View Full Version : Had a bizzare computer repair job today

Bryce W
02-05-2008, 12:35 PM
I was called out to a clients to set up a new laptop for someone elderly, just making sure it was internet safe and making things easily accessible for his elderly mother. While that system was doing Windows updates the client asked me if I could take a look at his other laptop. I asked what was wrong with it and he said
"every time I open Microsoft publisher it starts typing on its own... like proper sentences... something about a revolution is coming"

I'm thinking "what the hell?" and start laughing. I tell him that I think he needs a priest instead of a computer technician.

Anyway, I start booting the computer and he says it seems to happen when mobile phones are near it. So I'm starting some sort of weird signal interference going on, but that would probably only happen if there was a wireless keyboard or something similar. Even still, it would just type jargon instead of proper sentences. This laptop isn't connected to anything at all, no external devices, no internet and no power cable, so there shouldn't be any outside influences.

Once the computer has finished booting I load up Microsoft Publisher to a blank page and put my hands on the keys ready to type something to test it out.

Then, the computer starts typing by itself! and I jump back. It isn't just typing things, its actually editing them with backspaces and all. I took a screenshot of it at this point:


It obviously doesn't make any sense and it was totally freaking me out. I tell the client that is must be some sort of virus or joke application so I load up Process Explorer (http://www.technibble.com/repair-tool-of-the-week-process-explorer/) and Autoruns (http://www.technibble.com/repair-tool-of-the-week-autoruns/) and find that the system appears to be clear of any nasties.

I test it even further by moving the laptop next to my clients phone and it is no longer writing anything. I then tell my client that the system appears to be clean of any viruses and as I am doing this, the computer starts writing what I'm saying!

After more poking around I eventually find the problem. It turns out that Microsoft Publisher has a speech recognition option and the laptop had a built in Microphone. Apparently it wasn't the mobile phone itself that was the problem, it was the client TALKING on the mobile phone that it was picking up. All the jargon text is Publisher assuming that is what he said (lets face it, speech recognition is crap even with a good setup) and this was being received by a tiny little built in microphone. I turned off Speech recognition (http://www.technibble.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=41&stc=1&d=1202215530) and all was fixed.

Totally creeped me out at the time and I was ready to splash holy water over it saying "THE POWA OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!".

02-05-2008, 01:16 PM
LOL.....thats great. I think I would have been a little scared too. As far as speech recognition goes, you are right it always sucks. I have dragon naturaly speaking and it works sometimes, when it feels like it.

02-05-2008, 01:54 PM
Haha :D You should change your business cards to read "Bryce Whitty - Computer Technician/Part Time Exorcist".

02-05-2008, 02:41 PM
I see a tv show in your future! Uri Geller meets the Geek Squad. I actually did LOL. :)

Nathan H
02-05-2008, 02:55 PM

02-05-2008, 07:40 PM
lol that would have freaked me out too :p

02-05-2008, 09:11 PM
I ran into that before last year when I was working as a IT technician for Comcast, I had the same reaction and eventually figured it was the speech recognition.


02-05-2008, 10:07 PM
lol... :) :)

02-05-2008, 10:08 PM
LOL... Sounds like a movie script hollywood would release. :)


02-06-2008, 01:47 AM
Lol. . . . . . .

02-06-2008, 06:28 AM
I have not laughed that hard in ages, what a spin out!!!!

Pc Fixed Right
02-08-2008, 02:49 PM
ROFL thats one of the funniest things I have read in a long time.

02-08-2008, 06:00 PM
I have dragon naturaly speaking and it works sometimes, when it feels like it.

You really shouldn't anthropomorphize applications... they hate that.


01-02-2009, 03:58 AM
I would have freaked out. Speech recognition is aweful and Microsoft's phony attempts to make it better alert you to that