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Lateral Puzzles » Solved Lateral Thinking Puzzles » Solved Puzzles - June 2005 » [Abc] Support « Previous Next »

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Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 10:10 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Riiinngg...
User: "Hi, my brand new computer it not working - could you come up and help me?"
Support: "OK"
[Some minutes later]
S: "OK, I've found the problem - you need a table light on your desk and switched on for the computer to work. I'll go fetch you one."
U: "A table light? How's that going to help?!?"
S: "Trust me."
[Some more minutes later]
Riiinngg...
U: "Hello, the table light is now on, and the computer works! Thanks a lot - but would you mind telling me what's going on here?"
S: "Well, you see, solar radiation at that particular spot where you are sitting was preventing data from the BIOS from reaching the processor. The table light counters the phenomenon."
U: "You're kidding me!"
S: "Of course I am"

Anyone want to try to find a better explanation?
Mario Mattiello (Mattiel)
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 10:29 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Power outlets relevant?
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 10:49 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Power outlets relevant? Yes
Einar Berg (Grainbeer)
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 12:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I know the solution. Do we both watch the same internet site? :)
Drew Sollenberger (Sollen)
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 7:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

well not knowing the answer I flash back to my OWN computer that DID need the light on to work.

as I recall my light switch was wired to the power outlet that my computer was originally pluged into. only when the light switch was on the computer getting power; anything like that here?
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 9:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I know the solution. Do we both watch the same internet site? Um... probably not. I won't disclose the source of this until it's solved, though. (:

well not knowing the answer I flash back to my OWN computer that DID need the light on to work. Well, you have experience with this kind of thing, then!

as I recall my light switch was wired to the power outlet that my computer was originally pluged into. only when the light switch was on the computer getting power; anything like that here? Not quite, no
Arjun (Jun)
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 9:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Let me try to understand what's going on here
The user calls support because his computer doesn't work?
Somebody shows up at his place?
He/she finds a cause for this problem; then tells the user he must turn on a table lamp, etc.? And then leaves before the user can try it?
The user then tries it and the computer works?

Right so far?
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 4:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Let me try to understand what's going on here
The user calls support because his computer doesn't work?
Somebody shows up at his place?
He/she finds a cause for this problem; then tells the user he must turn on a table lamp, etc.? And then leaves before the user can try it?
The user then tries it and the computer works?

Right so far? Yes, but remember that the user didn't have a table lamp at all when the puzzle starts.
Barbara Johannessen Bailey (Rabrab)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 5:22 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anything to do with interference from a fluorescent light that could be switched off once the table lamp was there?
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 6:15 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anything to do with interference from a fluorescent light that could be switched off once the table lamp was there? Nope.
Arjun (Jun)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 6:36 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So what part about the episode made the computer work:
- buying the table lamp?
- setting it up?
- plugging it in?
- turning it on?

Does it matter which power outlet it was plugged into? Did it have to be near the/ on the same one as the computer?

Was the problem with the computer that there was no elecricity reaching it?
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 6:44 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So what part about the episode made the computer work:
- buying the table lamp?
- setting it up?
- plugging it in? This is closest
- turning it on?

Does it matter which power outlet it was plugged into? Did it have to be near the/ on the same one as the computer? Both yes

Was the problem with the computer that there was no elecricity reaching it? Yes
Arjun (Jun)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 6:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Would the computer have worked if something else was plugged in? Anything else? Has this got to do with static charge build-up?
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 8:15 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Would the computer have worked if something else was plugged in? Anything else? Almost any electrical appliance could take the role of the table lamp, yes. Has this got to do with static charge build-up? No
Martin Schwenk (Trickymartin)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 9:09 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

multi-outlet power strips relevant?
Lisa (Dlcygnet)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 9:54 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When the electricians built this house, did they accidentally set up an a bad circuit, such that if any of the outlets in that room didn't have something plugged in, the circuit could never be closed? This same problem develops in old fashion christmas tree lights... if one lightbulb goes out, the whole strand won't work. So, if one outlet isn't plugged, none of the outlets will transmit power? And of course, the electronic device has to be turned on, because otherwise the circuit isn't completed either.

If that isn't it: Does this riddle involve an idiot? (aside from the electricians)
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 12:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

multi-outlet power strips relevant? Yes

When the electricians built this house, did they accidentally set up an a bad circuit, such that if any of the outlets in that room didn't have something plugged in, the circuit could never be closed? This same problem develops in old fashion christmas tree lights... if one lightbulb goes out, the whole strand won't work. So, if one outlet isn't plugged, none of the outlets will transmit power? And of course, the electronic device has to be turned on, because otherwise the circuit isn't completed either. This is not the case here

If that isn't it: Does this riddle involve an idiot? YES

In my opinion, most good lateral puzzles feature at least one idiot. Usually, the more idiots featured, the better the puzzle.
Lewis Zeiters (Lzeiters)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 12:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did he have the computer plugged into a surge protector, but the surge protector was off? then when the repairman came to fix it, he turned the surge protector on, then retrieved the lamp and plugged it in to the surge protector, and voila!--when he turned the light on, then his computer would come on!
Martin Schwenk (Trickymartin)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 1:46 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is there something special about the multi-outlet power strip (mops)? do the outlets have to be used in a certain order? or all at once?
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 2:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did he have the computer plugged into a surge protector, but the surge protector was off? then when the repairman came to fix it, he turned the surge protector on, then retrieved the lamp and plugged it in to the surge protector, and voila!--when he turned the light on, then his computer would come on! No


Is there something special about the multi-outlet power strip (mops)? do the outlets have to be used in a certain order? or all at once? No, the power strip is completely ordinary.

BUT - I'm not 100% sure of the meaning of the expression "power strip". There may be some misunderstanding here.
Benjamin Moore (Zenith)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 2:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If the computer was plugged in where the lamp is, alone, would it still work?
If the lamp was plugged into where the computer is alone, would it still work?

mops = power board?

"nationality" of power devices relevant?

was where the computer being turned on from relevant?

I.e had our non-power-savvy customer plugged the computer into the power board but forgot/hadn't realised that the power board itself must be switched on? Our repairman came, quickly solved the solution, and recommended our npsc to use a desk lamp plugged into the board to keep him from switching it off?
Lewis Zeiters (Lzeiters)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 2:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As far as I'm aware, 'power strip' is an extension cord with multiple sockets so as to increase the capacity of an outlet. 'Surge protector' is the same, except it carries a fuse to guard against, originally enough, power surges.
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 2:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If the computer was plugged in where the lamp is, alone, would it still work? Probably not - depends on... well, you'll see.
If the lamp was plugged into where the computer is alone, would it still work? Same as above

mops = power board? mops = multi-outlet power strip.

"nationality" of power devices relevant? No

was where the computer being turned on from relevant? No

I.e had our non-power-savvy customer plugged the computer into the power board but forgot/hadn't realised that the power board itself must be switched on? No. The power strip is a simple type without an on/off switch Our repairman came, quickly solved the solution, and recommended our npsc to use a desk lamp plugged into the board to keep him from switching it off? No

By Lewis Zeiters (Lzeiters) on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 02:37 pm:


As far as I'm aware, 'power strip' is an extension cord with multiple sockets so as to increase the capacity of an outlet. 'Surge protector' is the same, except it carries a fuse to guard against, originally enough, power surges. Then we agree (:
Lisa (Dlcygnet)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 8:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

*yanks her hair out in anticipation of dealing with another idiot*

Ok, did the customer have bad eyesight and keep pressing the wrong button to turn on the computer? Did the customer have a tendency to work in a dark room? Did the customer have a tendency to operate heavy machinery after taking medication or drinking alcohol? Does this customer know the Dalai Lama? Is this an elderly customer? Is the customer deaf? blind? Did the customer turn on the tower but not the screen? Vice versa? Does this have anything to do with power compatibilities in the U.S. vs UK or the rest of Europe (i.e. how much current is coming out of the outlet)?
Kapil Kapur (Dinkie)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 10:34 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

is the guy partially sighted ? i.e he can't easily see the on/ off switch and needs the lamp to show whether the on/off switch is working ?

is the guy colour blind ? so that he can't tell whether or not the computer is on as he can't see the LED display ? By putting the lamp on, the comnbination of the lamp and the LED is more transparent ???
Arjun (Jun)
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 10:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does it have to do with which position of the switch means on in different countries? e.g. In the US down means 'off', in India down means 'on'
Ian (Image)
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 2:38 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Would a non-idiot user have had the same problem in the same situation?
Barbara Johannessen Bailey (Rabrab)
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 5:27 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did the lamp actually make the computer work, or was it simply an indicator that the power to the power strip was on? Do circuit breakers or fuses enter into the solution anywhere? Would a small radio worked as well as the lamp?
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 6:18 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ok, did the customer have bad eyesight and keep pressing the wrong button to turn on the computer? Did the customer have a tendency to work in a dark room? Did the customer have a tendency to operate heavy machinery after taking medication or drinking alcohol? Does this customer know the Dalai Lama? Is this an elderly customer? Is the customer deaf? blind? Did the customer turn on the tower but not the screen? Vice versa? Does this have anything to do with power compatibilities in the U.S. vs UK or the rest of Europe (i.e. how much current is coming out of the outlet)? Sorry, impressive set of lateral assumptions, but all no.

By Kapil Kapur (Dinkie) on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 10:34 pm:


is the guy partially sighted ? No
i.e he can't easily see the on/ off switch and needs the lamp to show whether the on/off switch is working ? No

is the guy colour blind ? so that he can't tell whether or not the computer is on as he can't see the LED display ? By putting the lamp on, the comnbination of the lamp and the LED is more transparent ??? No

By Arjun (Jun) on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 10:52 pm:


Does it have to do with which position of the switch means on in different countries? e.g. In the US down means 'off', in India down means 'on' No

By Ian (Image) on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 02:38 am:


Would a non-idiot user have had the same problem in the same situation? No, with 99.99% certainty

By Barbara Johannessen Bailey (Rabrab) on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 05:27 am:


Did the lamp actually make the computer work, or was it simply an indicator that the power to the power strip was on? Neither Do circuit breakers or fuses enter into the solution anywhere? No Would a small radio worked as well as the lamp? Provided it weren't battery powered, yes

I think you underestimate the user's stupidity
Lisa (Dlcygnet)
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 6:39 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the power strip even plugged in to the wall? Theory: even an idiot can figure out how to make a lamp turn on even if he can't get a computer to turn on.
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 6:43 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the power strip even plugged in to the wall? NO - good question! Theory: even an idiot can figure out how to make a lamp turn on even if he can't get a computer to turn on. Well, that may be true, but...

So, why did the lamp help?
Barbara Johannessen Bailey (Rabrab)
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 6:53 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Underestimating the user's stupidity--Was the power strip plugged into itself?!?

And adding the table lamp used up the socket that the powere strip had been plugged into, so now that there was nowhere else to plug it, the idiot user had to leave it plugged into the wall?
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 7:30 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Underestimating the user's stupidity--Was the power strip plugged into itself?!? Yes!

And adding the table lamp used up the socket that the powere strip had been plugged into, so now that there was nowhere else to plug it, the idiot user had to leave it plugged into the wall? Exactly.

************** SPOILER ******************

See above. The support guy could of course have told the user that the plug had to go into a wall outlet, but thought that such idiocy deserved special treatment.
Einar Berg (Grainbeer)
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 11:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh OK - so it wasn´t the same puzzle after all. I therefore feel obliged to present the puzzle that I thought it was. I admit I jumped to conclusions here, because I didn´t read your puzzle text thoroughly enough. But your puzzle was a good one, Torgeir.

If you want to have a look at the other one, see the puzzle named "Support 2".
Katy (Katy)
Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2005 - 2:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Nice puzzle! Sorry I missed it
Torgeir Apeland (Abc)
Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2005 - 6:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi, Katy! You here on a Sunday?

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