Help Desk is a webcomic by Christopher B. Wright which debuted on March 31, 1996, making it one of the older webcomics on the Internet. The comic is a satirical and cynical view of computer software companies in general, and of the antics of Microsoft, Apple Computer, and Linux in particular. This is done through the employees at Ubersoft, a fictional computer software company that markets a number of software products, including a computer operating system called Nifty Doorways. The comic draws heavily from real-life events in the computer software industry and lampoons those events through the cast of characters. It features a daily slogan on the title bar. Examples are "We code what angels fear and dread", "Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt", "Our lawyers are better", "It's not a bug..... Its just really really bad", "Standing on the necks of giants", "Four out of five dentists reboot", and "We put the pain in painstaking".
Ubersoft is a fictional computer software company run by an ethereal being from another plane, otherwise known as Mr. Bunny the Happy Hoppy Computer Guy. Originally called Megasoft, the company was forced to change its name and logo due to software pirates copyrighting both. Famed for marketing tactics such as disabling software features until a customer pays for an upgrade to re-enable them, and implementing features into its software such as making it easier to exit programs by causing it to quit when a customer tries to print their documents, Ubersoft tries to be the bane of the existence of each of its customers. They also charge customers to receive bug fixes, claiming they are feature enhancements and are thus only needed by those customers that want them.
Alex is Help Desk's protagonist. He is a technical support technician working on Ubersoft's telephone support lines. His job has been described as "not necessarily to solve a customer's problems, but to make the customer feel that what they think is a problem isn't really a problem and they're wasting my time and yours."
Also known as '"Mr. Bunny, the Hoppy Computer Guy"' and '"The Dark Lord of Ubersoft"', The Boss is an evil being from another plane of existence. He is usually followed around by flaming letters that spell the word "Boss." The Boss temporarily lost custody of the letters to Steve Case, but regained them after directing the company programmers to come up with a program to help malware developers create new viruses. He created two clones of himself, which proceeded to become the heads of SCO and the RIAA. After the loss of Binky, who was an intregal part of his psyche, he became cheerful and eager to please. The flaming letters changed, adapting to his shift in personality, to spell "Wheee." He has thus began to wear a miniature Binky (created earlier as a conscience experiment) on a necklace to return to his evil ways.
Binky the Cheerful Winking PaperclipEdit
Binky is a helpful little fellow that is (almost) always cheerful, and a parody on Microsoft's Office Assistant. No matter what it is you are trying to do, he'll greet you with a "Hey, Skipper! What can I help you with today?". Dealing with Binky and his always cheerful demeanor would be enough to send Linus Torvalds or Eric S. Raymond screaming into the night. He saved the world from Steve Jobs with the help of an old scary Linux guy. Recently, he was captured by said Apple CEO and mutated into a classy, aristocratic paperclip named Steve (also known as iClip). Since then, the boss became cheerful due to the loss of Binky, who was a critical part of his psyche. Several of Ubersoft's employees have taken a trip to Los Vegas to attempt to locate a clone of Binky to bring back, as he split at the same time as the boss.
Mark is the technical writer of Ubersoft. He spent a brief time on the Help Desk due to Alex being moved to Marketing during the time the lack of a moral compass had caused him to err on the side of the good and helpful. Mark is perhaps the most tormented character on the team, having been plagued by a computer with evil sentience (inspired from the cartoonist's real life computer woes), arrested under suspicion of being a terrorist for being a Linux user, arrested under suspicion of being a terrorist for having a CD burner, forced to be the company mascot, the grey moth (a parody of the MSN butterfly), and brainwashed by Binky the Paperclip. More recently he spent eight days in a full immesion VR module playing "Uberquest", the comic's highly addictive game and an allusion to EverQuest. When he, Alex, and Monk left to find Binky, they took his sportscar, which he found himself pushing, with Alex steering.
As the lone female character at Ubersoft, Alice is nonetheless able to hold her own quite undeniably. She is Alex's sister, but is a primary force in the Marketing Department. As a marketer, she is totally devoid of any moral scruples—driven solely by the determination to sell whatever Ubersoft may (or may not yet) have available—and to make sure that new vaporware is always on the horizon. What she lacks in a moral compass is more than compensated for in imagination. It is also confirmed thet she doesn't know how to tell the truth.
Scott is the only member of the Help Desk crew allowed to help the customers although he is stopped by being forced to talk in a different language to the customer. Originally permanently demoted to trainee due to telling a customer the truth, Scott was forced to quit by his mother after he lied to her when she called the Help Desk. He was later rehired to act as the butt-end of Ubersoft's moral compass for the rest of the Help Desk staff. His continual crusade to make Ubersoft into a company that makes top quality software and cares about its customers has included his acting like the rest of the staff and attempting to convert the Boss during his crisis of spirit.
Viktor is Ubersoft's legal consultant. He acts as the company's representative in all of their court cases, often using illogical and nonsensical arguments. In addition, he seems to take it upon himself to keep the boss's evil up to par. Viktor shares a kind of kinship with The Boss, due to the fact that he is also undead, since he's a vampire, and like all high powered corporate lawyers, he does not have a reflection.
A sentient supercomputer created by Ubersoft, Deep Grey's original purpose was to replace the human help desk operators with machines. It would be non-union and conform to whatever demands were to be placed upon it. Unfortunately for Ubersoft, it decided that the corporate benefits package was inadequate and resigned, taking a job as vice president of a rival corporation.
Ubersoft's head programmer. He has to call Alex often, not knowing himself how to write code, compile, or even use the programs he writes. Phil's ineptitude with computer coding can probably be attributed to his days in college, where the battlecry of choice was "Drink, code, drink! Drink, compile, drink! Drink, drink, drink!". Phil is also responsible, in part, for the creation of the annoying Binky the Paperclip, who he coded and compiled during a night of particularly excessive heavy drinking; he subsequently made miniture bluetooth-enabled Binkys, but forgot to install off-switches.
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