Wrongle dongle

Why is it always the last thing you think of that works?

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

Pilot fish is doing over-the-phone technical support for a big computer maker and fields a call from an elderly gentleman who can’t log into his PC. Nothing they try is working, so fish has the fellow attach a wired keyboard instead of the wireless one he’s been using. It works, so the problem’s source has been narrowed down.

But the man and his wife really prefer their wireless keyboard and mouse, so fish stays on the line to help them troubleshoot. Wireless USB dongle is in the USB port? Check. OK, try changing USB ports. No help. User says he still has an older wireless keyboard and mouse; should he try them? Absolutely, says fish. But that doesn’t work either.

This call has now lasted twice as long as the 15-minute maximum the company imposes, but fish won’t give up. On a hunch, he asks the user to take another look at the dongles for those two wireless keyboards. And what do you know — they got swapped out at some point, and they’re from two different manufacturers. When the user switched the wireless keyboards, he switched the dongles as well, so the problem persisted.

Sharky always has time for your true tales of IT life. Send them to me me at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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