Thursday, 24 November 2011

Jargon: Is it just me or...?

This from my early days working in ISP TS.  Or for those who hate acronyms: Internet Service Provider (the company you pay for your Internet connection) Technical Support.  The guy you ring when something doesn't work like email etc.:

I'm not sure if it's just me.. (surely not) but when I was in school we were taught basic things like punctuation, so you can imagine my surprise to have the following conversation with a fair number of customers - of varying ages so it's not a modern thing - over the 6.5 years I worked there:

Me: OK sir [or madam] please type in 'C [colon] [backslash]'...
Cmr: What?
Me: Can you type in C [colon]
Cmr: What's a colon?
Me: *always VERY tempted at this point to go for the gag but restrained myself*: OK press the SHIFT key, hold it, and tap the one to the right of the L.
Cmr: Oh you mean the double dot [or sometimes dot dot]

Me: *opens mouth*
Cmr: Don't you use your computer jargon with me!
Me: *screams silently in head 'It's basic English punctuation not *bleep*ing jargon!* *closes mouth*

The call generally ended fairly ignominiously but with the problem solved.  Oh and in case you're wondering (as I'm sure you are).  What did they call a semi-colon?  Yes, got it in one. A 'dot comma'.


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