I've been asked why I have an inherit distrust for the customer. Well, when people, on a daily basis, try to return something saying it's not used and it's used or when they break something and they tell me that it was broken when they got it, you tend to be a bit on the paranoid side.
Call me bitter, but Comdex didn't change my impression on human kind.
The first problem was that the computers were more popular than anyone could have imagined. Our pavilion was right where the Central Hall met the North Hall. It was right in front of a Starbucks coffee and at the foot of the stairs leading up to the meeting rooms. On the other side of the stair well was X-Box and Pocket PC 2000. Talk about prime location. Unfortunately, there were no less that three people waiting to use each PC. There were no less than 150 people at the pavilion at each time!
You would think, that if you were at a computer and there were about three or four people breathing down your neck to use the PC after you were done, you'd make things go as quick as possible. It turns out that some people would stand at the PC for OVER AN HOUR! One guy, that I had to ask to leave so others could use the PC, checked seven different e-mail boxes while he was there.
By day two, we had the folks at the Brother pavilion print us up some labels that read, "Please limit use to 20 minutes".
This leads to the second problem. Instead of being "representatives" of AMD and the company that built the PCs, we became police. Our duties included breaking up fights between the people waiting to use the computer and those who used them for too long, as well as trying to catch the hackers and thieves.
That's right. Hackers and thieves.
Hacking was kept to a minimum because we used XP Professional, created a Comdex user account and use Xteq X-Setup to lock the PCs down so much that one could only use IE and run Telnet.
A few of the more clever guys figured out how to load a few INI files into notepad and edit them into oblivion so the Comdex user account was totally trashed. This was easy to fix with spare drives pre-installed with XP and Xteq and only happened twice, so we considered this a learning experience more than an inconvenience. Next time, we rename Word Pad and Note Pad, etc.
There was one guy there that couldn't have had an IQ much greater than that of an eggplant. He opened a Command window and typed "ls". He then typed "rm -r Windows". Now, I don't fault the guy for being a Linux user. I do fault the guy for being so out of touch as to think that Linux commands would work in Windows and that we would leave ourselves open to a simple "deltree" type command in the first place.
He was ejected by one of our finest. No physical contact required. Just a simple, "you're an asshole" and he was out of there.
>> Part 4