Another Luser WTF



  • This one's too good not to share.  My worst customer (who I've ranted about here before) emailed me another good one yesterday.  Our software interfaces to another companies software via tcpip messages over the network between the enterprise server that we run on and the client pc which runs the other software.  They're doing jack-knows-what-du-jour and found that when they do something or other on their network that the timestamps in the other software are off by one month.  So he was asking me if I knew anything that might cause that, i.e. is our software sending the wrong timestamp to them.

    No, I tell him, each software package is responsible for it's own timestamps.  I suggest checking the clock on the local pc's.  He replies no they're fine.  That's not the problem because it's not the time that's wrong, it's the MONTH.

    Whatever, I roll my eyes and tell him to ask the other software vendor.  He writes back that the other vendor is being no help at all, they just told him to check the clock on the pc's.  The pc's are fine, he insists.

    Hmm, says I.  Well, I don't know, sorry I can't help.  (sheesh)



  • So the guy just asked for help?  I don't see the big WTF here.. 



  • Jeez, Morbius I'm starting to think you're that customer!  :D

    Let me point it out:   1)  he doesn't understand that the pc clock contains both the time and date,

    2)  he had both software vendors tell him to check the pc clocks, and dismissed that advise both times.  This one falls under the heading "if lots of people are telling you the same thing, maybe they have a point"....



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    Jeez, Morbius I'm starting to think you're that customer!  :D

    Let me point it out:   1)  he doesn't understand that the pc clock contains both the time and date,

    2)  he had both software vendors tell him to check the pc clocks, and dismissed that advise both times.  This one falls under the heading "if lots of people are telling you the same thing, maybe they have a point"....

     

    It really sounds to me like the problem is you, not him.



  • Or maybe he already checked the clock and verified that the date and time were correct, summarizing that poorly as "the time is correct."



  • Hmm!  Granted I'm old and bitter, but can you elaborate on that?  I did try to help him but he refused my advice.   Given that the problem timestamp is showing up in the other software, not mine, and my software isn't sending it the timestamp what more can I do?



  • Could it be that they've forgotten that the ANSI-standard months index from 0, not 1?  In which direction is the problem?  Are they one month shy, or one month late?



  • @mrprogguy said:

    Could it be that they've forgotten that the ANSI-standard months index from 0, not 1?  In which direction is the problem?  Are they one month shy, or one month late?
     

    That's the first thing that I thought too, as the zero-based month index in the Java date classes always throw me off. I'm glad that it's actually a standard that came up with this nonsense and not the Java API developers.. at least they have a good excuse :)



  • Well, I mean you did the right thing telling him what the problem was, the problem is that he's too daft to get what you mean. I don't know what types of customers you have but this sounds like most of the customers I have. If I were you I'd tell the client to install some kind of VNC and just take this dolt out of the loop. If he want's to sit back and watch the magic as you right click on the time and change the date, so be it. Don't let the bastards keep you down.



  • Get him to run:

    echo.  | date > date.txt

    And send you date.txt (assuming it's Windows).



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    Jeez, Morbius I'm starting to think you're that customer!  :D

    Let me point it out:   1)  he doesn't understand that the pc clock contains both the time and date,

    2)  he had both software vendors tell him to check the pc clocks, and dismissed that advise both times.  This one falls under the heading "if lots of people are telling you the same thing, maybe they have a point"....

     

    Let me point out 1) he's the customer and 2) the customer is always right ;-) 

    Perhaps a better tact in explaining that it isn't the clock (as in time) but date that needs checking and maybe an e-mail with a screen shot to help him along would be in order. Along with checking the attitude at the door that this is a "problem" customer because as long as this is the assumption he surely will live up to your expectations. 



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    Hmm!  Granted I'm old and bitter, but can you elaborate on that?  I did try to help him but he refused my advice.   Given that the problem timestamp is showing up in the other software, not mine, and my software isn't sending it the timestamp what more can I do?

    I'm not saying it's your fault or problem, just that the guy sounds like he was asking for help from someone he did business with.  He probably realized it wasn't your fault, but it sounds like you're turning down an opportunity to help someone out and those opportunities are often fruitful if taken advantage of.  Obviously you can just tell him it's not your problem and that isn't bad, but I hardly see a WTF on his part.



  • I note that the date of your post is 05/07/2008. However in the British Empire we write 07/05/2008. You American rebels have wrecked the system. No wonder a poor computer is getting confused somewhere..



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    sounds like you're turning down an opportunity to help someone out and those opportunities are often fruitful if taken advantage of
     

    I tend to agree with this. Just today my boss came by and said "Joan called to say thanks for your quick turnaround on yadayada ..." and off the top of my head I didn't even know what the hell I did (just my job) but you put on a smile and acknowledge and then go look up the e-mail chain to see what it was in the ad-hoc e-mail box you replied to that was appreciated :-)

    It all goes in the file. All my customers are internal but most of them would go to battle for me if I needed the help. Customers are your friends, not the enemy ;-) Grok it.



  • @ropata said:

    I note that the date of your post is 05/07/2008. However in the British Empire we write 07/05/2008.
     

    So does this mean we're living in the past and you're forward thinking or ...

    Does it mean we're living for today and you're living for tomorrow never knows?

     



  •  @ropata said:

    I note that the date of your post is 05/07/2008. However in the British Empire we write 07/05/2008. You American rebels have wrecked the system. No wonder a poor computer is getting confused somewhere..

    Right!  2008-05-07 it is, then.

    Back on topic....

    The OP provided a troubleshooting tip.  Another vendor provided the very same troubleshooting tip.  The customer disregarded this tip both times.  I agree that the customer is off on this one.

     



  • @ropata said:

    I note that the date of your post is 05/07/2008. However in the British Empire we write 07/05/2008. You American rebels have wrecked the system. No wonder a poor computer is getting confused somewhere..
    My opinion about the British Empire has just become slightly better.

    Still, I believe you need to adjust your value of <font face="courier new,courier">ctl00_bcr_ctl04_ctl02_DateFormat</font> at <font face="courier new,courier">EditProfile.aspx</font> to something other than <font face="courier new,courier">M/d/yyyy</font>.



  • @Critter said:

    The OP provided a troubleshooting tip.  Another vendor provided the very same troubleshooting tip.  The customer disregarded this tip both times.  I agree that the customer is off on this one.
     

    Did he "disregard" the tip or just follow it incorrectly?  For every time you said, "check the clock", he very well could have just looked at the clock display on the right of his taskbar and thought to himself "these guys are idiots!"  At that point, you really should have realized and given a slightly better explanation.   

    It's still funny though, but don't give the guy too hard of a time. 



  • Ok, I realize that my wording made it look like I was mean to him. I wasn't, I was nice and professional, but firm. My meanness was only shared with you guys. Also, it's not apparent by my post that I quite literally meant this customer is a problem child. I support lots of customers, but this one is one of those kinds that will push you and push you and... give them an inch and they demand a mile. I've been working with them for 6 years now, and for the first 5 years I was as sweet as can be. Which ended up with them calling me literally every 5 minutes for the tiniest help like "how do I copy a file" etc, and me finally telling my manager that I couldn't/wouldn't put up with it anymore. They have internal IT staff and shouldn't be pestering me like that. We talked about this in previous threads, so I didn't want to rehash it.

    Along with that, what they're trying to do NOW is get support from ME for everything they do and own. Would you call Microsoft support for a problem with Quicken software just because you know a responsive MS support rep? No, and they shouldn't either, but they effectively are trying to do that.

    Also note that I gave him my best guess as to what the problem was. The bad date showed up in somebody else's software. For all I know they have a coding error and the PC clocks really are fine. I can't help him troubleshoot that because the other software vendor doesn't pay me to support their products. For all of my other customers I would definitely be sweet as candy and help them document the problem as ammunition against the unresponsive vendor. But because of the history with these guys.... sorry, I can't do that anymore.



  • In terms of most and least significant digits, with  '7' the most significant and '0' the least,  we have '32-10-7654' in the American date convention, and '10-32-7654' in the British convention.

    At least the American way is consistent in its middle-endian-ness.



  • Often customers don't want to feel stupid. An older post on TDWTF had a site link which indicates certain ways to phrase questions... Such can be "Please unplug then plug your keyboard/mouse back in". Why would they ask something so stupid and useless? Because if its unplugged the customer won't admit that they are dumb and actually check. They would always answer "yea it is" to the question "Is your keyboard plugged in?". Meanwhile this excersize may have forced the customer to realize that the keyboard is unplugged and would say "yea that helped".

    Tell him, can you please type date (linux) and tell me the full string there? Oh? It seems that you need to set the month appropriately for this machine. There now the client could save face.



  • @Rootbeer said:

    In terms of most and least significant digits, with  '7' the most significant and '0' the least,  we have '32-10-7654' in the American date convention, and '10-32-7654' in the British convention.

      32-10-7654   10-32-7654
    0 . .
    1 . .
    2 . .
    3 . .
    4 . .
    5 . .
    6 . .
    7 . .

    I still prefer component-wise endianess, be it big or little. And if possible, using month names.



  • @Rootbeer said:

    In terms of most and least significant digits, with  '7' the most significant and '0' the least,  we have '32-10-7654' in the American date convention, and '10-32-7654' in the British convention.

    I love how there's all this arguing over significant digits and which date format is the best, and yet I get dirty looks for using ISO 8601 on my checks/cheques. No confusion there about when I issued it...

    7654-32-10



  • Endianess is not particualary helpfull in this question. From a programmers point of view, the yyyy-mm-dd format is best.

    Yet people rather do not use it in real life. Supposed reason: In this format, the most interesting information comes last. That's because most dates that appear somewhere in messages etc. are for the current year.() For example, if we make an appointment, chances are it happens this year. If we get a report about something that has happened, it probably happened this year. Not because most things happen this year, but most messages are about events that happen in the same year as the event.

    This makes the American format mm-dd-yyyy kind of clever, as strange as it seems for us Europeans: Important information first, details second, probably-redundant information last. 

     

    () More precise: Within the next 12 months for events in the future, within the last 12 months for events in the past. You get the idea. 



  • @ammoQ said:

    From a programmers point of view, the yyyy-mm-dd format is best.
    It allows lexical comparison of dates, which is a Good Thing IMO. You can even extend it with hh:mm:ss.@ammoQ said:
    This makes the American format mm-dd-yyyy kind of clever, as strange as it seems for us Europeans: Important information first, details second, probably-redundant information last. 
    I kind of agree with you, except that argument looses strength if you reduce your granularity to weeks or days. In that case, days are the important stuff, and months become somewhat redundant.

    Consider a webserver log, an email inbox, a list of dates in a multi-day conference, a list of bank account transactions... It's easier to mentally parse different dates when you're in dd-mm-yyyy format than when in mm-dd-yyyy format, if the dates are aligned in a column.

    Edit: just to clarify, by this I mean parsing different consecutive dates.



  • Addendum: and by consecutive I mean physically adjacent !



  • @ammoQ said:

    This makes the American format mm-dd-yyyy kind of clever, as strange as it seems for us Europeans: Important information first, details second, probably-redundant information last. 

     That presupposes that the month is the most important piece of information.

    IMHO, the reason people either side of the pond prefer their different order is that it reflects the way we naturally say dates. In the UK, at least, we tend to say 'the 7th of May', whereas in the US I understand 'May 7th' is more standard.

    Not saying either is right, but that's my £0.02 / $0.02.

     P.S. Does anyone apart from me use IMO as a euphemism for 'I'm sure I'm right' and IMHO for 'I'm F**king sure I'm right'?



  • @Mark said:

     P.S. Does anyone apart from me use IMO as a euphemism for 'I'm sure I'm right' and IMHO for 'I'm F**king sure I'm right'?

     

    IMO yes. 



  • @ammoQ said:

    @Mark said:

     P.S. Does anyone apart from me use IMO as a euphemism for 'I'm sure I'm right' and IMHO for 'I'm Fking sure I'm right'?

     

    IMO yes. 

     

    Whats diff between IMO and IMHO? Is IMO same thing as IMHO except you might be lying in which its not really your opinion or you don't fully believe it, or you typed it while having a gun pointed at your head so its your opinion because you are coerced? ISIR and I(FUCKING)SIR is a better acronym :)

     

     

    Also why write Fking?

    1) Everybody here knows what you mean.

    2) If kids were reading they would try to find out what F**king means. 

    3) It does not change the fact that you are saying Fucking.

     

    I just think this whole notion of self-censorship is stupid :P



  • @dlikhten said:

    Whats diff between IMO and IMHO? Is IMO same thing as IMHO except you might be lying in which its not really your opinion or you don't fully believe it, or you typed it while having a gun pointed at your head so its your opinion because you are coerced? ISIR and I(FUCKING)SIR is a better acronym :)
    You are assuming that IMHO stands for In My Honest Opinion, which is obviously redundant, as you pointed out.

    IMHO, IMHO really stands for In My Humble Opinion which makes a lot more sense, although I'm sure the sentiment is rarely genuine.  I think it is just one of those phrases which got misinterpreted and mangled along the way, like "I couldn't care less" (which morphed to "I could care less") and "laughing all the way to the bank" (which started out as "crying all the way to the bank".)



  • @dlikhten said:

    Also why write F**king?
     

    Because most of us have the common courtesy to keep things from being NSFW when possible? 



  • @KenW said:

    @dlikhten said:

    Also why write F**king?
     

    Because most of us have the common courtesy to keep things from being NSFW when possible? 

    Everyone knows what it really means, so anyone who is offended by the word Fucking will also be offended by F**king. All sticking the stars in there does is draws more attention to the word. Look, I'm using a NAUGHTY WORD! Either refrain from using the word at all, or just admit you're swearing and swear.



  • @alegr said:

    Get him to run:

    echo.  | date > date.txt

    And send you date.txt (assuming it's Windows).

    Interestingly, the syntax is identical on Linux and I assumed you were using Linux (or other Unix) until you mentioned Windows.



  • @dlikhten said:

    Also why write F**king?

    Indeed, this is for NSFW courtesy.  You never know when someone's logging your browsing and noting profanity usage.



  • @Mark said:

    Not saying either is right, but that's my £0.02 / $0.02.

     

     

    Well actually, given the pitiful weakness of the dollar, your £0.02 is more like $0.039...you should really only give your £0.01 so it dosn't outweigh us poor Americans :)



  • @skippy said:

    @dlikhten said:

    Also why write F**king?

    Indeed, this is for NSFW courtesy.  You never know when someone's logging your browsing and noting profanity usage.

     

    You are joking right? I need to worry about being fired for using the word fuck vs going to thedailywtf.com? I would think its riskier to go to TDWTF.



  • @skippy said:

    Indeed, this is for NSFW courtesy.  You never know when someone's logging your browsing and noting profanity usage.

    So your employer doesn't care if you spend all day jerking off on a forum but the word "fuck" will get you in trouble?  Fuck that. <font color="#ffffff" size="1">fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
    fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
    fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
    fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
    fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck</font>



  • @morbiuswilters said:

     <font size="1" color="#ffffff">fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
    fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
    fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
    fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
    fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfu
    ckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck</font>

     

    <all praise!>

    You are so evil!

    </all praise!>



  • @ropata said:

    I note that the date of your post is 05/07/2008. However in the British Empire we write 07/05/2008. You American rebels have wrecked the system. No wonder a poor computer is getting confused somewhere..

     

    The Real WTF - Ropata believes there is still such a thing as a "British Empire" 



  • @dlikhten said:

    I would think its riskier to go to TDWTF.

     

    Not really. Just pretend you were going to post a question about a tricky problem in the "coding related questions" forum. I wouldn't know a better place to ask for help on non-trivial problems.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    So your employer doesn't care if you spend all day jerking off on a forum but the word "fuck" will get you in trouble?  Fuck that

    And wouldn't the language in the tag cloud cause a problem even before you started reading posts that contained the word <whisper>fuck</whisper>?

    I tried to go to a Citrix/Terminal Server site today at www.dabcc.com but typed babcc instead.  Thank fuck for an understanding boss.



  • @upsidedowncreature said:

    And wouldn't the language in the tag cloud cause a problem even before you started reading posts that contained the word <whisper>fuck</whisper>?

    I tried to go to a Citrix/Terminal Server site today at www.dabcc.com but typed babcc instead.  Thank fuck for an understanding boss.

    Fuck, I was going to buy feminine hygiene products today but ended up at some faggot virtualization support site. 


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