View Full Version : The computer guy, pain or gain?

November 17th, 2010, 06:10 AM
I know that a lot of people who actually spend time on these forums are not the unexperienced computer user type, and I am sure that most of you, often find yourselves in situations where computer illiterates (family; boss; neighbors; hot girl only wanting some help; the annoying old lady in the office who complains about windows 7 and outlook 2010, saying that it's all bad and that windows 2000 and outlook 2000 are much better; or your grandmother who just discovered facebook, skype and remote desktop connection support) expect you to just know everything related to technology(not just computers), the second they ask you.

Please take a few moment and read this article I found:

http://tinyurl.com/35dhqs/It's a quite funny article, not written recently(so admin, I am not making spammy threads here, please don't ban me, yet, I want to get cups of coffee instead of beans next to my name) which I think applies to many if not all IT people(programmers, desktop support, consultants etc etc).

Please read the article and write your opinion, and if possible together with a funny story, where it happened to you, to be asked to fix a computer(washing machine/oven/dishwasher with buttons and digital display) in the most unusual way/place/situation.

Happy reading!

Oh, and if someone knows a lot about routing, I have a question to ask you, please see my first thread(with Ebox and wifi access point) :D

November 17th, 2010, 07:08 AM
nice article

I want to get cups of coffee instead of beans next to my name

only posting in the support forums will effect your post count (i think)

November 17th, 2010, 07:13 AM
Oh, I am not posting here to just make a post count. If I wanted to do that, I wouldn't hide the number of posts I made in the first place and also not say anything about it.

But, well noted.

November 17th, 2010, 08:59 AM
One persons experience is not a indicator of anything, it is their perception of it at the least. We can take some responsibility in our lives to keep bothersome interactions under control.

Even the people I know that know I can fix their setups if needed I have trained well or setup so that they are quite safe, never get a call once setup correctly.

I'm not a professional in this field just a enthusiast, so my experience is limited in a multitude of ways.

November 17th, 2010, 04:06 PM
I liked this in the comments

"Nowadays I just pretend that I don’t know anything about Windows."

It applies to me, except I really don`t know anything about windows. So I`m just the linux guy and only 2 people ever ask me for help.

November 17th, 2010, 04:40 PM
This is so true. I get calls probably 3-4 times a month from people, often friends who I haven't talked to in years, just for computer help. Most of the time it's related to Windows Vista or 7 which I know nothing about.

What's crazy is I've started getting calls from some lady who used to work at the same place I worked 10 years ago asking me to help her install a router in her house. I don't even remember this lady nor do I know how she got my work number, but she's called like twice in the last week asking for computer support.

Luckily I have a friend who enjoys doing side jobs like this, so I just pass everything his way. For me other than very close friends or my parents my rule is I don't do computer support.

November 17th, 2010, 04:41 PM
I work with computers as a full-time job in a medium sized company. Technically I'm the programmer but sometimes I need to fix problems with computers because our IT support is not in-house.

I don't mind fixing things for people outside of work because sometimes I learn things that might be useful in work...

Eg. I could encounter a virus on my aunts computer, learn how to fix it and then if it ever becomes an issue in work I will already know how to do it and will be able to fix it quicker than if it was the first time I had encountered that problem.

I do a Wubi install on every Windows computer I work on.

Spice Weasel
November 17th, 2010, 05:41 PM
"My computer has a virus!"

"Are you using Windows?"

"I... think so."

"Sorry. I only work with UNIX."

Works every time... Except when your Aunt calls you because she's got a "virus" on her GNU/Linux computer. After some digging, you realize she's deleted a GNOME panel. (Personal experience.)

November 17th, 2010, 06:51 PM
The antidote to your frustration: http://bofh.ntk.net/

November 17th, 2010, 07:51 PM
The antidote to your frustration: http://bofh.ntk.net/


@samalex welcome to my world!

I even switched countries, and still get calls from the previous country!

November 17th, 2010, 08:25 PM

You need a course in management/assertiveness.

In one form or another, I've encountered all of your questions from various sources and not necessarily real newbies to the systems that they had questions about. In fact, a little old lady who was taking computer courses at the local university, because there was no tuition for senior citizens, coyly got me to do her computer homework by asking seemingly naive questions. And she wasn't satisfied with my help with html.Then it was unix. Then she "had questions about C++". But by that time, I caught on to the "game", and simply said I didn't do C++.

I've developed some real good professional responses to the questions you list. I am a newbie to Linux but not to Unix and I've reasonable knowledge of Windows as well as some older operating systems, e.g., VMS & RSTS.

Here are some responses you might consider:

1." I'd love to help you but it would be unethical for me to do so . . . If your system had a hardware crash while I was helping you, I could be held legally liable for criminal damage to your property by trespassing. There would be nothing to prove that you asked me to help you."

2. With in-house staff (company employees) seeking help, listen sympathetically, explain that you can certainly help them with the problem, and then remember always to ask " . . . BTW, is there a billing vehicle in place between our departments." A variant on this is: "Let me check with my manager to see how we can do this. . ." Your manager will certainly know.

On the other hand you can point people to a web address like msn.com or ubuntu where they can find the answers to their questions.

There are tons of responses like this. Perhaps I can take your questions and list all the "professional" responses appropriate for each question. (time permitting)

Good point to raise though. Since helping people too much is really "working for free".


November 17th, 2010, 08:30 PM
In my experience, if you mention that you'll "bill them" they'll either pay you for help, or bugger off.

I don't do work for free anymore.

November 17th, 2010, 08:44 PM
In my experience, if you mention that you'll "bill them" they'll either pay you for help, or bugger off.

I don't do work for free anymore.

True words were never spoken. If people are willing to pay then great if not then they can bother someone else.

Schrute Farms
November 17th, 2010, 09:53 PM
Thankfully, all of my friends who always needed help have finally learned to fix their own stuff.
I have one cousin who will call for help every now and again. Because she doesn't call that often, I don't mind helping her out.
My sister in law just got her first computer in over 20 years, and she's running Ubuntu. I told her if she ever needed help, that I could help. So far, she's been good.

November 17th, 2010, 10:04 PM
True words were never spoken. If people are willing to pay then great if not then they can bother someone else.
see, my deal with them is a little different. I rather emphatically state before taking possession of a PC that:
1) this is not a business, this is me being nice and doing you a favor.
2) i will charge you only a pittance; probably less than you pay just for diagnosis at the local computer store. stupid stuiff is pro bono (the first time...). Pay me as you can, I have a real job so I'm not doing this for money.
3) I do the work on my time frame. if I take to long for you, I will return your property immediately, but the PC may or may not be function at time of return if you don;t wait for me to finish. I am a busy guy, who takes a lot of work home, and favors are lower in the priority list.
4) I will take no liability. if my house gets robbed or burned down, I will be crying into my beer over MY hardware, not yours.
5) if the Pc is over 5 years old, I'll help you pick out a new one.
6) there is no rule 6
7) no house calls. drop it off to me on friday, and i'll try to have it done by Monday evening, but heed #3.