Sunday, May 16, 2010

Me and computers

Okay, first of all, this is a re-post... from February 2006. I'm guessing you haven't read it. But it's one of my favorite rants so I'm sharing it again.

I admit it. When it comes to computers I’m a retard. Someone explains how to run a program, I nod, it all makes sense, then the minute he leaves I’m the guy from MEMENTO. I’m completely helpless over a skill that every 14 year old in America has mastered. And I can work a TIVO so I’m still ahead of most of my friends (you’d think those Masters degrees and Doctorates would account for something). But even if I knew the first thing about using Pro Tools or how to log onto a porn site without getting a raft of spam, I still contend computers are just too complicated.

Case in point: I switched internet providers this week. I’d been having terrible trouble with my DSL provider. In fairness, the culprit was really the phone company (You can call it Verizon now but it’s still General Telephone – the string-and-two-Dixie-cups of telecommunications). But my internet was down every two nights and finally I decided to switch to cable.

I know a lot of internet providers will provide you with a box of equipment and instructions. To me that’s like buying a car from Ikea. A big box arrives on your front lawn that says Toyota. So I of course opted for the installation package. It took this guy (a “trained” professional) two hours at which time he had managed to completely screw up every computer in the house, the router, and my microwave is now on the fritz. He threw up his hands and left, I had to call my computer guy (at “you need a loan” hourly prices), and it took him another two hours to fix things. And there’s still a problem with my email that he says can only be rectified if I upgrade my entire system (which would be a whole day, the cost of a year’s college tuition, and would probably wipe out my Tetris high score results). For a good part of the afternoon this guy (who really knows his shit), recalibrated, reconfigured, pulled down menus and pop up boxes I never knew existed, hooked things up from modems to bay stations to power outlets, typed in IP addresses, user names, passwords, codes, clicked yes and no to thousands of options, and still had to call tech support twice. When I asked if the tech support guys were helpful he said the second guy was. Jesus, even the tech support people don’t know what they’re doing.

There has to be a simpler way. They can invent ipods and blue tooth and instant messaging complete with video – there has to be a computer even I can use. In the meantime, there’s a guy with a perpetual runny nose, lazy eye, and thinning hair at 22, toting around Natalie Portman stills from STAR WARS – and I’m his bitch.

10 comments:

David O'Hara said...

Get a Mac.

Sally creeping down the alley said...

My Underwood never fails. But then again, I'm a schmuck.

A. Buck Short said...

It's Sunday morning. What does any of this have anything to do with Elena Kagan? And say what you want; has anybody received a "fatal error" notification message lately? Damn I miss those.

I realize this also has nothing to do with connecticity, but am I the only one who thinks it's funny all those "Windows for Dummies" series of manuals now have an additional cover slug: "Especially for Seniors?"

If I'm not mistaken, aren't you already Macked?

Get_It said...

"It took this guy (a “trained” professional) two hours at which time he had managed to completely screw up every computer in the house, the router, and my microwave is now on the fritz."
Seriously?! OK that's not that uncommon, be it 2006 or 2010.

"I had to call my computer guy (at “you need a loan” hourly prices), and it took him another two hours to fix things. And there’s still a problem with my email that he says can only be rectified if I upgrade my entire system"
Really?! I mean, really?! If I had read this back in 2006 I would have told you to either move out the state or from the USA. Either that or I should have moved there.

Cheers,

mcp said...

Ken,

I'll perform your tech support for free. Of course, you'll have to fly me to LA and read my scripts.

YEKIMI said...

ahhh, good old GTE. I always thought their initials stood for Great Telephone Experiment.

Emily Blake said...

Yeah. The boyfriend doesn't understand computers either. He opens jars while I show him how to check his email. So I guess my suggestion is to get a mistress who understands computers.

cc said...

"even the tech support people don’t know what they’re doing."

As a tech support person who visits a lot of his co-worker's houses in a year at $50-$75 a pop for "hey can do me a favor one Saturday?" sort of issues, you're right, sometimes we don't know! So don't feel bad.

There's usually no big problem, but they just don't want to deal with it and are willing, nay eager, to pay someone to do it.

And see, the theory was that if I tell them I'll help them for money, they'll stop asking me. But they never stop asking.

And computers are rarely the problem anymore. It's always routers, or connections, or networking the house, or printers, or their personal website, or their kids got into something on the 'net, or ...

rms said...

"there’s a guy with a perpetual runny nose, lazy eye, and thinning hair at 22, toting around Natalie Portman stills from STAR WARS – and I’m his bitch."

I don't care if this is a repost, it's still damned funny! Thank you, Ken!

diane said...

I got so frustrated with a "help desk" tech that I suggested that the next time his car broke down he should call the dealership and have them "walk" him thru the repair process while he had his head under the hood.