Technical Support Phone lines

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  • Tiitiz 20 Nov 2002 15:41:21 1,128 posts
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    Anyone called a Technical Support line? Which one? Much help or?
  • Dirtbox 20 Nov 2002 15:44:33 91,433 posts
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  • Gestalt 20 Nov 2002 15:52:37 98 posts
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    Is that the one with the really scratchy CD that keeps skipping, or have they fixed it since then? :)
  • ssuellid 20 Nov 2002 15:53:55 19,141 posts
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    Do NTL still play one and only one song on repeat continuously?
  • Dirtbox 20 Nov 2002 15:57:04 91,433 posts
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  • Deleted user 20 November 2002 16:09:08
    I had to call them recently and the hold music sounded like Pure Moods or something. Much better!
  • Deleted user 20 November 2002 16:19:23
    I've found technical support lines don't tell me anything I don't already know. By definition the problem is with their product or service, and all my call becomes is notification of that. It's usually unsolveable in any case, as if it could've been fixed I would've fixed it, and not needed to call them. If it does turn out to be an unfixable product or service fault the decision making level isn't to be found in technical support and won't be fixed soon in any case.

    Technical support is the end result of having badly designed products and manuals. If goods and services weren't rushed out faster than a knee-jerk bill through parliament it wouldn't be needed anywhere near as often.
  • Mr_Sleep 20 Nov 2002 16:22:03 23,487 posts
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    They do make a great deal of money for a company though, plus they also increase jobs.
  • UncleLou Moderator 20 Nov 2002 16:22:40 40,158 posts
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    I agree with Feersum. And they usually think one hasn't got a clue at all (well, rather the fault of the other callers's who really don't have a clue) and give advice like "is it switched on?", but obviously feel offended when you tell them you know how to access the Task Manager or something.

    Edited by UncleLou at 16:23:12 20-11-2002
  • Deleted user 20 November 2002 16:31:36
    Mr Sleep wrote:
    They do make a great deal of money for a company though, plus they also increase jobs.

    That may be so. I think it's a deceitful way of making money. I also think national tax and employment policies need a little tinkering with to stop encouraging the creation of jobs that shouldn't exist.
  • Deleted user 20 November 2002 16:34:22
    Feersum Boundah wrote:
    I've found technical support lines don't tell me anything I don't already know. By definition the problem is with their product or service, and all my call becomes is notification of that. It's usually unsolveable in any case, as if it could've been fixed I would've fixed it, and not needed to call them. If it does turn out to be an unfixable product or service fault the decision making level isn't to be found in technical support and won't be fixed soon in any case.

    Technical support is the end result of having badly designed products and manuals. If goods and services weren't rushed out faster than a knee-jerk bill through parliament it wouldn't be needed anywhere near as often.

    Even if you spend 10 years testing a product you will never be able to guarantee 100% compatibility with any product.

    Technical support lines are there to collate information regarding known problems and provide users with a solution if not a refund.

    Without some form of support I would definitely think twice about purchasing that product.
  • UncleLou Moderator 20 Nov 2002 16:35:43 40,158 posts
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    Hm, I think they often do help people indeed. I work with a lot of people who are a bit older and have just recently made the first steps within our network, and they need help with so basic things it's hard to believe (no offense intended, they're just inexperienced). But they are certainly not helpful for people who know a little bit about soft- and hardware.
  • MetalDog 20 Nov 2002 16:38:26 24,076 posts
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    Personally I've found Blueyonder's help pages and tech support line pretty, er, helpful.

    It's a first, mind.
  • Deleted user 20 November 2002 16:52:00
    Cheese McPhee wrote:
    Even if you spend 10 years testing a product you will never be able to guarantee 100% compatibility with any product. Technical support lines are there to collate information regarding known problems and provide users with a solution if not a refund. Without some form of support I would definitely think twice about purchasing that product.

    I disagree with the sentiment that comprehensive and fault proof testing is impossible. The basic fault lies with badly drafted specifications and poor quality control. Rushing products to market before they're finished doesn't help. What is interesting is that people have been brainwashed into thinking that's normal. It's not normal when compared to other industries, neither is it desireable.
  • ssuellid 20 Nov 2002 16:54:30 19,141 posts
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    FB, are implying that software can also be 100% tested and fault proof?
  • Deleted user 20 November 2002 16:57:42
    Feersum Boundah wrote:
    Cheese McPhee wrote:
    Even if you spend 10 years testing a product you will never be able to guarantee 100% compatibility with any product. Technical support lines are there to collate information regarding known problems and provide users with a solution if not a refund. Without some form of support I would definitely think twice about purchasing that product.

    I disagree with the sentiment that comprehensive and fault proof testing is impossible. The basic fault lies with badly drafted specifications and poor quality control. Rushing products to market before they're finished doesn't help. What is interesting is that people have been brainwashed into thinking that's normal. It's not normal when compared to other industries, neither is it desireable.

    Nope sorry, it is impossible for any software product to be 100% tested and fault proof.

    I agree that rushing products does not help the situation but there are simply too many different hardware/software combinations.
  • Dirtbox 20 Nov 2002 17:02:24 91,433 posts
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  • Pirotic Moderator 20 Nov 2002 17:04:59 20,642 posts
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    My sister used to work for Star Internet tech support line, funny story was when she told a guy to double click on "My Computer" and he started shouting about how the hell can he click on HER computer.

    classic :)
  • Deleted user 20 November 2002 17:09:54
    ssuellid wrote:
    FB, are implying that software can also be 100% tested and fault proof?

    It can. It just takes a long time and is expensive. What would be useful is for the underlying languages to be better designed, fool proof, and for programmers to stop being hacks and start software engineering. Oh, and test their crap. Ditto hardware, protocols, and anything else this stuff sits on top of. We need less change and more progress.

    The costs to society and business, of faulty kit, are being looked at more closely. For every hour saved by a company shaving costs, the pain and cost can be felt by every user of that product. Saving a penny here costs a pound elsewhere. This is not good enough.
  • ssuellid 20 Nov 2002 17:15:08 19,141 posts
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    Its a bit chicken and egg tho. You need the perfect tools before you can make the perfect product, but how do you make the perfect tools in the first place?
  • sam_spade 20 Nov 2002 17:24:28 15,745 posts
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    By living in a perfect world, with flawless humans?
  • Deleted user 20 November 2002 17:24:30
    Dirtbox wrote:
    clearly you have no realistic incarnation of how things work prior to a game being released. you also don't seem to grasp the fact that there are practically an infinite amount of system configurations to contend with, let alone the individual needs and preferences of each user. i won't even go into compatibility with any software they might have ticking away in the background.

    I have every understanding thankyou. The so-called infinite variety of systems is complete bunkum. Programmers write to an API which is an abstraction designed for the express purpose of rendering system configuration irrelevant. Code sits on top of this API whether it be Win32, DirectX, OpenGL, or whatever.

    Badly designed hardware and ill-written drivers are not the concern of software developers. Writing a kludge to get around a fault beneath the API is a sign that there is something wrong below this API not with the application on top.

    After you've abstracted key areas such as file system, networking, graphics, sound, interface, etcetera, the remaining ninety percent of the problem never touches base API's at all. This ten percent is nothing new. It's not rocket science. It should be a given that it's fault free.

    if you can make a game that will work on any system then you will be a very rich man indeed. would you like a job?

    I doubt you could afford me. :)
  • Dirtbox 20 Nov 2002 18:07:16 91,433 posts
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  • Dirtbox 20 Nov 2002 18:37:38 91,433 posts
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  • Tiitiz 20 Nov 2002 18:41:11 1,128 posts
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    Feersum - Have you even considered the support of older software/hardware with new software/hardware?

    How do you think PC software/hardware can be 100% tested and reliable with products that are not even exsisting yet?


    lots of software/hardware words ;)
  • Deleted user 20 November 2002 18:59:42
    The so-called infinite variety of systems is complete bunkum.

    Although you may use large words, it won't make any more sense.

    I am amazed that for someone who seems to have a good understanding of PCs sees them in such an idealistic light.

    The nature of a PC means you have to design a game to cater for a large range of platforms and all the time trying to take advantage of each individual feature of each peripheral. Sooner or later something will clash.

    Technical support will always be needed to notify the programmers of these 'clashes' and offer the customer a solution.

    Pure and simple. :)

    Edited by Cheese McPhee at 19:01:47 20-11-2002
  • Deleted user 20 November 2002 19:39:53
    Dirtbox wrote:
    you yourself said that it would be an expensive and lengthy task, it could add years of development time for a single game. It is also very true that release dates are pushed forward to compete with other similar titles, this pushes things forward and healthy competition is what keeps the industry thriving. Without that competition we'd still be playing pong, maybe even pong 2.

    While that argument sounds persuasive, it's persuasive only on the surface. The advances that have been made are minimal, and largely a result of increased processing power not functionality. Moreover, you're confusing tech and creative curves. Also, competition in and of itself, like the free market, brings as many problems to the table as it does solutions.

    What you are saying is that as long as the system is sound then the software will work, unfortunately in the real world many people have no real understanding of their system and it is often far from sound. sadly the world isn't a case of black and white as you appear to suggest, it infact has an entire spectrum. this is the job of tech support bods to sort out, hence the reason for this thread and if they are any use and what your experiences are.

    It's precisely as black and white as I suggest. You're confusing user space with developer space. As long as the industry is willing to perpetuate those myths end-users will never have access to a well designed and fault free experience. I'd also highlight the fact that bad design and implementation leads to user space being more complex and difficult to use than it need be. If it weren't many of the reliability and useability problems would disappear (along with tech support departments) in an instant.

    as for not being able to afford you, i don't think 23p and a kitkat is out of my reach :)

    That would buy about five seconds.

    Tiitiz wrote:
    Have you even considered the support of older software/hardware with new software/hardware? How do you think PC software/hardware can be 100% tested and reliable with products that are not even exsisting yet?

    There are no excuses. HArdware is now completely abstracted from developers. Nobody codes to hardware anymore. If a driver can't be provided that meets the spec then there's nothing to worry about in any case. Writing to an API also insulate you from future change. Remember, programmers code to an API not hardware.

    Anyway, to bring it back on topic...

    Bad specifications and implementations lead to useability and workability problems that require solutions. Given the massive credibility gap of the PC platform it's not surprising that so many people are employed in tech support positions. Given the lack of feedback effectiveness most tech support departments are part of the problem rather than a cure. They exist to patch up something that shouldn't need patching in the first place.

    Cheese McPhee wrote:
    The nature of a PC means you have to design a game to cater for a large range of platforms and all the time trying to take advantage of each individual feature of each peripheral. Sooner or later something will clash. Technical support will always be needed to notify the programmers of these 'clashes' and offer the customer a solution.

    Not true. As I said before, you code to an API. That's in system space not application space. Anything that goes wrong in system space is the fault of the OS or driver vendor. Large range of platforms and peripherals is a myth spouted by the ill-informed. Where specific hardware functionality is exposed through extensions (like in OpenGL) you code and test to the extensions. Again, you're not dealing directly with the hardware.
  • ssuellid 20 Nov 2002 20:40:35 19,141 posts
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    "HArdware is now completely abstracted from developers. Nobody codes to hardware anymore"

    Apart from me and a few hundred thousand other people.

    Do you actually develop software yourself?

    To create a 100% fault free software system you will need 100% fault free hardware developed using 100% fault free tools - written using 100% fault free software. It goes on. You would need to start out with a fault free hardware platform.

    You may be talking to the hardware via APIs but the hardware you are talking to has its own software. Each board has its own software which will differ through software revisions and from manufacturer to manufacturer. Not all boards will act the same - response times may be different, features supported will be different.
  • Deleted user 20 November 2002 21:01:04
    Ahab wrote:
    I think that errors, mistakes etc are inevitable and that eliminating all unexpected behaviour would not help but impede progress. This doesn't mean that comprehensive quality control is not desirable - it is; but I think that investing too much work into getting something done -exactly- the way you want it does stifle innovation. [...] So I think that the more complex software becomes, the less it will (or should) be expected to perform correctly. Don't get me wrong: I like specifications, standards, API's etc. I just don't think that we should rely too much on them.

    I'm talking about a change in perspective and getting people at the various layers to accept responsibility for their own work and stop shifting the blame where it doesn't belong. The increased complexity argument is a flawed defence in many respects.

    ssuellid wrote:
    "HArdware is now completely abstracted from developers. Nobody codes to hardware anymore"

    Apart from me and a few hundred thousand other people.

    I'm making the distinction between application developers who code to an OS level API and driver writers. It's not the remit of an application developer to code below the API.

    Do you actually develop software yourself?

    Yes. It works. Period.

    To create a 100% fault free software system you will need 100% fault free hardware developed using 100% fault free tools - written using 100% fault free software. It goes on. You would need to start out with a fault free hardware platform.

    That's implementation not program you're talking about. It's possible to create perfect software that fails to work if the underlying implementation is broken.

    You may be talking to the hardware via APIs but the hardware you are talking to has its own software. Each board has its own software which will differ through software revisions and from manufacturer to manufacturer. Not all boards will act the same - response times may be different, features supported will be different.

    Irrelevant to an API. Again, you're confusing application level with OS level.
  • ssuellid 20 Nov 2002 21:15:09 19,141 posts
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    "It's possible to create perfect software that fails to work if the underlying implementation is broken."

    With the fantasy perfect compiler you may be able to create perfect software. How do you prove that your software is perfect?

    "underlying implementation is broken" of which there are thousands of variants you would have to be able to cope with on the PC. APIs do not hide the hardware from you completely.


    Edited by ssuellid at 21:19:18 20-11-2002
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