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Sherlock Ohms: The Case of the Oblivian Customer

Sherlock Ohms: The Case of the Oblivian Customer - RF CafeYou're going to love this installment of Sherlock Ohms. Even if you have never had to deal directly with customers for a product performance issue, you will easily empathize with engineer Jonathan Eckrich in "The Case of the Confused Customer." The incident reminds me of a story I read years ago by an engineer who worked on development of one of the early computer languages - I think it was FORTRAN. The user called to complain that a section of code was failing and demanded assistance because in his opinion, the language kernel was faulty. The caller's name was not disclosed, but the engineer said he was a notable figure. After listening to the problem, the cause seemed obvious, so the engineer (wish I could remember his name) instructed the guy to make sure he was using the "less than" symbol, to which the guy responded that he is no idiot and the problem must be something else. The FORTRAN engineer had run the code as described by the disgruntled customer and was certain he had identified the problem. Remember that there was no e-mail or FTP back then to exchange code files. After a few such phone calls and dwindling patience, he finally told the genius for the umpteenth time to make sure he was using the "less than" key, "That's the key with the arrow pointing to the left, not the right." He heard some grumbling, then a few moments later a click on the phone. He never heard from the guy again.







Posted  August 23, 2013
 
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RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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