Tech Clairvoyant

I was just helping an old friend diagnose a hardware problem via email, and I was suddenly reminded of a funny tech support call from way back around 1980 when I worked at a tiny Apple dealership in the middle of nowhere.

One day, I got a call from a frantic customer, he could not get his Apple II to boot. Every time he turned it on, it went right to the ROM debugger, which isn’t supposed to be normally accessible. This was a really good problem, so I decided to mess with the customer a little bit. The call went something like this:

Me: Now let me guess, your computer desk is a total mess, right?

Customer: Um, yeah…

M: And you’ve got books and crap sitting right next to your computer, right?

C: Um, yeah…

M: And you have a joystick, right?

C: Uhh, yeah.. How do you know this?

M: Just hold on. You have a bunch of crap sitting on top of your joystick, right?

C: Uhh, yeah??

M: Unbury your joystick and turn on your computer.

C: <ping, brrrttttt sound of computer booting> Hey, it works! What the hell was that?!?

M: There was something on your desk holding down the joystick button while booting, which forces it to boot into the ROM.

C: Well, how did you know that?

M: Because the same thing happened to me last week!

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