Tech Support Error Codes


Human Error and Computer Error.

We have all heard the term “user error.” It’s the official-ish way of saying that your computer, phone or other device that appears to be having problems isn’t the source of the problem…you are.

In other words, user error is tech-speak for a mistake, and we all make them. Unfortunately, your pompous techie friend, IT help desk agent, or tech support rep will, on occasion, use his or her knowledge of your lack-of-knowledge to poke fun at your user errors.

You may not know the difference in an EEOC, HAL, or ID-10T issue, but the techie you ask for help from does… and knows you don’t. One of those is a real problem, and the other two are not-so-nice ways of making fun of you without you knowing!

Here’s a list of euphemisms for what the pretentious techie you’re talking to really wants to say: you’re an idiot. Consider yourself lucky or tech-savvy if you haven’t heard any of these.

ID-10T: The “IDIOT” Error

Pronounced as eye-dee-ten-tee, this is an “old favorite” among the tech savvy. It rolls off the tongue and sounds as legitimate as any other computer jargon you might hear.

The ID-10T joke has almost reached a point of common usage.

PEBKAC: Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair

This one is usually spoken as a word, pronounced as peb-kak.

Sometimes you’ll see this one as PEBCAK (swapping chair and keyboard). Other times you’ll see computer or monitor swapped for keyboard, making for all sorts of variations on this one, like PEBCAC or PEBMAC.

PICNIC: Problem In Chair Not In Computer

This one is easy to remember and has recently replaced PEBKAC.

EEOC: Equipment Exceeds Operator Capabilities

This one sounds so technical that it almost doesn’t feel mean.

The implication here is pretty clear: you’re not smart enough to use whatever you’re having trouble with.

RTFM: Read The Freaking Manual

This one seems to me like more an anger-filled reaction than a statement about your intelligence, but I have seen this used in support forums more than once.

This particular techno-insult has a variation on the ‘F’ part that I won’t spell out for you.

Code 18: The Problem is 18 inches Away From the Screen

Another “proximity” joke here, although I personally find 18 inches a bit close to sit to my screen.

The metric version of this joke is Code 40 or Error 40, so don’t let your centimeter-using friends slip one by you.

Please know, however, that there actually is a Code 18 error that you could see yourself – it’s a Device Manager error code. No, it’s not Bill Gates giving you a hard time – it means that you need to reinstall the device drivers for whatever hardware you see it on in Device Manager.

Layer 8: That’s You

The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model is a way of looking at how computer systems communicate. The “deepest” layer is Layer 1, the physical layer, and ends at Layer 7, the application layer – the one you and I interact with.

If you bring the OSI model a bit further out, you get Layer 8 (you), Layer 9 (your organization), and Layer 10 (your government).

This is certainly one of the more geeky ways to insult anyone without an IT degree. Now that you have a little more knowledge of these “error codes” you will be more prepared the next time you are on the phone with tech support.

More User Error Jokes

You can find a list of user error joke codes in the image “IT joke codes.” They are for your reference so you can respond appropriately when you hear one, but let’s be honest… they’re sometimes fun to dish out, too.

Yes, I did skip the offensive jokes for obvious reasons.

While no one deserves to have any of the above “jokes” hurled at them, there are a number of things you can do to make that interaction with tech support, or even your smarty-pants friend, a bit more successful. Reading these weekly tech tips is just one of them. You may also want to take a class at your local college or tech center.

1K Buffer Implies a low capacity for learning (1K is tiny)
C2K Chair 2 Keyboard issue
CBE Carbon Based Error
Code 18 The problem is 18″ away from the screen
EBCAC Error Between Computer And Chair
EBK Error Behind Keyboard
EEOC Equipment Exceeds Operator Capabilities
ESO Equipment Smarter than Operator
HKI Error Human Keyboard Interface Error
I/O Error Ignorant Operator Error (from legit Input/Output Error)
ID-10T Error The “IDIOT” Error
Layer 8 You are Layer 8 in the OSI model
OHE Operator Headspace Error
PEBKAC Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair
PICNIC Problem In Chair Not In Computer
RCSO Reboot Computer, Slap Operator
RTFM Read the Freaking Manual
TSTO Too Stupid To Operate
UPI User Perception Issue