A lesson learned

So you know how when you call any form of technical support line they treat you like you are about three years old -and stupid for that age-? Turns out they do it for a pretty good reason.

I am pretty good with Windows, not in the I can use a computer sort of way, but in the diagnosing problems with hardware/software sort of way. I don’t have a lot of confidence in myself when I have to start screwing with the BIOS, but I do it when I have to (on my own machine at least) and nearly always have good results (not counting the time when my mom’s pc had a boot sector virus and I just gave up and bought her a new machine).

I am familiar enough with Windows 95, 98 and XP that I can usually troubleshoot problems and repair them over the phone (that being software/driver type problems, not major problems). I was trying to help a guy out with what I thought was a software related problem just yesterday.

Microsoft recently released an update for the Windows Media Player, it totally fucked up the microphone on my machine. Well, technically it didn’t fuck up the microphone, it just made it so that I wasn’t able to use it with the program that I wanted to use it with (teamspeak being the program). For unknown reasons the update set all my settings back to default, thus not using the sound card that I had installed recently, and also for unknown reasons it set my mic volume all the way down and my line in volume all the way up. Yay Microsoft! I was able to solve the problem on my own machine in about ten minutes.

There was another guy playing the game I was playing who also was having problems with his microphone. I had never talked to him before, as he was new to our group, but I assumed that his problem was the same as the problem that I was having. I walked him through all the steps that I took on my machine to get it working, but his still wouldn’t work. After about fifteen minutes of text chat trying to fix the software problem I decided to ask a few different questions.

I had him run a mic test on his pc, which was not able to detect a voice at all. I asked him to check where he had the mic plugged in (a lot of people mistakenly plug it into the line out slot), which was correct. Then I asked him if he was sure that the microphone worked, which, as it turns out, is the question I should have asked first. He plugged in a different microphone and it all worked just fine.

I am telling myself that the other steps were necessary anyway, though I really don’t know if they were; his settings all seemed correct as I was walking him through it. At any rate it was a lesson learned. There is a pretty good reason why the technical support people think that you are stupid, usually you are.

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