This morning, my technoincompetent girlfriend called and woke me at the ungodly hour of 9:00. She came into her hospital job, sat in her cube, to find her computer had locked up, and their tech support people were not in yet, and would I please tell her what to do.
"Is the dictation machine on?" I queried.
"I've seen this before. The CPU is waiting for an IRQ interrupt from the voice input, and has hung. What you need to do is say, loudly (because the CPU is slow when it is hung) "CLEAR," and hold down the control key, the delete key, and the alt key, all at the same time."
A second passes as she was searching out the three keys. Then I hear "CLEAR," and the sound of her typing.
"What happened?" I asked.
"Well, the screen went blank"
"Oh, damnit! You didn't say it loudly enough. Try again, only louder."
"You might be losing your hard disk. Is the microphone close to your mouth? Do it again."
Wait a beat, I hold the phone away from my ear, "CLEAR...<click>...nothing"
"Is there anybody standing nearby who might be able to help"
"Well, yeah, they just walked in..."
"Good." Then I hung up on her.