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February 19, 2007

The Gutenberg OS

While I'm catching up on a weekend's worth of e-mail and other stuff, here's something to amuse you folks who both read and use computers (which, almost by definition, includes nearly everyone who visits here). Enjoy.

Thanks to my pal Deven for passing this on.

Posted by john at February 19, 2007 12:29 PM

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Ray | February 19, 2007 12:45 PM

That is truly funny.
I even shared it with my Austrian roommate and now we are deep in discussion about the history and orgin of European languages.
A fine topic for a Monday evening.

Steve Buchheit | February 19, 2007 12:52 PM

HA! Even funnier when you've actually had discussion about user experiences and how they interface with data and referenced how everybody knows how to use a book, but how many people know some silly website design interface. Ha!

Christian | February 19, 2007 01:06 PM

All they are missing is big rubber eraser, to act as a "Delete" key.

Steve Buchheit | February 19, 2007 01:12 PM

That will be in Service Pack 2.

John Scalzi | February 19, 2007 01:15 PM

No, no. Books are ROM.

Jeff Hentosz | February 19, 2007 01:22 PM

That IT guy's gonna get another call when the padre wants to put his book up on a shelf.

Steve Buchheit | February 19, 2007 01:35 PM

No putting on the shelf for the padre, the text may fall out. The book will only sit on the desktop.

David | February 19, 2007 01:37 PM

What I really want to know about, is that minority of people who visit the Whatever, yet are neither owners or users of personal computers?

That film reminds me painfully, of trying to explain computers to some of my relatives.

Nikitta | February 19, 2007 01:53 PM

I work in a call center, helping people who have problems with their cordless phones among other things. I find this scarily realistic.

John Scalzi | February 19, 2007 02:07 PM

If they're calling you on the cordless phone, how serious can the problem be?

J.D. Finch | February 19, 2007 02:12 PM

Maybe they're in search of the lost cord. ;)

Chang, father of pangolins | February 19, 2007 02:22 PM

I saw this on BoingBoing but didn't check it out. That kills me. It's like explaining computers to my in-laws, or the CD player to my mom.

Thanks. I needed a good laugh.

Nikitta | February 19, 2007 02:24 PM

According to the person calling? Very big sometimes!

I think that you're seriously underestimating human stupidity and how far it can go, John. I used to do that too, before this job.

Fair enough, if it's an elder person whom it's all new to, I can understand, but some customer never cease to surprise me.

Besides - most people have more than one phone today.

Paul | February 19, 2007 03:06 PM

In the real world of IT call centers, the technician would simply tell him to close the book and open it back up again, and see if that fixed the problem. If it did not, the tech guy would be at as much of a loss as the user.

Wait, am I letting on about my AOL background again? Damn, I just can't seem to keep that under wraps.

Liz Case | February 19, 2007 03:14 PM


After a very long and frustrating day in Tech Support today, THANK YOU for the much needed laugh.

Nikitta | February 19, 2007 03:27 PM

Let's at least hand it to the guy in the clip that he actually listens to the guy helping him and follows the instructions he's given.

In that regard, I'd count him as a good customer.

Johnny Carruthers | February 19, 2007 03:29 PM

As I was watching that, I was simultaneously visualizing an English version with John Cleese and Eric Idle.

JonathanMoeller | February 19, 2007 05:52 PM

Dear God.

That *is* my job.

Jon H | February 19, 2007 07:11 PM

"No putting on the shelf for the padre, the text may fall out. The book will only sit on the desktop."

It's running in kiosk-mode.

Steve Buchheit | February 19, 2007 09:54 PM

Jon H, you betcha. If he wants to read another book (who would want to read another book?) he'll have to get a new desk.

Anonymous | February 19, 2007 10:42 PM


All they are missing is big rubber eraser, to act as a "Delete" key.

You mean, like one of these?


Soni | February 19, 2007 10:43 PM

Ack. That anon was me.

Jeremiah | February 20, 2007 12:14 AM

Oooh man. I'm glad I don't have that job anymore. A year and a half was enough.
"Log off."
"Did you log off?"
"I restarted the computer...is that ok?"
All day, just banging my head against a wall.

Pocky | February 20, 2007 12:55 AM

HAHAHA this reminds me of trying to explain computer usage to my mother... and I was like 16, my father was a computer programmer, my younger brother was going to go into CS and I was an art major with a pretty high tech background thanks to my dad. Trying to explain how to just turn on the computer was like trying to tell her which wire to cut to defuse the bomb.

Norwegian Woodsman | February 20, 2007 03:14 AM

That's yet another NORWEGIAN PIECE of goodness. All hail Scalzi for giving our country much needed PR!

Nathan | February 20, 2007 09:10 AM

I'm embarrassed to say, I'd be the guy sitting there not understanding anything.

AlleyCat67 | February 20, 2007 03:23 PM

I work in a call center, so this is one I can appreciate on a professional as well as a personal level. :)

Alvin | February 21, 2007 08:54 AM

Would be funny I guess, but the video has been removed :(

John Scalzi | February 21, 2007 09:08 AM

Oh, well. Easy come, easy go.

Steve Buchheit | February 21, 2007 10:11 AM

They must have installed the new EPROM burner, the quill pen and India ink.

Pete | February 23, 2007 12:06 AM

Ahh! The user took this down. Does anyone know where I can find another copy?

Jude | February 23, 2007 02:45 PM

I searched for Norwegian book at youtube and found one called Norwegian Help Desk which has subtitles in English.

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