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.

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