I. Pre-Listening Exercises [Top]

Buying a new computer can be a fun experience, but problems can arise. What are some common computer problems that people encounter when running their machines, and what issues can cause them? When you encounter such problems, what do you do to resolve them: seek help from a friend, consult a computer store, or read a computer book or magazine?

HELPFUL TIP: Computer problems can result when you download and install software that contains spyware, viruses, or bugs. Be sure to obtain software from trusted vendors and back up your data before you install new programs.

II. Listening Exercises [Top]

Listen to the radio advertisement by pressing the “Play Audio” button and answer the questions. Press the “Final Score” button to check your quiz.

1. What is the man’s main problem with his computer?

A. It crashes a lot.

B. His computer has a virus.

C. It has a lot of junk software.
2. What is the issue with the computer warranty?

A. The warranty has expired since he bought the computer.

B. The warranty isn’t valid because didn’t register the computer.

C. The warranty doesn’t cover software issues and problems.

3. What can we infer from the first company’s response to the caller?

A. They sent the man the wrong computer in the first place.

B. The company doesn’t provide warranties for their products.

C. They are understaffed to handle customer complaints.

4. Which of the following is a main selling point for the second company being advertised?

A. Their products are the newest on the market.

B. The computers are cheaper than those sold by competitors.

C. The company manufactures secure and trustworthy machines.

5. What is the name of the second company?

A. Turbo Command

B. Turvo Computers

C. Turban Camando

Score =
Correct answers:

Phone Recording: Hello and thank you for calling computer technical support.
Caller: Uh, yes, I have a problem . . .

Phone Recording: Your call is important to us, and we will answer your call in the order that it was received. You are number 47 in the queue. Your approximate waiting time is 47 minutes.

Technical support: Jason, speaking. How can I help you?

Caller: Oh, I’m saved. I thought I was going to have to wait all day.

Technical support: Okay, what’s the problem?

Caller: Yeah, well, I bought one of your laptop computers about three weeks ago, but it just isn’t running right.

Technical support: Okay, well, sorry to say, but your computer is no longer under warranty. [What?!] It ran out yesterday.

Caller: What? A three-week warranty? [Yeah, great isn’t it.]. Ah!!!

Technical support: Okay, okay, what seems to be the problem?

Caller: Well, first of all, the thing always freezes [Yeah.] and has crashed at least a zillion times . . . [Always.]

Technical support: Uh, sir . . .

Caller: . . . and I think the computer’s infected with spyware and the big banana trojan virus . . . [That’s normal.] That’s my biggest . . . that’s normal? . . . That’s my biggest concern.

Technical support: Oh, oh, uh, sir . . .

Caller: . . . and plus there was a ton of preinstalled, third-party programs that just clutter the computer, and I’m at wit’s end trying to get this thing to work.

Technical support: Sir. I have to put you on hold.

Caller: What?

Technical support: It’s going to take us a minute or so to diagnose the problem. [Huh?!] I’m going to transfer you to our ONE technician.

Caller: One . . . one!? But . . .

Phone Recording: Thank you for waiting. Your call is important to us. You are number 84 in the queue. You approximate waiting time is 2 hours, 17 minutes or whenever we get around to answering your call.

[ End of call and continuation of computer advertisement . . . ]

Caller and Narrator: Does this experience sound familiar? Then, do what I did. If your computer is holding your hostage and you can’t get the service you deserve, then call Turbo Command, creators of the safest and most reliable computers and operating system on the planet.

Listen, while the competition is spending all of their time trying to imitate our computer’s performance and features, our company is innovating the computer industry. So, why buy a computer that hiccups every time you turn it on when you can be the owner of the sleekest and friendliest machine ever.

Call us today or visit our Website for more information, and let us introduce you to the ultimate computer experience.

Key Vocabulary [Top]
  • queue (noun): a list or line of phone calls to be answered (often considered British English); can also be used to describe a line of people waiting for a service
    – The phone message says I’m number 3 in the queue, but I have been waiting for over 20 minutes to talk to someone in customer support.
  • run (verb): operate or function
    – This computer was running great yesterday, but I can’t get it started today.
  • be under warranty (phrasal verb): protected by a written promise by a company to fix or replace one of its products
    – If you’re having problems with the digital camera, send it back to the manufacturer to get a refund. The camera is still under warranty.
  • run out (phrasal verb): reach the ending period of an agreement or contract
    – Sometimes, a product you buy will function perfectly long after the warranty runs out.
  • freeze (verb): stop moving
    – I really hate this computer because it always freezes right when I’m trying to save important documents.
  • crash (verb): stop working
    – My old computer was constantly crashing everyday, so I reinstalled the operating system to see if that would fix the problem.
  • zillion (noun): a very large number
    – I’ve told you a zillion times what the problem is. Don’t you understand it now?
  • clutter (noun): fill an area with things and make it messy
    – I hate some computer companies because they tend to clutter their machines with junk software most people don’t use.
  • be at wit’s end (idiom): be very frustrated because you cannot solve a problem
    – To tell the truth, I’m at my wits’ end trying to figure out the problem with my computer.
  • diagnose (verb): determine the nature of a problem
    – The technical support person couldn’t diagnose the software conflict even after working on it for three hours.
  • deserve (verb): earn something or be worthy of some consideration
    – Our customers deserve friendly and honest service everytime they walk in our store.
  • imitate (verb): copy or reproduce an idea or product
    – Unfortunately, many companies can only imitate the high-quality products of other businesses .
  • innovate (verb): come up with new ideas or methods
    – If you don’t innovate, your business will no longer be competitive.
  • sleek (adjective): attractive
    – The company’s newest MP3 is really sleek, and it should sell well.
  • ultimate (adjective): the best or most superior final one
    – The ultimate goal of our company is to be number one in our field.