Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hard Wear

One of the bad things about being a computer hack is the friends and family network. You may not understand this but I never get a break from figuring out why computer stuff breaks. I’ve stopped telling people what I do for a living. I’ve got my hands full with my immediate family.

Eric's computer can't turn on very well. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. Ruth's machine just stopped turning on altogether. And of course, they want me to figure it out. The really ugly part comes when I give them the bad news: "It ain't happening. Don't expect this computer will be resurrected. Few miracles happen these days."

They are all surprised that hardware fails, gets old, stops working, or crashes. I try to tell them to back up often. I try to tell them to update their virus programs. I try to tell them not to visit every website their friends send them. But they don't always listen.

Three months ago Eric came to me crestfallen. His machine wouldn't come up at all. He'd been having this problem for some time. I was able to get it back up. After the boot up was successful I suggested he Google the problem, determine the failing part, and replace it. But he’s a victim of the-dead-body-in-the-living-room syndrome. At first it's alarming. Then you kind of get used to it. And finally you just step over the corpse, look down and say: "Hummm, he doesn't look well this evening." People get used to working around issues. Once the computer was up and running he forgot about it’s booting issues. He never shuts it off so it shouldn’t be an issue, right?

So Eric’s machine is down. He can’t get it started. The corpse is on his desk, opened and exposed.

And then there is Ruth’s machine. It’s been dead since the move. Soon after our move of five months ago she bought a new one but it's still in the sealed box. She's afraid to set it up. Afraid something will go wrong. So there it sits. Funny thing is the label on the outside of the box says: “Must return within 15 days if any defects are found.” I think THAT date is past. But then, how would you know if there are defects if you haven’t opened it?

I think that people with errant computers should have intervention sessions. You know, that's when the family gathers around the member and his or her computer and says: "Your computer has a problem, and you need to get it fixed."

So now neither has a machine that can be used during the day. They've now asked me to leave my notebook home each day so that they can use the Internet while I'm at work. Some people are just not responsible computer users I guess.

Computer hardware is wearing hard on me. I just want to do software.

I think a traveling computer repairman could make some good money.

I used to work in a fire hydrant factory but you couldn't park anywhere near the place. -Steven Wright