Thursday, September 28, 2006

No, I can't fix your computer!

"Dude, my computer's busted, can you fix it?"

"Hey, do you know why my computer won't boot up?"

"I keep getting this error message, what's the deal?"

Have you heard any or all of these before? Well I have, and if you have a job in computers or are a student in computer science/engineering, chances are you have too. I spent a good part of my college years trying to help people with their computer problems, but then I realized something...I am not a computer repairman. I am a software engineer (with a degree in computer engineering), so I spent my college years learning algorithms, design principles, programming, web development, architecture, etc. I did not spend my time studying computer diagnosis, network troubleshooting, virus prevention/recovery, Windows specifics, nor anything associated with computer repair. So get it through your head, I can't fix your computer!

This may come as a shock to many people, because they believe that if I cannot fix their computer, then I don't know a lick about computers. I'll get the usual responses:

"Aren't you an engineer? Obviously not a very good one!"

"Don't people pay you to do this?"

"What the hell do they teach you computer people anyway?"

All this time I've been working towards being a "computer expert", but I'm really just a know-nothing with a degree. For a while I mistakenly believed this, and thought that I should know how to fix a computer. So, I started reading up on some troubleshooting practices and the like, but I didn't do it because I liked it, I did it because I thought I should be doing it. I learned a little, and might be able to diagnose simple problems, but I grew tired of learning how to repair computers and gave it up, cursing myself for not being good at something I claim to be in my area of expertise, that being computers.

After joining the professional world, I learned a very valuable lesson. "Computer expert" can refer to a very wide range of occupations. There are network experts, processor architecture experts, web development experts, platform development experts, database experts, the list goes on. To be a software engineering expert, does not require that I be an expert in fixing computers, it doesn't even require that I be an expert on anything else related to computers. Sure, I'll want to be aware of network protocols, and database principles, and operating systems theories, but I don't need to be an expert in them. What I do need to be an expert at is programming, software architecture, design principles, algorithms, data structures, web frameworks, etc. That is what matters, but it turns out that in my quest to be an expert in my one niche, software engineering, I'm learning a lot about computers in general, perhaps even enough to troubleshoot certain problems that may arise with windows, or a piece of software, or my machine's hardware. These are usually simple problems, but when it comes to the really tough problems...I'll leave those to the experts.

338 Comments:

Anonymous Dan said...

This is so true, so many people ask me why their computer won't work. When I tell them i am not sure, they response is well your a computer programmer right, what do you mean your not sure. Sometimes I feel like Charlie Brown, ARGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! Great Post!

9/29/2006 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Alistair Holt said...

I am literally the "IT department' in my house. I hate it.

9/29/2006 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Richard Testani said...

Tell them to get a Mac :)
OK, mostly serious - I've heard all this before too - except the insults. I am actually a graphic designer with computer knowledge, but little troubleshooting knowledge for Windows and even Mac OS X. I used to be savvy on OS 9 but its so different now. There are so many possible scerios that could arise, it's harder to pinpoint the issue without search the net.

9/29/2006 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel you..

9/29/2006 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

I feel ya man, I get the same crap from any and everyone anytime I mention my field of interest. Luckily, I do enjoy fixing computers, and know a good bit about them. Even work as a computer technitition at Firedog (www.firedog.com), a Geek Squad esque ordeal.

9/29/2006 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Never a truer word spoken! currently at someone elses house fixing a PC!!

9/29/2006 12:34 PM  
Blogger lnacomp said...

I have the reverse issue. I fix computers as part of www.lnacomp.com and design web pages but I don't code and people are asking me if I can write programs after all I'm a computer expert.

9/29/2006 12:34 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I agree completely with your statement. I see this from the other side of the isle though. I am a computer technician with the Geek Squad. Constantly, I am being asked where I went to school to be as good as I am. I also went to school to be a computer engineer and I'm the first to admit that I didn't learn a damn thing about computer repair from college. Everything I know was learned on the job or on my own.

9/29/2006 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just tell them that google is your friend. :P

But yea, I'm in exactly the same situation as you, except I'm still keeping "computer repairman" option open.

9/29/2006 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Nichols said...

what i hate is when people come up to me, thinking they know what they're talking about, and I end up being a computer psychiatrist for the next 20 minutes, because they just won't shut up about the problems.

Just because we know a little something about PCs doesn't mean its all we want to talk about!

9/29/2006 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Earth said...

Just tellum what a "Geek Squad" person would say. "Were Gonna have to format the drive and reinstall the Operateing system."

"Your gonna have to backup everything you want to keep."

9/29/2006 12:35 PM  
Blogger Digital Brian said...

Hey I can fix your computer AND make programs and I do not have any fancy hoax education, you can learn nothing in School that you cant learn from library books, this whole computer science degree crap is a hoax to get money out of people, so save your money and study by yourself.

Oh and if you are irritated at people asking your advice, just start quoting them $40 an hour and you see who REALLY needs your help. (Worked for me, made close to 10.000 the first year haha)

9/29/2006 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work as a computer tech in a corporate office, and honestly I don't feel you. All the techs here get sick of fixing computers for programmers. Seriously, if you can program you should be able to do basic computer functions such as: change your resolution, plug in a monitor cable, install a printer, and navigate to a network drive that the login script mapps for you! I have seen elementary students who know how to use windows better than some of these programmers!

9/29/2006 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol....this is a great post, i feel your pain, being asked questions and your not sure what the problem is and then getting those comments back, i know how you feel...

9/29/2006 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had trouble lately with clients calling and asking if they could pay me to teach them how to do one of the services I offer. I'm a web developer and database programmer. They never seem to understand when I tell them I don't offer teaching as a service.

9/29/2006 12:37 PM  
Blogger alberto said...

haha thats good, tell'em to get a Mac.
Once someone told me his floppy drive wasnt working (Who uses a floppy on these days?) When I told him I didn't know what was the problem. He said: What? Aren't you studying this??
I said: "I am not a technician, I am a software engineer . . . . . . stupid"

9/29/2006 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Uraguay said...

Umm if you cannot fix things in Windows, you really do suck... It's point and click, Mr. Engineer. And no I am a web programmer not a hardware/networking person.

9/29/2006 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

We all damn well know that any software engineer worth his salt is going to know a lot more than the average tech about software and pc troubleshooting. Your problem lies in time management and caring too much what others think. If you don't have the time to fix someone's pc, simply say, "not my job" or "call tech support" And don't ever feel bad about that because we all get bombarded by these requests. Realize that these users are simply using you for a quick fix because they don't want the hassle of going through tech. Don't feel bad about not helping them. They're leeching, and I guarantee that they won't return the favor. Or you could do what I did when I worked for a smaller company and offer to fix a users personal pc for a price. You'd be suprised what you know when you can charge for it.

9/29/2006 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Jesse Harvey said...

Good post. Whenever someone comes to me with a computer problem and I am unable to answer off the top of my head, I turn to Google. I usually find a forum discussing the problem within the first page of results and simply copy/paste the instructions to my friends. If only non-techie people realized how powerful Google was and had the patience to read…

9/29/2006 12:40 PM  
Blogger goldenlove said...

oh my goodness, that is SOOOO true. even though i'm normally in a good mood and willing to help them out -- it irritates me that they think that i'm their magic answer to every problem. maybe i should just start charging them =)

9/29/2006 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get that all the time. Even having started out in the computer repair field before getting my education in computer science, I have had to deal with my fair share of problems. People just don't understand why I am not aware of how to fix every single problem. They literally think computers are so easy that one person can contain all the knowledge of all the technology in the world.

I too used to feel stupid when I could not answer every problem. I felt inadequate. However, as I have moved up the ladder, I realize that no one knows the answer to everything. Who cares what peopole think of us? They are the stupid ones who don't understand, not us. Ask them what they do for a living and then start firing various questions at them about their company. Then treat them like idiots when they don't know how much their company spent on travel expenditures last year. "But you work there."

9/29/2006 12:43 PM  
Anonymous WTL said...

Nothing bugs me more than the regular emails/phone calls/conversations with people about how their computer is broken or doesn't do something...

I always answer if I know the answer, or I point them to Google with their question as a search string (or, if I am cranky, justfuckinggoogleit.com).

Nice to see I'm not alone.

9/29/2006 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work at a local CC in the computer lab and I constantly get asked to fix pc problems. My solution was to make money off of it. Though I fortunately know how to fix 95% of PC problems these people have, but I still use the net to find problems a lot of the time

9/29/2006 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Niall Brown said...

I have to agree. And to be fair buying a mac doesn't necessarily solve the underlying problem. People still do not fully appreciate the complexities involved in computers, perhaps because they are everywhere and companies like Microsoft, Apple, Dell etc all create technolgies like plug and play or claim ease of use. But as an analogy I can drive a car and I understand the basic (very basic) theory behind the combustion engine. But I can't fix it for you and nor can people who work at Ford, or Toyota. You are right and people need to stop lumping IT into one big bubble of people who understand everything computer. You are right, you need to find the right person for the job when it problems you don't understand.

9/29/2006 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can completely emulate with this. I work for an Internet Service PRovider and all day long all I get are idiots that want something fixed not related to the internet (and they expect u to know cause you work for an ISP). Whats worse is the support department ofter gets me to handle any OSX relates calls cause Ive used a mac and Im the "mac Boy". Whats gets is im cetified as an MCSA, I know sweet fa. All I do is take a guess

I would be nice if customer could do the follow

-Stop calling my a Computer Wizard
-Dont question my thinking on a problem. Otherwise dont call
-Stop assuming that all IT guys are fat losers with no social life or girlfriend

Hmmm maybe someone should create a website dedicated to this

9/29/2006 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Rick said...

Thanks for posting this.

I don't know why people expect all knowledge about "computers" to be knowable by one person. It's such a simplistic mindset. There's little realization that some technology has outgrown the days where knowing "everything", or even "most things" about a technology was possible. I'm thinking of early car repair, lawn mowers, vacuums, stuff like that.

The amazing part of the technology revolution is just how many people and skill sets it takes to make everything work. Contrast the amount of technology required between a simple Amazon order for a book between, say, riding a horse to town to buy a book 100 years ago. The difference in complexity is staggering, yet some people still expect the Pony Express when it comes to figuring out what's wrong with their computer.

Maybe the horse-to-car transition is apt. If an early car broke, people probably thought it was way too difficult to diagnose and fix the problem. And maybe early mechanics were treated with the same sort of voodoo shaman awe I get when I can fix a problem on someone's computer.

It's fascinating that people choose to be insulting when you don't know the answer to something not in your area of expertise. Imagine insulting your cardiologist because he's not a neurologist or podiatrist.

Anyway, I hear ya. Thanks for posting it :)

9/29/2006 12:47 PM  
Blogger gnarbuckets said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/29/2006 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just a layman seeing you from their perspective, often for their self interest but just as often to simply to make small talk or hoping letting you loose will make you shine.

I get this too but there's no reason to expect more from these people -- they have no education in the field why should they know? I've found I do the same thing, subconciously, when I meet a medicinal doctor (assuming their a GP), or a solictor (assuming they specialise in civil cases), an electrician (assuming domestic) or all manner of domains I know little about. It's natural, it's no big deal. It's part of the job. Embrace.

9/29/2006 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL. I can relate to your dilemma, but from the other side. I went to school to study computer science and wrote software and learned about algorithm analysis, design, and construction. It was facinating...but it turned out I liked messing around with operating systems and network equipment more than I liked designing programs and writing code. So now I am a network engineer and sysadmin - I typically deal with problems far more interesting and complex than fixing a PC, but still have [some] of that ability left anyway. So when someone asks me if I can fix their computer I usually say something along the lines of "yeah, that's my job - what's yours?" I totally agree with your thoughts, there are lots of different areas of expertise - I don't have yours and you may not have mine, but non computer people don't have a clue about that concept; to them it's all "computers".

9/29/2006 12:52 PM  
Anonymous man+plan said...

Man, you need this tee

9/29/2006 12:54 PM  
Anonymous snachodog said...

Hell, I'm not trying to become a computer expert, I'm a little technically inclined and everybody expects me to be an expert in all computer functions!

Great post.

9/29/2006 12:54 PM  
Blogger BaoPhan said...

Totally agree man. I'm a software engineer myself and people comes up to me and ask to fix their computer. Luckily, I kinda know how to... but it just shows how the public views anyone who works with computers and not realizing it's such a broad topic.

9/29/2006 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha for me its the complete opposite. I can fix computers rather well but people keep asking me for programming, setting up a complex corporate network, and even graphic design. I do however think that all people in the computing field should have a general knowledge of how a computer works and at least know how to use the process of elimination to troubleshoot.

9/29/2006 12:57 PM  
Blogger gnarbuckets said...

I get help requests all the time. Only I like them, cause I don't go below $50 for a fix (unless for a friend).

Why not read an A+/N+ book and doing the same? It's not like understanding the technology that supports yours would be a bad thing. Plus, you wouldn't come off as such a jerk.

9/29/2006 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what you are saying is you aren't very good at what you do.

9/29/2006 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Digital Brian said...
Hey I can fix your computer AND make programs and I do not have any fancy hoax education, you can learn nothing in School that you cant learn from library books, this whole computer science degree crap is a hoax to get money out of people, so save your money and study by yourself.

Oh and if you are irritated at people asking your advice, just start quoting them $40 an hour and you see who REALLY needs your help. (Worked for me, made close to 10.000 the first year haha)
-----------------------------------

If you had a degree you could charge twice that and not blink an eye.

9/29/2006 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fracking Geek Squad? You're no more qualified to repair a PC than the monkey in Mexico, China, Mylaysia, etc.. that builds the damn things!

DS "Your gonna have to backup everything you want to keep."
DS "For another $80 on top of $160+ for the reinstall"
EL "BUT IT'S ONLY A BAD DRIVER AND BESIDES I HAVE AN OEM WINDOWS REINSTALL CD THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING BUT BOOT THE CD"
DS "Then you need a new hard drive and a flux capacitor also!"

Dork Squad is more like it. Requirement to be hired: High School Diploma.

That aside, programmers should know how to fix computers, everyone who uses them should be able to for what they work with. I.E. Work on a PC, you should be able to reinstall software, drivers & swap cards or HDD's if something goes wrong. Get use to it, and no buying a Mac won't save you.

No digg!

9/29/2006 1:03 PM  
Blogger TLOTIM said...

Start charging money for repairs, and set the (say, hourly) rate so that most people give up.

It will both reduce the number of requests, and will earn you some money, should you accept those that remain.

9/29/2006 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gnarbuckets - I agree.

9/29/2006 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Paden said...

I have heard it all before, I am a PHP web designer but im also a computer repair guy, network guy, but am not an engineer. I love going into a server room full of equipment and finding out how it works, or ripping open that new web app to see what makes it tick, but in no way shape or form can you give me a toaster and say "Why wont my bread toast?" I've heard a lot of really crappy insults, the one i got yesterday when i wouldn't create 8 pages of FTP connections and instead showed the guy how to do it was:

"Isn't that you job?", "As tech support you suck!", "I guess i have to do it my own dam$ self.", and finally "A$$hole!"

This is really horrible in a professional enviorment, I've spent over 11 years learning and training hands on, I'm a self taught guy working for a major business and i get sick of this crap.

I get PCs all the time infested with the worst spyware and viruses imaginable, and then when i ask "Where the virsu checker we preinstalled?" i get "Oh that thing? It said virus so i deleted it" I think that anyone that uses a computer should be required to take a literacy test so that i dont ever hear this again "You mean the Desktop my coffee cup sits on?"

Anyways, peace mate, and thanks for saying all this for those that can't.

9/29/2006 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dealt with the exact same thing, i got so may questions that i put together a website just to hand out to people who ask me:

http://www.digg.com/software/No_I_can_t_fix_your_computer_but_here_is_a_website_that_will_help

9/29/2006 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fixed Link:
Mike Binns Computer Advice

9/29/2006 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Oddly enough, I went to school for computer engineering and ended up taking a job as an IT Technician. I was never sure what I wanted to do and found I was good at diagnosing and fixing computer problems. The funny part is that I would rather be a coder but I'm not that great at it. So I guess I'm a wanna be coder that works as a tech that went to school for engineering... I think I missed that left at Albuquerque.

9/29/2006 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw what happen to my friend who accepted to take upon other people's problem so I just from the beginning told the beggers outright "NO! I'll not fix your computer".

Problem solved...

9/29/2006 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While working for computer services in college, I use to help other students all the time. Going above and beyond what I was expected of. I did it so much that students use to ask for me. What did it get me, a promotion from help desk consultant to Tech and a prestigious award given once a year. And after graduating it helped me get this great position as Sys Admin/Developer I do the IT for three companies and can't be happier.
My philosophy is if you have the knowledge and skill to help others then share it. You'll get something good in return.

It's all about Karma

9/29/2006 1:11 PM  
Blogger ajh said...

I had to laugh. I sitting here reading this story/comments and my phone rings! The caller (a friend) says "you got a minute, ya.., I am having problems with my computer and I need some help!. Then he asks me why I am laughing.......

9/29/2006 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Sam said...

My preferred answer is: "Oh, I see, you have a problem with your Linux or BSD box? I'd be glad to help you". The common answer: "No, I can't as my work requires Microsoft Windows, I haven't taken the time to switch OS". My answer: "Oh, too bad, I know nothing about Microsoft Windows. But you paid a high price for the OS, didn't that come with support? Maybe you should contact them".

9/29/2006 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find the most annoying thing about constantly being asked to help with people's computers is that I do it for a living. The LAST thing that I want to do after a 60hr work week is do MORE WORK!!! I've begun adopting a rather callous attitude and asking what services they are offering in trade.

As far as the 'Dork Squad' comment goes; yeah you don't need a lot of knowledge to get the job, but you do if you want to be good at it. You shouldn't flame an org. just because of a few rookie employees.

9/29/2006 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I wish more engineers would recognize this. I don't mean to put anyone down, but I've had a few helpdesk related jobs, and frankly I'm tired of programmers thinking that they know anything about fixing computers.

You may know quite a bit about programming, but that's not the same as diagnosis and repair. Having a BS in computer science doesn't necessarily make you any good at fixing a broken computer, so if you don't know what you're doing, leave it to the professionals.

9/29/2006 1:18 PM  
Anonymous JordanMW said...

If you all want to remain marketable in the future of computers... Be prepared to expand your knowledge! Your development jobs are doomed to be outsourced and a "jack of all trades" computer expert will be the only marketable type of computer expert. I am one of these and I HATE FIXING COMPUTERS! ...but I do it to keep myself up on troubleshooting ALL computer problems because you never know if the code is broken or if the PC itself is broken. Quit complaining and learn- people!

9/29/2006 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean no offense when I say this but I think your intollerance for people that don't understand what you do is HIGHLY misplaced. I have no idea what an accountant does other than it's something with numbers. If I have a tax question and I know someone who is an acountant I might ask them a question. However what if they are a corporate accountant and have no idea about personal taxes? Or what if they work for a non-profit and don't deal with the same stuff as everyone else? And here's the thing, they MIGHT be able to help you because maybe they do corporate accounts, but they have an interest in accounting so they know about personal taxes as well. I think it works the same for us in the computer field. Yes, you might develop software, but that doesn't mean you are clueless about how computers work. Granted a lot of designers are, but how are people to know that? I've known some developers that were AMAZING customer support, fix-the-computer over the phone types, but they really loved to code, they just knew about computers because they were interested in them.

Now here's the part I'll probably catch the most flak for: I think to become better at what you do, Programming, developing, designing, or engineering for computers you need to know how a computer works. Knowing the ins and outs of the operating system you are designing for (windows or linux) and that includes how to fix problems that might come up from your program.

You should be flattered people ask you for help, becuase it means they think you can. It's better than people thinking you are a complete moron and talking down to you about everything.

Please remember this before you go ranting about how stupid people are for asking you something that, if you think about it, is an honest assumption.

~Ben

9/29/2006 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked for a few years in IT Dept at a Microsoft Certification school. Every student was specifically there to learn about PC and Network issues to break into the IT field. But, I swear to God, everytime it got too hot or cold in the classrooms they were all over me to fix the AC/Heat! So I guess "tech" has a pretty big umbrella too. LOL

9/29/2006 1:19 PM  
Blogger KM3K said...

As a computer engineer myself, I'll inject a couterpoint. You design (or will design) computer systems. You design software. A significant part of the process is resolving issues and debugging.

You may not like repairing computer systems, but out in industry you'll get to do this all the time. Why doesn't this code that someone wrote 3 years ago still work? It'll be up to you to figure out why it doesn't work if you want the new system you're designing to be interoperable with the systems already in place.

Don't dismiss the repair process. An engineer needs to be able to maintain a system, not just design it.

9/29/2006 1:20 PM  
Blogger Orry said...

Heh.

I do understand your frustration. But not entirely. Personally I'm something of an all-rounder. I'm a programmer by profession and inclination, but I know enough of how to fix PCs that for a time I considered going into that as a career.

9/29/2006 1:22 PM  
Blogger spurt said...

"IT Department" in just your house, you are lucky. I am the "IT Department", Value Added Reseller, Technological Career Counselor, and general expert to anything that has a wire and a display attached to it, for my house, my parents house, my sister’s house (this requires remote desktop support), all the neighbors, old friends, new friends, the guy next to me in line at Jamba Juice, not to mention everyone at work (for their personal systems – bad enough I have to reset their password and clear spyware from their work machines all day, they expect me to do it at their house too), any person who ever was referred by one of the above mentioned, and of course all the computer, system, network vendors who try and sell me something everyday.

Great post, I actually cried knowing that there are others out there like me….

9/29/2006 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

while, yes, a programmer/software engineer should understand the hardware and be able to get his/her hands dirty working on it, fixing it, improving it, maintenancing it, whatever, that does NOT mean that we the software-writing community have any desire to deal with someone else's BS problem. we're not support. we're not hardware people. we have better things to do with our time and our minds. we deal with more than enough stress and frustration as it is without Joe Dipstick Neighbor saying, "oh, you do computers!? I've had this problem ever since I left my computer out in the rain one day ... " or etc.

9/29/2006 1:23 PM  
Anonymous You in a mirror said...

Why did this make it to digg? What a worthless piece of post. I don't care if you are so dumb to help people. If you can't solve a PC problem, how can you even think of design an algorithm to do something complex like hedging strategies for energy use on a mission critical cell phone tower? Nah that's is too much for you. You went to college to be a morom.

9/29/2006 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Shawn Honnick said...

I always ask, "Do you have a car? [yes] Do you know how to drive it? [yes] Can you fix my car? [no]." Then I say, I'm kinda like that with computers. :-)

9/29/2006 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just because you fly the plane, doesn't mean you can fix it...

9/29/2006 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Dustin said...

Give me a break. If you are working on computers as a software engineer and/or have a comp sci degree, you should know these things. These people are looking for advice from someone who should know more about the problem. It is just like people asking people asking an escrow officer about the housing market or stock guy about an item/price. They are not required to know, but they work around it and should have some knowledge about it.

In your case, it is the same thing. People see you as a "computer guy" because you are a programmer. I bet you could clue people in on other things computer related huh? Good games, net neutrality, video cards, etc. You know why? These are things you probably know and use so you have picked up on things as you went along. I have never done anything but buy and install CPUs but I know all about the AMD/INTEL wars and how INTEL is looking to get 80 cores whereas AMD is content with mastering an 8 core chip. I "heard it through the grapevine" you could say.

Point is, you use a computer to make a living and you Should know some shit about what’s going on. Im the same exact thing as you, Comp Sci software engineer, and I know enough to help people out 80% of the time, with no effort/research/classes needed. Why? I wanted to buy my own parts, install parts myself, and when my computer broke, I tried to figure out why.

If you did not do that then you are not less of a computer guy, but really, you know you should know this stuff. Any respectable geek/nerd would be all over this like white on rice. Otherwise you are like a women driver who cant check her own oil.

9/29/2006 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Erik N said...

OK, This is the logic: If you're an expert then you should be paid for your expert advice and people should find that fair an reasonable. If they don't want to pay they can't expect you to fix their problem or even be able to: Either because you're not an expert or because experts should be paid for doing expert jobs!

So, next time someone ask if you can fix their computer, just ask if they will pay you the usual consultant fee. Normally they won't. Ofcourse, if they are willing to pay, and you do a bad job, they will leave you alone in the future.

9/29/2006 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in Healthcare IT so the people who usually ask me for help are nurses or doctors,
When they ask me for help I say
"Sure I can help, can you help me? I have the thing on my behind" and then start opening my belt.....

They find someone else to bother.

9/29/2006 1:33 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

"Chris said...

We all damn well know that any software engineer worth his salt is going to know a lot more than the average tech about software and pc troubleshooting. Your problem lies in time management and caring too much what others think"

I completely agree.

i think you're probably not that great of a software engineer if you can't do basic trouble shooting.

9/29/2006 1:37 PM  
Blogger Mr Don said...

How many programers does it take to screw in a light bulb?.............

None.... it's a hardware problem

9/29/2006 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

This even applies within specific areas of IT.

I'm a web developer which, in my case, means I work with backend programming and databases only. Despite that, people constantly ask me to make Flash movies and do graphic design work for them because I'm a "web guy".

9/29/2006 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see where everyone is coming from. At the same time, I work in a field where it is critical that I have full understanding of both hardware and software based issues, as well as writing the code to resolve those issues.

By no means should an engineer have to be an expert in everything computers, however, that "computer expert" should have a good understanding of all things computer.

9/29/2006 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very true...I work as a tech at a large corporation and within the past two days I've had to center a wallpaper, re-create a shortcut, and tell someone how to select the right domain to log in to. All of them were different people, all of them were programmers.

9/29/2006 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of today's computer problems exist because of comp sci folks that use the same thought process you are using to excuse yourself for not knowing more about practical application and troubleshooting.

Excuse yourself about not knowing more biology, particle physics, or maybe cooking, but not something that will really enhance the effectiveness of your engineering work.

9/29/2006 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Whitey said...

I'm a senior developer and I can build/fix/troubleshoot computers. I can and do fix everyone's computers and I have a huge family, and I'm not about to charge my own family, but it's kind of annoying that everyone assumes you will drop everything ASAP and fix it, and when you're done don't even buy you dinner or send a thank you card or something. Then there are the relatives whose kids are always installing these freeware poker games that load the computer up with spyware and expect you to fix it every two months, or that expect you to tell them, just click Start->Fix Problem and it will work.

I end up blowing off some family functions because when I show up it's like a line forms of people asking me to fix their computer, diagnose on the spot "when I boot it makes this bing bong noise and then a message pops up and then it freezes", tell them the trick to get the Sims 2 to run on their 20 year old PC XT, or to update their web site or make a site for their kids soccer team.

9/29/2006 1:54 PM  
Blogger Rod MacPherson said...

My usual response is either "It'll be $30 an hour" or "leave it with me for a week and I'll see what I can do" depending on whether I feel like charging them or doing them a favour. Usually though they'd rather take it to the local repair shop than wait a week without a computer.

9/29/2006 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like pies!

9/29/2006 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blantonious says: Yea I recently just started saying no but if I want to be polite about it I will ask them what they have tried first. When they tell me I simply tell them that they have tried everything I have and better take it in to the place they bought it and have it checked out.

9/29/2006 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol, so true. I work at an electronic store as a sales representative, and also happens to study computer science. Once the customer finds that out, I basically am supposed to have an answer to every single question he or she can possibly come up with. Eventhough there is a technical service desk in the same store, they would rather ask the sales person about their technical issues. Depending on how humorous I feel like, I tell them they either have to buy a new system, or direct them to the tech services desk. It's not that I cannot necessarily fix their problems; Has anybody ever explained how to fix a problem to someboy, and they came back telling you that you've given them wrong instructions, and now their systems are messed up, and you are responsible for it? Cheap bastard, consider yourself lucky you got free help!

9/29/2006 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

imagine how difficult it must be when the comp. tech is expected to know why ANYTHING fails....hardware OR software....!!!!!

9/29/2006 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell them to buy a Mac.

9/29/2006 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Cody Baker said...

I've had it go as far as equating computer software knowledge to vcrs! What do people think?

9/29/2006 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree! Sorta.....

Im a computer programmer, but Ive tinkered with hardware and software for years before going to school for programming. Naturally, Im the go-to-guy in my family to get computers fixed. Luckily I dont mind doing it, and I feel that Im pretty good at it. But I do agree that the norm is for strict separation in all types of computer fields (IT, programming, general repair, etc).

Funny story.....the first programming position I had, a developer sitting next to me got a new monitor for their PC....and didnt know how to hook it up. Thats the moment I realized just because you can program it to do what you want, you dont necessarily know how to physically work on it.

9/29/2006 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree! Sorta.....

Im a computer programmer, but Ive tinkered with hardware and software for years before going to school for programming. Naturally, Im the go-to-guy in my family to get computers fixed. Luckily I dont mind doing it, and I feel that Im pretty good at it. But I do agree that the norm is for strict separation in all types of computer fields (IT, programming, general repair, etc).

Funny story.....the first programming position I had, a developer sitting next to me got a new monitor for their PC....and didnt know how to hook it up. Thats the moment I realized just because you can program it to do what you want, you dont necessarily know how to physically work on it.

9/29/2006 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anders said...

Ohh I totally agree.

Some of my relatives are really good at fixing cars so I usually throw this simile right back at them.

I fix your computer and when you get it back you press EVERY button, browse the internet like a madman, click on every popup or ad and then call me again to fix your god damn computer.
What if I drove my car on every piece of shitty road I could find, pushing every button, nagging on wires, filling the car with sugger and such AND then left it at your driveway and said: hey can you fix my car.

Then they realize that just because they have a computer - they have enough inside their head to use it.

9/29/2006 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just tell them I'm a Mac guy now and most Windows users give up asking. If they keep asking, I eventually tell them to get a Mac. Amazingly, I've had some success with conversion and afterward, get almost no questions from them. The reason is simple: they don't seem to have any major problems after they switch. Makes me happy.

9/29/2006 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just tell them you are stupid because you obviously are. even if you learn to program you should also have the basic skills to remove a virus/diagnose hardware/software issues.

I mean do it all why doesn't eveyone!

People like you make me sick!

9/29/2006 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike most of you people I do not have a computer related degree but am computer literate. The fact many friends ask me for help is a compliment and I truly enjoy helping people out. I don't ask for anything in return but will happily accept a beer. Doing something to help someone out isn't such a bad thing - you learn empathy and often learn new things about computers. But one thing about this blog confirms what I've always known about computer professionals - there's a higher percentage of whiners there than in any other industry (with the possible exception of Boston sports fans).

9/29/2006 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got my degree in Electrical Engineering. You wouldn't be surprised at the number of times I've been asked to fix the Nintendo, or VCR, or some other gadget that plugs into the wall.

9/29/2006 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand this completely, I still get calls from family members (which I do put up with). But I remember pimping out my computer skills for baked goods in college. But it get's so tiresome.

9/29/2006 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Years ago, before Linux was as well known as it is today, I told people I did not know Windows, that I worked with advanced operating systems, so that I would not have to fix people's computers. And in fact, to a large degree I was telling the truth actively avoiding any knowledge for that particular reason. I did have to explain twice when I ran into the Macintosh owner...

9/29/2006 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy comments!

In the end, it is extremely beneficial for all programmers to be aware of some of the finer points in Operating System and Network System management, so that you're aware of the capabilities and limitations of these systems.

Not saying you are one of them, but as an IT Engineer I continuously come across programmers that know next to nothing about computers. Thus, they keep writing code that runs like shit on our systems, because hey "Well it works on my workstation."

9/29/2006 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I can't believe some of these comments! Some going to the effect of "just learn it" "it's just reading an A+ book".
It's not that simple, if you want to be good at something, then you HAVE TO focus on that. You can't be good at anythign if you try to do everything. It is impossible for everyone to know all there is to know about computers. And it would be a mistake to try, it only leaves you feeling bad that you dont' know what this acronym means, or how these protocols work. Hell, I was really down on myself because I didn't know so much about computers. This article really is saying, simply: pick a part of computing, study, learn and become professional in that area. If you try to learn more areas all you'll end up doing is detracting from your main area of expertise.

Plus jack of all trades computer people don't get paid NEARLY what someone in say artifical intelligence, or some specific niche of programing can. SPECIALIZE PEOPLE! IT'S WHAT EVERY OTHER MAJOR INDUSTRY DOES!

9/29/2006 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill et al got rich on all your backs. You've all indirectly supported an industry which spews bad design, empty promises, bad software and bad customer service. Thats why whenever I get asked to fix a computer, I just say "Leave me alone. Call Gates. He sold it to you. Not my problem."

9/29/2006 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though I agree with your sentiments, I think in long run, it has proved very usefull to me to fix a few computers here and there. I learned things like what went wrong, what did the programmer write in this case and what broke. Things that I try to learn from and avoid doing it myself in my day to day work as software engineer!

9/29/2006 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting how often this happens.

I'm a professional graphic designer/illustrator, but somewhere along the line I was told I should also design for the web and that I should know how to program (Javascript, SQL, Perl)... and fix computers...

I've become much more focused as a result, and have no problem saying "Well I don't have the experience needed to fix your particular problem, but if you give -insert name- a call. He/she should be able to help you for an hourly rate."

The moment money is brought up the problem usually goes away or at least someone is getting paid for their work.

9/29/2006 2:29 PM  
Blogger deruderu said...

same situation.

being an EE grad, ppl asked me 'can u fix my broken iron at home?' then i thought i didn't go to college to learn how to repair appliances.

what da heck.

9/29/2006 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Zeiche said...

The requests died down once I switched to a Mac.

9/29/2006 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with Uraguay's comment where he said if you are in electrical or computer engineering and you cannot fix a windows-based PC then you are noob. by the age of 15 I had already thaught myself windows and linux programming and along the way i've ran into many problems (of my own doing) and thus have had to fix them. by merely spending time with computers you should run into a sufficient number of problems that you can fix most anything. even if a computer is completely messed up, just format and reinstall. if its a hardware problem then do the usual, memtest86, swap processors, etc. and you should be up and running in no time. computers are dead simple from an end-users perspective.

9/29/2006 2:40 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Same here. Than i bought that shirt:

http://www.sodaundkatze.de/pic/nofix.jpg

9/29/2006 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion, ayone who has to use a tool (computer, hammer, calculator, etc.) should take it upon themselves to at least become familiar with basic operation.

9/29/2006 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So.. with that rant behind us, riddle me this.

Why, if you are admitting the value of hardware techs and computer repair people, are you still not willing to PAY those people? Why is it that tech support is something people expect for free????? Do you expect your mechanic to fix your car for free after you flipped up the hood and twisted very nob screw and lever? Do you expect your plumper to come for free to put right your pipes after you have attached the drains to the shower heads? NO! But if you F*ck with settings, install spyware you EXPECT to pick up a phone and call either your ISP or Dell/Compaq/HP etc and then have some guy, getting paid dick all to fix your computer FOR FREE, and then have the balls to complain about the service!!

ACK!!!! If you want good tech support

PAY FOR IT AT THE SAME RATES YOU PAY FOR MECHANICS!

THEN people would stop installing spyware and take some responciblity for their actions!

9/29/2006 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you know how to program something if you don't know how it works. If you know how it works, then you know how to figure out what's wrong with it when it's not working. If you can figure out what's not working and know how it's suppose to work, then you should be able to figure out how to move from the non-working state to the working state. If you don't then just assert your career. You can't think...and I thought that's what they were suppose to be teaching you in school. go figure.

now, if you don't WANT to fix everybody's computer, that's another story.

if you don't know how and you have a degreee in computer science, go write a book or better yet, teach.

9/29/2006 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A virus ate your computer? Should have got a Mac.

9/29/2006 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband is a systems engineer with a lot of certifications and knows a lot about many different specializations (I recognize his post but I won't mention which one) and I've heard it all before. What you all fail to realize is that most of us are simple "users" and only know how basics in order to get what we need and seriously don't have the time to learn more unless we have to. When I come across a problem that I don't know, I'll ask my husband on the chance that he may know right off the top of his head and if he doesn't then a simple "I don't know - I would have to check into to it also" would suffice. No reason to get all worked up and pissy. Those of us computer-challenged really don't understand enough to realize that we are offending anyone by asking a favor from a friend or family member. I think the main problem was stated already: when you do it all day for a living you really don't want to do it on your off-time unless you're working on something or learning something new for your own purposes. You don't want to spend your free time fixing things for everyone in your home, and your mother's, sister's, in-law's, cousins', friends', etc. homes also. It's understandable that it is aggravating but no reason to get so angry with people who don't understand and would be very hurt to find out how much they upset you just by asking for your help. These same people would probably offer to help you in any way that they could in their field of interest so no harm in saying no while being civil. Sounds like a lot of IT people need anger-management therapy to me. And BTW, a MAC doesn't solve the problem - I've got one!

9/29/2006 3:06 PM  
Blogger jbrosmer said...

omfg--so true! This was my side job this past summer....and i didnt charge a set price if it was in a bitching mood i would usually charge more or just as long as i made a profit...i mean seriously people would call you up and say their wireless isn't working at 9 PM, i ran over there enabled the guys wireless on his laptop and charged him $40! he was so grateful...time is everything

9/29/2006 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Nick Hester said...

I always ask after: "My computer is broke. Got any ideas?"

Did you Kick it?


Well uh, no.


See that easy. Sometimes a crazy answer is what they get.

9/29/2006 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen brother!!! everyone just assumes since i do web dev/design and programming i just automatically know how to fix any kind of computer problems.

now i just tell them the issue is PEBKAC =)

9/29/2006 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the lady with the husband.

Good advice. Next time I see my dentist friend I will ask him if he can clean my teeth.. it will only take a second.

Or my doctor friend.. next time I am over for dinner I will ask him to check my prostate.. I am sure he won't mind.

It isn't that the "Computer Challenged" are offending us by asking.. it is that they expect this service for free and when asked for money, are inveribly cheep about it. The BIGGEST reason that I don't fix personal computers is that even with charging $50/hour it isn't worth the time invloved. Here is why;

I go and fix a person's computer who is complaining it is slow and he has pop-ups. It takes two hours and he pays me $100. I tell him about spyware and the ways to prevent it. Two days later I get a call by a very angry customer saying that I don't know what I am doing and that I didn't fix his computer properly because it is slow and he has pop-ups still. So I go back. Spend another hour diagnosing the problem (thinking of course that I did something wrong and the problem was more serious) only to find out that the customer just can't live with out his web games that infest his computer with spyware. It take another half hour to explain to the customer that it unless he decides not to play these games he will always have this problem..

That will be $75.

Think he is gonna pay???

OF COURSE NOT!! On the odd occation they wil have money to pay you but for the most part they don't wish to pay yet another fee. This happened less then a month ago and isn't an isolated incident. You "Computer-Challenged" need to start paying like those of us who are "Auto-challenged". I sure as hell don't get a break on my engine repairs because I don't know anything about cars!

Why would you expect computers to be ANY different?

9/29/2006 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FROM the lady with the husband:

I totally understand and agree and am not saying that you SHOULD take YOUR time to do favors for everyone - don't get me wrong! I'm saying there could be some understanding for people being ignorant when they ask a question they THINK can be answered quickly and easily because you are a "computer guy" and no reason to get so angry. I'm not asking my mechanic friend to work on my car for free and wouldn't dream of it. I'm asking my husband to help me when I have a question, and his mom is asking her son, and so on... We don't realize that we are ticking anyone off - WE ARE SORRY!

BTW - Does your wife charge you for sexual favors?

9/29/2006 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

This sounds a lot like my day-to-day life. I hear those questions all the time, although that's what I do for work. I do agree with you that people have this false impression that anyone that even remotely does work with computers can fix whatever problem they're having. WRONG!

Granted, I went to school for Computer Science, but I ended up changing that to a degree of my own creation; most of what I know about fixing computers/software is from trial and many errors with my own computer or my family's equipment.

9/29/2006 3:59 PM  
Blogger This kick's for you said...

I get the same thing but in reverse. I'm a System Admin and people are CONSTANTLY asking me if I can build a web page or write some stupid program for them. I've written down some of my bitterness here: http://ThisKicksForYou.blogspot.com

9/29/2006 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a web developer and I can fix computers, but I just don't like to. It's just not fun. It's a pain in the ass.

I would expect any softwre engineer to be able to fix computers, also. If you are developing software for an OS, you'd better damn well know how the OS works.

9/29/2006 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

":BTW - Does your wife charge you for sexual favors?"

Hummm how to answer that.. Yes in fact she does! At least I belive that if I became an unemployed sponge that did nothing around the house and didn't contribute she would stop sleeping with me.

We aren't talking about our relelatives asking us for quick advice. I don't think that is a problem at all. It certainly isn't the problem that I am speaking about. Quite simply Tech Support isn't seen as something that has any value. It is seen as something that should be provided for free simply because one person is "computer-challenged". People who are professionals in this field are treated with very little respect and paid extreamly poorly. I don't think it is wrong, at all, to start demanding that this profession get treated and paid on the same scale, at LEAST, as other service people. Your IT guy has ALOT more training and knowledge then your plumper so why is your plumber getting paid seven or eight times as much?

People have to start PAYING for this service. That means that you "computer-challenged" folks have to a) start learning to become unchallenged or b) to start ponying up the cash to hire someone who ISN'T computer challenged to work for you. The only way people start listening is when it hits their pocketbooks. If every time someone came over to "fix" your computer by removing spyware it cost you $500 - $1000 how long do you think it would be before you start checking what is being installed? How long will it be before you take responciblity for your own actions? Would you then install a spyware checker and stop playing webgames that install spyware? Spyware/malware doesn't just appear on your computer. YOU INSTALL IT. There are very very very very few instances where something spontaniously goes wrong. For the most part, if it doesn't work the way it used to, the reason why is that you f*cked with it somehow. I see no reason that you SHOULDN'T pay through the nose for stupidity. Once again, is your mechanic going to charge you less because you didn't KNOW that a car needs an oil change and now your engine is seized? Ignorance is no defence at all.

9/29/2006 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is amazing how your career can flourish when you help the right people. You never know who is moving to the top. Even if it's not my job I will help any person of potential. This has paid off many many times. I am sorry for the guy who posted the initial complaint for he will miss many opportunities with that attitude...

9/29/2006 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hella true, Great post. I hope the "Not so computer experts" also read this.

9/29/2006 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from the wife:

I agree with you here! We were talking separate issues!

9/29/2006 4:22 PM  
Anonymous mattmutz said...

This shirt from ThinkGeek.com is probably the best computing investment I've ever made.

But, even wearing it, people still ask...

9/29/2006 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put. I get all sorts of questions, from spyware, to hardware, to viruses... it never ends.

9/29/2006 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Nice that was a good read. I am a PC tech and things can go the other way too. "Can you help me setup a web page?"
stuff like that happens alot and I know how to do some of the basic programming and all that but not enough to actually help someone. However if there is an issue with your PC that needs fixing OS/hardware/networking I can do that.

9/29/2006 5:18 PM  
Blogger Pitt said...

The best part is that they expect you to do it for free. The assumption is always that since I am the computer guy, I jump at the chance to mess somebody else's computer.

9/29/2006 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a first/second generation geek, I got lucky in that, to my surprise, I found out that people would pay me very well to do what I love. Namely, "playing" with computers. This was at a time when there were no computer magazines, when "building" a PC meant using a soldering iron and a schematic. I barely ever used a PC until 4 years ago, I am the beared geek in the dilbert cartoon, (sans beard) PC's are good games machines, nice toys, but they're not where the real fun is. Fun is the fear that comes with wondering whether the next command you type will kill the RAID array, or make the system work again. It's jump starting an entire network, because you've got a routing storm. Playing tag with spammers and finding the edge one day and losing it the next. One PC, however "modded your rod", is a toy compared to being paid to control a geographically disperse network of machines.

That said, I do realise that to the average person, computers are "rocket science", that to people who can't even program thier VCR, and think of a mobile phone as a fashion accessory "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" to quote Arthur C Clark. In fact when you get right down to it, and you have to teach people who've never used a computer before, it's only then you realise how much you take for granted, especially when you have to pause to work out how you use a mouse so you can teach somebody else to do the same. A child of five might have no problems, but an adult of 25 or more is another matter.

Then of course there is the evangelism, and tired old slogans such as "information wants to be free" a desire both to make people understand just how great a tool a computer is, and that whatever they want to do with it is perfectly fine. That they are not stupid because of what they don't know, that the rules we cleave to are arbitrary anyway, and frankly, the fact that it's taken Microsoft 20 years to produce a relatively stable OS is both shamefull and laughable by turns. There are no stupid questions, only people who would call you n00b or emo or whatever label will make them feel good today.

I used to hoard information, regard the compututer illiterate with a distain bordering on the hysterical, I was an elitist just like many of you. But two things happened, I grew older, (if not up) and first the internet, and then SPAM appeared. I even have a grudging respect for hackers and virus writers, I may deplore the uses to which they put thier skills, but an autonomous, polymorphic, self encrypting, virus with stealth capabilities is a fairly cool bit of kit not matter which way you slice it, but I digress. The internet 12-15 years ago was a real wild west, it was the new frontier, big, weird, technically diverse, and growing, before the monoculture of the web, and the rise of google. Now it's less the wild west, more like Baghdad or Camden, New Jersey. "it's dangerous out there" Finaly, we have SPAM, which is so hard to block because it comes from "botnet's" of home PC's with broadband connections, most of which have become infected because of unsafe behaviour.

It's because of this that whenever somebody has asked me to "fix" thier computers, that I've spent the beter part of an average 5 hours or so, tightening up and locking down thier PC's, installing firefox, thunderbird, zone alarm, spybot and AVG. As well as answering any questions they have. Even on holiday in Japan, on Japanese installs of XP. I figure I'm fighting back one machine at a time, we all do what we think is in our own best interest I guess.

So if you've got this far through my ramblings, not to mention the assembled misanthropy above, then drop me a line to: praxis22@hotmail.com and I will do my best to answer your questions for free, even if all you want to know is where the porn is, or how you download movies, I will "fix" your computer. All I ask in return is that if somebody asks you for help you do your best in turn. "There is no spoon" :)

9/29/2006 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha damn yah i am the exact same way, and i'm in electrical engineering. Sadly my first co-op is in IT helpdesk, so i got pwneneenenenned

9/29/2006 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 16, and am really into computers. I do get people asking me for help. I can do hardware issues,software issues and also web design. I ahve never been asked to write a program (nor do I find programming remotely interesting, with the possible exception of php coding, which I am also really good at.) In other words, I ahve a pretty wide skills base. My best skill is probably troubleshooting, however I don't mind helping people with web design/php as well. I know many programmers do not know how to fix computers (the monitor story was funny)and yet I wonder how they manage to learn so much about programming without picking up some basic troubleshooting.... For example, if you're programming one night,and your computer gives up, what do you do? I know I would try and troubleshoot the problem. Because of this,I am supprised that programmers do not have a basic knowledge of troubleshooting.

9/29/2006 7:35 PM  
Anonymous regeya said...

Seeing so much I can identify with here. But working at a newspaper, we have Macs, I do some basic stuff to keep the Macs working, so the people who own Macs think I'm the area Mac repairman. *sigh* I've had some openly hostile people, yeah, and people who think that when I've quoted a price that while I was worth it when I was doing it for free, I definitely wasn't worth it when I was charging real rates.

I will on occasion do free work if I have time, and usually won't do paid work because it's too much hassle for me.

9/29/2006 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Rick said...

I have to agree as well. I've been doing the computer thing for quite a while now and anyone who owns a PC (or Mac) asks if I'm available to come look at it. After all I'm a Systems Analyst, I should be able to fix ANY computer problem!

Wrong. I can design systems, program in several languages, and -- by far the most important -- make coffee. Sure, I've done the repair thing; yes I'm more than sure if I had the time I could fix it. But it should not be my purpose in life to fix your computer.

9/29/2006 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I will help, but only with people that want to learn how to do something themselves.
That's how I learnt myself: by having people helping me to get started and then researching.
The least you can do is tell someone that doesn't know that Google exists.

The worst thing is to have to fix things for people who have no talent or interest in being able to eventually do it themselves and not getting payed for it.

Somehow, it seems to me that all of this has to do with those people not being able to relate to your work, simply because they don't understand it.

9/29/2006 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got a friend in a Porsche club, and guess what??? He knows more about cars than the AVERAGE PERSON! No lie!

Seriously, what would you nerds do if you couldn't repair computers?

9/30/2006 1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ran into this phenomenon several years ago. Oddly enough, people would call at any time, on any day, and expect me to spend hours fixing their computers for no charge.
In truth, I find this very interesting, and enjoy most such encounters. The best cases are like little mystery dramas (Why doesn't my keyboard work? Because you have changed the font color to white, on a white background.)
In any event, I began charging for my time. I enjoy a small additional income, and still provide free services when the need or the circumstance moves me.
And the phone doesn't ring as much.

9/30/2006 2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a systems admin and full tech support person at work. I can fix most problems, but what annoys me is that I am *expected* to fix everyone's home computer issue, sight unseen, sometimes with the most bizarre and nonsensical descriptions of the problem. Just because I *can* doesn't mean I should have to.

9/30/2006 2:46 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

I'm in the same situation. For some months now I try to explain why I can't fix every problem. Went well so far.

9/30/2006 4:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Odio cuando mis padres me ponen en un compromiso con vecinos o parientes, porque les hacen promesas de que yo les voy a solucionar el problema que tienen.

Por ejemplo me dicen: "Tenés que ir a lo de Fulano, porque tiene un problema en la computadora y le dije vos lo ibas a ayudar. Tenés que ir, no me vas a dejar mal, eh!" WTF!?!#*

9/30/2006 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All too true, here, too. But it might help to point out some analogies:

1) you wouldn't go to an eye doctor if you broke your leg
2) you wouldn't hire a tax lawyer to defend you in court

9/30/2006 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you have stated is very true. Once people find out you have anything to do with computing ...... they expect you know the whole works. To take it one step further, I do troubleshoot computers and network connectivity issues. I am always amazed when people call me and quote a 10+ character error code and expect that I will immediately know what their problem is. I wonder how many people would believe me if I told them that they had an 'interlocking packet collision on the main Bus, permanently blocking the system's reliability to accurately process math calculations'?

I'll leave that to your imagination.

10/01/2006 12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't even work in computers or know much about them but I get people knocking on my door - I have no idea who they are - asking me to fix their computers. It can range from an re-installation of an operating system to being asked to look through some code. I tell them I know nothing about asp and they stare at me as if by staring long enough the answer will come to me. All because I mentioned to a neighbour on my block then I installed Linux.

11/02/2006 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a CS student... a part-time web programmer... and trying to break my way into the sysadmin world.

No, I can't fix your computer. What I can do is suggest a more optimal software and hardware configuration for your purposes, or identify what you didn't do right that cause it to "break" in the first place.

The answer to the latter question, at least when it comes to friends and family, is that you installed a Microsoft product (or anything with a graphical interface) and therefore, by default, your computer is broken.

3/21/2007 6:36 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

At least you admit you don't know the answer to fix a computer.

I am a computer "repair man" and nothing is more irritating then hearing "My brother is a software engineer and he says my problem is...."

Great post!

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People stop me all the time.
Sadly, its because I have a tee-shirt with Computer Virus Removal on it.
Not to mention car magnets.

The polite thing to answer is
"I charge $60 an hour.
Would you like to schedule an appointment"

Or even the more humourous response
"Questions are $10. Answers at $20. Correct answers are $30"



There is a significant difference from honest decent people asking a question with full intentions to hire your services regardless of your answer, as compared with people who because you are "near" them (cross the street, related, same gender) think they can fool you into revealing years of experience in a sentence or two!

Of course....

The tempting thing to answer is
"Sir, if you still have the original box that the computer came in,
then I suggest you ship it back to the manufacturer.

(and somehow hold back "because obviously too stupid to handle anything with more ghz than your iq ")

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

After Heskey had a decent shout for a penalty waved away, Walcott put England in front with his first goal for his country. 結婚指輪

9/11/2008 5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a stroke of fortune about it as Danijel Pranjic's clearance cannoned straight into Robert Kovac and when the ball fell to Walcott inside the box on the right, he lashed it into チューリッヒthe bottom corner.

9/11/2008 5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A minute later Walcott's cross-shot from a similar position was touched behind by keeper Stipe Pletikosa, before Josip Simunic was booked for a cynical foul as Walcott's pace terrorised Croatia 営業支援once more.

9/11/2008 5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eight minutes after the break Croatia suffered a hammer blow when Robert Kovac went up for a challenge with Joe Cole営業代行 and appeared to lead with his elbow, causing the Chelsea midfielder to bleed from a wound on his head.

9/11/2008 5:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kovac was rightly sent off and Cole had to be stretchered off, but six minutes later England went 2-0 ahead when the sublime アスクルRooney - enjoying a glorious return to form wearing the three lions - beautifully teed up Walcott to smash in his second.

9/11/2008 5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

England were rampant, and Jermaine Jenas scampered away down the left and pulled the ball back for Rooney to open up his body 結婚相談所 東京and direct the ball into the corner.
It was like watching England at their Euro 96 best as they passed the ball around with devastating accuracy and Lampard was cruelly denied a goal after another gorgeous team move when his goal 花粉症
was ruled out for a foul committed by Heskey.
Croatia were all over the place, but they managed a consolation when Darijo Srna broke and he fed Mandzukic to drive the ball under David James.

9/11/2008 5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9/11/2008 5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9/11/2008 5:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9/11/2008 5:46 AM  
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9/11/2008 5:46 AM  
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9/11/2008 5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

浮気調査 気調査のご相談、浮気調査探偵へのご依頼は浮気調査の実績豊富な探偵,アーガスリサーチ探偵事務所東京へお任せ下さい。浮気調査以外にも、信用調査、身元調査など様々なご依頼に迅速に対応致します。
ブライダル 幸せな結婚のためには結婚式をしたほうがいいの? 【結婚パレット】は既婚者もたくさん参加する「結婚準備の情報コミュニティ」。だから結婚準備に関するどんなお悩みでもきっと良い答えが見つかるはず。

9/11/2008 5:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

オートローン 自動車ローン・オートローンのエス・ピー・エフ株式会社 「ネットオークション・個人売買・新しい車に乗り換えたい」そんなニーズにお応えします。
フランチャイズ フランチャイズチェーン加盟募集情報。飲食店フランチャイズや起業家の独立開業情報など。経営事例やセミナー情報も紹介。

9/11/2008 5:47 AM  
Blogger moto said...

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9/12/2008 2:41 AM  
Blogger moto said...

日本治験推進機構のサイトでは治験ボランティア会員を募集しています.
また、治験参加に興味のあるみなさまに最新の治験募集情報をご案内しています

9/12/2008 2:42 AM  
Blogger moto said...

行政書士は、1.官公署に提出する営業の申請・登録等の書類作成行政書士、2.権利・義務に関する書類作成、3.事実証明に関する書類の作成および、これらにつ いての相談に応じる専門職です行政書士。市民生活のきわめて広い分野で行政とのパイプ役を担います

9/12/2008 2:44 AM  
Blogger moto said...

三井ダイレクトの自動車保険は契約条件を自由に設定、 ご自分にピッタリの三井ダイレクト補償内容を選んでご自分で組み立て! 運転される方を「本人・配偶者のみ」や三井ダイレクト「35歳以上」に 限定していただくなど、組み合わせによって保険料がさらにお得に!

9/12/2008 2:45 AM  
Blogger moto said...

ヘアケアデパートにようこそ!育毛剤暑い日が続きますが、皆様いかがお過ごしですか?本サイトでは、育毛剤・育毛サプリからハイテク育毛グッズまで育毛剤アイテムを
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9/12/2008 2:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is unbelievable irritating. My favorite line: "If you can't solve my problem than I don't know what you are doing in computer bussines.", it's like you have to know everything there is to know about computers. Some people are just ignorant.

9/15/2008 4:38 PM  
Blogger whymoto said...

FX
外国為替(外為)取引システムを、安心・安全・お気軽にご利用ください。FX商品情報も充実、株式会社エムジェイの公式サイト。FX取引手数料無料、充実の外国為替情報を 株式会社MJのFX
FX
外国為替(外為)取引システムを、安心・安全・お気軽にご利用ください。FX商品情報も充実、株式会社エムジェイの公式サイト。FX取引手数料無料、充実の外国為替情報を 株式会社MJのFX

9/16/2008 2:20 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

将来のこと、キャリアのこと、年収のこと。いろいろな悩みや不安を転職のプロに相談し、今後の可能性を見つけてみませんか?転職サイトならウェイザップ。完全匿名で登録するだけ。在職中でも自然感覚で転職を考えられます。
インターネットの普及に伴い、転職情報サイトを用いた転職が主流になりつつある。当然ながら転職情報サイトは転職情報会社が宣伝目的・利益目的で設けているものなので、転職に過剰な期待や幻想を抱かないように注意する必要はある。最初の本格的な転職サイトとしては、リクルート社が1996年に立ち上げた「Digital B-ing」が挙げられる。同サービスはその後「リクルートナビキャリア」、「リクナビNEXT」とサービス名を変更して継続している。 2006年時点で、売上や掲載企業数が多い転職サイトとしては、「リクナビNEXT」「en社会人の転職情報」(2000)「毎日キャリアナ ビ」(1999)などがある。これらのサイトの運営会社は、元々紙媒体の職業情報を扱っていたり、情報誌の営業を行っていたりした企業が大半である。

9/16/2008 2:21 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

引越しの際には、住人が持っている家具や家電製品、衣服などを引越し先の住居へ運ぶ必要が出てくる。これらを引越しをする本人の手で運ぶこともできるが、 大きな家具などを運ぶのは個人では大変な作業のため、運送業者、引越し専門業者にこれらを代行させることもできる。一般的には、きめ細かいサービスとまごごろで対応いたします。確かな技術が支える安心の作業。作業員の姿勢が違います!引越見積,引越業者,引越格安,単身引越

引越しなら「ファミリー引越センター」にお任せ引越に関することなら全てファミリー引越センターにお任せください。きめ細かいサービスとまごごろで対応いたします。確かな技術が支える安心の作業。作業員の姿勢が違います!引越見積,引越業者,引越格安,単身引越

9/16/2008 2:21 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

国内格安航空券・国内ツアー格安航空券・国内格安ツアーのことなら、エーストラベルインターナショナル格安航空券,国内格安航空券,国内航空券,国内ツアー">国内格安航空券サイト。東京(羽田)を中心に格安航空券を販売!国内格安航空券専門のスタッフが貴方のプランをご提案致します。国内格安航空券・国内ツアー格安航空券・国内格安ツアーのことなら、エーストラベルインターナショナル格安航空券,国内格安航空券,国内航空券,国内ツアー">国内格安航空券サイト。東京(羽田)を中心に格安航空券を販売!国内格安航空券専門のスタッフが貴方のプランをご提案致します。

9/16/2008 2:22 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

FX外国為替取引はじめるなら、新東京シティ証券の『為替マーケット』。最新FX情報を手に入れてリスクの少ないFX取引!仮想トレードでの外国為替無料体験も。FX外国為替,為替,FX取引,外国為替証拠金取引,外為FX外国為替取引はじめるなら、新東京シティ証券の『為替マーケット』。最新FX情報を手に入れてリスクの少ないFX取引!仮想トレードでの外国為替無料体験も。FX外国為替,為替,FX取引,外国為替証拠金取引,外為

9/16/2008 2:23 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

バストアップ、豊胸手術なら安心と信頼の池田ゆう子クリニックへ。豊胸、バストアップで高い実績を持っております。
腹部など、自己体内から抽出した皮下脂肪を乳房に移植する。この方法だと豊胸バッグがレントゲンに映らない為、近年注目されつつある。
但し大量の脂肪注入は定着せずに石灰化壊死を生じ、硬結化、乳癌と誤診されるなどの問題を生じる。訴訟も多いために、豊胸移植手技法、移植量に関しては議論されるところとなっている。バストアップ、豊胸手術なら安心と信頼の池田ゆう子クリニックへ。豊胸、バストアップで高い実績を持っております。
腹部など、自己体内から抽出した皮下脂肪を乳房に移植する。この方法だと豊胸バッグがレントゲンに映らない為、近年注目されつつある。
但し大量の脂肪注入は定着せずに石灰化壊死を生じ、硬結化、乳癌と誤診されるなどの問題を生じる。訴訟も多いために、豊胸移植手技法、移植量に関しては議論されるところとなっている。

9/16/2008 2:24 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

出会い系サイトの被害と対策出会い系サイトの被害や手口・トラブル対処法を紹介。良い出会い系サイトの見分け方や、出会い系サイト利用上の注意点など。出会い系サイトの被害と対策出会い系サイトの被害や手口・トラブル対処法を紹介。良い出会い系サイトの見分け方や、出会い系サイト利用上の注意点など。

9/16/2008 2:25 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

復縁屋情報サービス - 復縁屋・レディス秘密探偵社復縁で元恋人や元夫婦の関係を取り戻します。レディス秘密探偵社の復縁
は、あなたの心の願いをかなえます!復縁屋・レディス秘密探偵社におまかせください。復縁工作,探偵,探偵社,レディス秘密探偵社
復縁屋情報サービス - 復縁屋・レディス秘密探偵社復縁で元恋人や元夫婦の関係を取り戻します。レディス秘密探偵社の復縁
は、あなたの心の願いをかなえます!復縁屋・レディス秘密探偵社におまかせください。復縁工作,探偵,探偵社,レディス秘密探偵社

9/16/2008 2:26 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

インプラントセンター・八王子/きぬた歯科インプラントセンター・八王子は、インプラント治療に特化した万全の治療環境を備え、なおかつインプラント
経験豊富な歯科医師が揃った、国内屈指の実績と成功を誇る歯科医院です。インプラント虫歯,入れ歯,歯科医師,診断
インプラントセンター・八王子/きぬた歯科インプラントセンター・八王子は、インプラント治療に特化した万全の治療環境を備え、なおかつインプラント
経験豊富な歯科医師が揃った、国内屈指の実績と成功を誇る歯科医院です。インプラント虫歯,入れ歯,歯科医師,診断

9/16/2008 2:27 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

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利用料完全無料の出会い系
サイト。男性も女性も出会いたい人はセンターに決まり。安全対策も万全。出会い系サイトトラブル対処法! 大人なら引っかかりたくない出会い系サイトのトラブル対処法を紹介します。大人の出会い系サイト。出会い系サイトのトラブル対処法い希望者が集まるサイト。エッチなユーザー多数なので気軽な出会いを求めている人にオススメ。

9/16/2008 2:28 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

外国為替取引はじめるなら、新東京シティ証券の『為替マーケット』。最新FX情報を手に入れてリスクの少ないFX取引!仮想トレードでの外国為替無料体験も。FX,外国為替FX取引,外国為替証拠金取引,外為外国為替取引)はじめるなら、為替マーケット。の新東京シティ証券外国為替取引はじめるなら、新東京シティ証券の『為替マーケット』。最新FX情報を手に入れてリスクの少ないFX取引!仮想トレードでの外国為替無料体験も。FX,外国為替FX取引,外国為替証拠金取引,外為外国為替取引)はじめるなら、為替マーケット。の新東京シティ証券

9/16/2008 2:28 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

FX,外国為替, 外為FX・外国為替(外為)取引システムを、安心・安全・お気軽にご利用ください。FX商品情報も充実、株式会社エムジェイの公式サイト。FX,外国為替, 外為FX・外国為替(外為)取引システムを、安心・安全・お気軽にご利用ください。FX商品情報も充実、株式会社エムジェイの公式サイト。

9/16/2008 2:30 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

品川デリヘル高級デリヘル, 品川デリヘル品川の品川デリヘル店「品川デリヘル東京」では高級感ある極上なひとときをご提供します。品川デリヘル高級デリヘル, 品川デリヘル品川の品川デリヘル店「品川デリヘル東京」では高級感ある極上なひとときをご提供します。

9/16/2008 2:30 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

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9/16/2008 2:31 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

吉原 ソープ今までの吉原にはまったくない、新しい吉原 ソープのお店です。お客様に提供するのは、究極の癒しとリラクゼーション吉原 ソープです。今まで吉原 ソープに縁の無かったお客様のニーズにお応えします。吉原 ソープ今までの吉原にはまったくない、新しい吉原 ソープのお店です。お客様に提供するのは、究極の癒しとリラクゼーション吉原 ソープです。今まで吉原 ソープに縁の無かったお客様のニーズにお応えします。

9/16/2008 2:32 AM  
Blogger whymoto said...

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9/16/2008 2:34 AM  
Blogger moto said...

日本治験推進機構のサイトでは治験ボランティア会員を募集しています.また、治験参加に興味のあるみなさまに最新の治験

9/16/2008 11:55 PM  

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