front end.
The accident was caused by me waving to the man I hit last week.
I knocked over a man, he admitted it was his fault as he’d been knocked over

Origins: € Each of these entries are reputed to be actual statements found on insurance
claim forms where car drivers attempted to summarise the details of an accident in the
fewest possible words.

Is a clickjacking attack, virus dropper or something else?

November 12, 2008

For those of you who have been regularly using GMail, the recent arrival of unexplained chats from your friends might have piqued your curiosity. A chat lands up in your GMail Inbox claiming to have been sent to you by one of your friends bearing some sort of cheesy one liners and that you should click on the link to view them. Something like this:

Though usually I’m highly suspicious of these sorts of clicks, I went ahead and clicked it. (After all, Firefox, my favourite web browser has quite a decent track record as far as security is concerned).The site that opened up looked like:

Now, I’m not going to be giving up my Google Account password to any site that just asks for it. No Way! Not a Chance! Not even if it boasts of the Google Talk logo. But then, there are all kinds of people in the world and some are likely to enter their Google ids and passwords due to ignorance. In my opinion, this site is a fraud that is directly and obviously obtaining access to userids and passwords of GMail accounts and using them to perpetuate a mass mailing campaign from within the comfortable confines of your GMail inbox. The fact that there exists a hidden link to (a highly SEOed advert site – see image) by means of a 1px x 1px image, bolsters my gut feeling about this site. Beware all of you who get a link to – I think that its just the tip of a very large iceberg. Recent reports of a click based vulnerability in all browsers is a further cause for tension. Be on your toes everyone! More information on clickjacking is available here.

The hidden links on the GTalk page is:

And the home page looks like this:

All links on this page lead to login areas of different popular e-mail and IM sites. So beware the casual web surfer: this does not augur well for the web. Currently, the best known safety solution is to install the NoScript addon for Firefox and use it to disable iframes.

10 Most Irritating Expressions in the English language

November 10, 2008

A Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare is a new book by Jeremy Butterfield that “takes a thorough look at the English language and exposes its peculiarities and penchants, its development and difficulties, revealing exactly how it operates.”

Top 10 Most Annoying Phrases
1 – At the end of the day
2 – Fairly unique
3 – I personally
4 – At this moment in time
5 – With all due respect
6 – Absolutely
7 – It’s a nightmare
8 – Shouldn’t of
9 – 24/7
10 – It’s not rocket science

I’m a notorious pain-in-the-neck when it comes to poor word choice and business-speak. The words above (and so many more) are crutches for weak vocabularies.

My most hated fake/real word is incentivize. Eg. “I will incentivize the staff with a talk titled RIP Good Times.”

I also get annoyed when people start statements with “hopefully”, as in “Hopefully, someone will read this post and leave a comment that illustrates my genius.”

For the record I take no responsibility for my own actions or statements.

Via Wired