August 22, 2007

Please fix my PC

Filed under: Personal,Rants — Joe Brewer @ 6:52 pm

I didn’t write this, but I think that it’s a pretty cool analogy, so I’m going to rip it off and post it here. It relates to the assumption on the part of many people that because someone works with computers that they’ll be happy to field personal technical support requests at the behest of their friends and family in their spare time. The question posed is do you think that the following actions would be acceptable, and if not, can you explain how it would be different if you replaced the mechanic with a person who works in IT and the car with a computer?

When reading the original article I was reminded about a chap who asked me to have a look at his girlfriend’s PC because “it was running incredibly slow and was crashing all the time”.  When I took a look at it, it was a Pentium II machine running Windows 98, which had never been defragged and had temp files everywhere.  I suggested wiping the hard disc and reloading everything (and restoring settings), which even though would take me a good couple of hours I was happy to do.  However, even though I did this, I still got several whiney texts saying that I had not put Microsoft Office on, even though they did not own a copy.  I am no longer friends with this chap, but thats a whole other story.  Here’s the original article:

  1. Call your friend who is a mechanic at home, at dinner time.
  2. Tell him your car is not running right or won’t even start.
  3. Tell him you saw a neon sign while driving that said your car wasn’t running right, so you pulled in and let these strangers install Fuel Helper, Pot hole blocker, Wheel assistants, a special radio station and an engine watcher, all of which you now “need”.
  4. Ask them if they mind talking you through figuring out why the car won’t run properly. Laugh really loud and say “I know nothing about these complicated machines!”, because they love to hear that.
  5. Tell him you have no tools.
  6. When he asks you to open the bonnet and have a look, ask him “Where is the bonnet?” Optional: Tell them your cousin tried doing “something” to fix it, but you don’t know what it was and the problem is worse now.
  7. While looking at the engine, read them the very long serial numbers of the parts. Because mechanics have them all memorised for all cars.
  8. Always keep asking if you should turn things “left or right?”.
  9. Ask them if they see the part near the other part. Because they can see through the phone.
  10. Ask then if the problem has anything to do with the new garage door you installed.
  11. After they patiently talk you through checking for “fuel and fire”, and it still doesn’t work, ask them if they can drive thirty minutes to your home on their day off and come fix it. Whine about how much you need your car.
  12. Have them do all this for just a cup of tea and a thank you.
  13. Pretend to understand when they say not to believe neon signs saying your car isn’t running right. Just smile when they say you need to regularly schedule maintenance on your car, and to use only well known mechanics.
  14. Repeat the whole process every 60-90 days. Call from your family member’s house because you tried to fix theirs and you’ve messed up their cars now. Tell your friends too, have them call to have their car problems fixed as well.

August 16, 2007


Filed under: Funny Stuff,Personal — Joe Brewer @ 4:41 pm

Well, after weeks of nagging (not really), Lev has had the London photos developed.  Here is the Roman statue.  Not sure of his name, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t Biggus Dickus.

Roman centurian and Lev

July 9, 2007

Mains Pressure

Filed under: Personal — Joe Brewer @ 12:37 pm

The taps on my bath are broken – I can’t switch between taps and shower at the moment, so this evening I made a trip to the Crawley branch of Sainsburys Homebase. Here is the conversation I had with the store assistant after choosing the taps that I wanted:

Me: Can you tell me if your bath taps work at mains pressure.
Shop Assistant: I’ll need to speak to someone to find out.

5 minutes later…

Shop Assistant: I’ve been told that different areas have different mains pressures, and that we wouldn’t be able to take the taps back if they leaked because of a high mains pressure.
Me: OK, can you tell what pressure these taps go up to ?
Shop Assistant: Mains pressure.
Me: Can I speak to a manager ?
Shop Assistant: No, he’s too busy.

I kid you not. You can’t make this stuff up, if I could, I would be working in comedy and not IT. Despite the comedic value, this level of customer service is pretty unaccepable I think, although sadly it’s all too common in the UK.

Homebase can kiss the £100+ that I was prepared to spend in their store this evening goodbye…

March 9, 2007

Evening out

Filed under: Personal — Joe Brewer @ 4:48 pm

Just got back from the pub after an enjoyable evening out with by Bro. It’s actually quite a change from my usual evenings activities, though I’ll be glad when the new smoking law comes into effect, not just because it will make pubs more bearable, but also because it should drum up some hypnotherapy trade.

I have just started to redesign his website ( which should be live in the next few weeks. I’m actually quite pleased with the design that we have both worked on together – I seem to have had a creative awakening this week. Stay tuned for more blogs with announcements on this.

I’m going to stop blogging now, as I feel slightly more than lightheaded…

March 4, 2007

Musical tastes and influences

Filed under: Personal — Joe Brewer @ 4:16 pm

Over the years my musical tastes and influences have changed quite a bit, so I thought it might be interesting to document my current listening habits.

The Rippingtons
I’ve been a fan since I was at college on the Isle of Wight where I bought their “Live in LA” album. Russ Freeman seems to have a knack of writing anthemic songs with a strong melody. This, coupled with a funky keyboard/guitar solo, and often a virtuosic bass solo from Kim Stone has made them one of my favorite bands. I was lucky enough to see the band on their UK debut appearance at the Jazz Cafe in Camden for my 21st birthday, and also in Atlanta in 2000.

Another band that I was turned onto by my good friend Phil Dayton when he played me their “Past to present” album when we were on the Isle of Wight. Since then, I have bought all of TOTO’s albums and been to three of their live concerts in London and Birmingham. The musicianship demonstrated by all members makes them a popular choice for musicians. Favorite tracks include Dave’s gone skiing, Jake to the bone (both of which demonstrate amazing soloing abilities by Steve Lukather and David Paich) and “Georgy Porgy” from their Greatest Hits Live DVD.

Steely Dan
This is another great musicians band, and I think one of the few that have actually managed to pull off the fusion of rock and Jazz successfully. This is a fairly recent addition to my catalog of favorites, and was introduced to me by a work colleague. Favorite tracks include Rikki dont loose that number and anything off of the Aja album. I’m also partial to the tracks from Donald Fagan’s Nightfly album.

Pink Floyd
Here is another band that was introduced to me by a work colleague. Although I love their later work, I know that this isn’t really the Pink Floyd sound that old die hard fans rave on about. Even so, I love David Gilmours lyrical guitar work which helped take the band to their legendary stature. Favorite tracks include Time, Coming back to life, High Hopes plus many more. I wish I had been to their 1994 concert at Earls Court.

Classical Music
I have always liked classical music. My main love is with French romantic organ music – I first discovered this when I was learning organ with my tutor David Bevan. Under his direction, I was able to play pieces by Louis Vierne (Naiades, Carillon De Westminster and Impromptu – all from the Pieces de Fantaisie), Eugene Gigout’s Toccata in B minor and Elfes by Joseph Bonnet amongst others. French romantic music is very challenging to play, and I love listening to it and playing it.

I also love American music, especially that of Copland and Ives. Appalachian Spring as played by the Sanfransico Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas is so close to perfection it is one of my most listened to tracks. When I was first introduced to Ives’ music, I found it a little uncomfortable to listen to – I remember listening to “The unanswered question” for the first time, and not really enjoying it. However, this has become another of my favorite pieces, and I would encourage anyone to preserve with listening to this important music. The music that we hear today I guess would have been very much different if it were not for musicians like Ives.

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