PC Mechanic

Wow, can't believe it's been 2 months since I last blogged... time simply flies when you're having fun working on customer sites. Like I said to my good friends Josh Lee (The FinServ Guy) and Jim Webber, I've become a 'One Blog Wonder'!

Anyway, over the weekend, my husband and I at an extended family gathering, once again, were bombarded with computer problem questions... the usual frustrated complaints also come with a bit of heat: "gee, you're in the computer industry why don't you guys build it properly? why do I have to download this patch and that patch, and the computer is still running so slowly?" 

Is it just us in the computing profession that cops with this? have we really not done our job right in the first place, to create a trouble free set of software running on complete trouble free hardware? that's guaranteed to run with great performance for the entire foreseeable future?

I personally hold the belief that the computing equipment deserves much more love and care than it currently gets from the typical home user. For the family car, which has a lot less number of complex engineered parts than a computer and its associated software, we are asked to take it to the car mechanic for regular service, tune up every 6 months or for every 10,000km use. As a car owner, I understand that this is the necessary and important regular tender love and care I need to give to my car, in order to expect good performance from my vehicle. Perhaps we need to educate our users of this necessary preventative approach to maintain personal computers and ensure a long and happy life of our computing equipment and its associated software.

Comments (3)
  1. Pasamio says:

    First of all, I’ll say I’m a Linux advocate, but I do try to be even handed about these things.

    Where I work we have Windows desktops, Mac graphics workstations and Linux servers. Let me say cross-authentication is fun, especially when your mailserver (Domino) decides to go and run out of space and start issueing friendly messages saying "Hash FD443DFAA3 failed" to users who have enough issues working out how to save a document in Word.

    My job is a web developer and technical services officer, I like to just say "Linux geek". I sit between the users screaming at the help desk and management trying to make its mind about whats cheaper to go with. The problem I face is that I have to make everything work in my little world (making my linux systems as compatible with the Windows users) whilst still delivering what management wants. And guess what? Things break.

    Thats where we cop the flack, because our job (well, mine atleast) is to make sure everything runs smoothly. So that John King from which ever department can access and update his portion or the website or Wendy Wells can login to a given server.

    Where you guys cop it more is that you’re running a monopoly (as stated by US Govt). Microsoft Windows has issues talking with its own systems (98 and 2003, well documented to have lovers tiffs), not to mention the swathe of virus and worm attacks. Problem (IMHO) is that you guys are given the view that you can do everything, and this is even a IT professional thing in general. Today I got asked about microwave brands by one of our security guards. What the hell do I know about microwaves? It doesn’t have anything to do with my Kerberos domain breaking half an hour earlier, but this is the problem.

    What we need is user education. In a previous life, I was a Palm developer, and from testing, I could see that reasonable people (in my case doctors) would have issues and get upset with technology. Their common sense went out the door, they thought computers were magical things. Simple fact is they’re not, we as IT professionals aren’t either. People need to know that. It isn’t a Microsoft issue, it isn’t a Mac issue, its not even a Linux issue, its an issue about education.


    P.S. I know people who work in IT support who won’t tell anyone they’re a support technician.

  2. tony roth says:

    ok the complexity of a car is much lower then the complexity of wxp, thus the level of maintenance is much easier to achieve on a car then wxp! Assuming this is true what can be done to make maintenance easier? I don’t know! I know ms is working this issue in a multidude of ways but currently your relatives are right things suck! Linux won’t/hasn’t solved this issue either so don’t feel that bad 🙂

  3. Why is it that each and every time we tech folk want to get away and just relax with family, we get bombarded with all the questions.

    Reminds me of when my bother in law graduated from Tufts dental school and everyone as partis would have him stare down their throats.


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