Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I wasn't expected to walk into my new job and be productive on the first day. There's a decent sized learning curve associated with coming up to speed on all their issues and technologies. I never even used the programming language that their main system is written in. All they really expected of me on Day One was that I'd be a reasonably intelligent guy who could learn the tools.

I marched into the IT office on the first day, and they handed me a laptop and a monitor. Then, my manager pointed me towards some instructions on what pieces of software to install and configure. It all made sense.

I turned on the laptop and it worked normally. I plugged in the monitor and connected the laptop and.... nothing.

I peered at the monitor and noticed that there was no power button. This seemed odd, but I figured that in an office where they had done away with phones, maybe they had done away with power buttons. Maybe this was some super new kind of efficient monitor that only turned on when a laptop sent a signal to it. Cool!

I jiggled the cables a bit but soon became self conscious of the fact that I was sitting right across from the CEO who was sure to notice that I was completely incapable of using my computer monitor. No one else seemed to have an issue with their monitor, including the intern who sat at the next desk. I decided to just use the laptop without the monitor for a while and if anyone asked, I'd just say that I had been much too engrossed in software installation to play with my silly monitor. Very very busy, you see.

This morning, on Day Two, I got to the office earlier than almost everyone else, and my room was empty. I took this time to scrutinize the monitor from all sides, including the bottom, multiple times. There was no power button. I replaced the cable, changed the plug, and jiggled all the connections. Nothing. Nada.

Damn you Peter Principle! I couldn't believe my incompetence had been outed by a stupid Samsung monitor.

I gave up on the monitor for the 2nd day and resigned myself to using the laptop without a spiffy monitor. Was I going to ask the CEO how to turn on my monitor? The intern? The other new people who apparently had no problem turning on appliances? No thanks. I'll program in goddamn braille before I do that. A few minutes later, my friend Pablo walked to wish me a good morning.

"Pablo! Thank god you're here!" I cried "I have an issue that I can't discuss with anyone else"

(Oh, Liz and Larry, don't read this post)

"What's up?" he asked, concerned.

"I can't figure out how to use my monitor!" I whispered.

He laughed and then examined the monitor with me. He looked all around it and was surprised to find that he also could not locate the power button. His monitor, apparently, was a different brand.

At this point I got up from my desk and went over to the intern's desk to examine her monitor, which appeared to be the same model, since the office was still empty at this point. The lighting was different at her desk (her monitor faces the window) and suddenly I was able to see some markings on the lower right hand corner of the thin all-black monitor frame. There, in dark dark grey lettering, was a power symbol. The button was right there, but was completely borderless and flush with the frame. Basically it was just a part of the frame that you pressed to turn on the monitor, and they had marked it in dark grey letters on a black frame.

It was a trap for people with 40 year-old eyes.

Once I turned it on, it was pretty handy though. I'm sure Day Three will be tremendously productive.


Avery Gray said...

Now that's just piss poor design. Sure, it's sleek, but if you can't find the damn "On" button, it's just a big, expensive paperweight. Whatever paper is.

Mike said...

Ahhh, paperweights. So handy for offices in a wind tunnel.

Liz said...

Don't tell anyone, but it took me 3 days to figure out how to turn on my monitor. So hey, you're outperforming me already by 33%!!

Neel Mehta said...

You do realize that those newfangled Samsung monitors are two-way; there's a camera inside monitoring YOU.

Yes, YOU. Trying to find the power button. For two days.

Enjoy being the video highlight of the Christmas party.

Mike said...

Liz, and 33% smarter!

Neel, wait until they get together with the copy machine people, for a two-sided image of me they'll spend decades trying to remove from their shell-shocked retinas.

mant said...


i've got the same monitor, just started a new job 2 weeks ago, and had the same issue...in my case i was able to sneak into the server room and quickly flip through the manual to find the solution.

as a person who does not read the manual, ever, this was not exactly a victory...at least i was able to turn my monitor on on the first day :P

Mike said...

Mant, that's a good solution. I tried to sneak looks at the manual, but wasn't able to spot anything. Meanwhile, I've discovered that many people in the office had problems with this monitor, so I feel less stupid.