Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Hell-idays

When people ask me what I do for a living, I automatically spit out a practiced phrase: "I work in the recovery and recycling of polycyclic organophosphanes." They leave me alone after that. Doctors understand. If people know that you really work with computers in some manner -- no matter how far removed from home PC maintenance it might be -- they figure you'll be happy to help them with their problem in your off time.

Funny how that knife so rarely cuts in both directions.
"OK, and while I'm fixing your malware-infected computer, you can write me a 40-page report comparing $HedgeFund with $GrowthFund."

"No problem. I'll fix your hard drive and make your computer 'unbreakable' while you bore out my car's engine, add a mad blower and custom exhaust."

"OK, while I recover the document you 'saved' to a non-existent drive, you can go kill a cow, butcher it completely and fill my freezer."

Funny how there are so few takers.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried to hide what I do from the extended family, word got out and five -- count 'em, five -- fucking laptops arrived with three families, all of which I could "easily fix" while at the same time cooking a five-course dinner for their dozen-and-a-half hungry gobs.

Trying to explain your job administering heavy iron has as much in common with their Yahoo! Messenger software as running a feedlot does with cooking in a four-star restaurant is pointless. You work in "computers". You must know.

"But it's just a simple problem."
If it's so fucking simple, fix it yourself.
"But you're the computer expert."

If Yahoo! ever ports their Messenger to AIX and you happen to buy an RS6000, then perhaps I may be able to help. The only way I can fix your Windows XP Home machine is to uninstall all that "important" shit you just can't live without, because a browser's not a browser without at least half a dozen third-party toolbars. And your spyware-filled icon buddies. And five different chat clients.

The only way I can "fix" your computer and "make it work" is to delete everything and start over, making it -- in your eyes, oh extended fambly members -- not work. And should your machine be so fucked by the hells you've visited upon it that you're willing to accept my radical idea, you'll only fill it back up with the same shit which broke it before as soon as you get home. A week later I'll get a call bitching about how I didn't really fix it, that it's now worse than it was before, and that I have some nerve calling myself a computer expert (something I've never in my life called myself).

I fucking hate family gatherings.

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Anonymous kernelman pulled out a crayon and scribbled:

I found a reasonable fix for this situation.
"Fix your computer? Sure, that's €200/hour, paid per full hour + €100 startup costs. I can find some free time somewhere next month."

This eliminates 99.99% of the self-appointed clients and if any of them remain.. hey, free new gizmo!

Of course, it doesn't reduce the whining from self entitled relatives, "friends", vague acquaintances and relatives of vague acquaintances. C'est la vie.

27 December, 2007 19:33  
Anonymous Anonymous pulled out a crayon and scribbled:

I put up with the requests of the relatives who put up with me when I was a useless screaming infant. Fair's fair. Others pay cash.

Thanks for your posts REC, it's good to read about the frustrations of someone else in the tech support world. You are not alone.


28 December, 2007 09:41  
Anonymous Anonymous pulled out a crayon and scribbled:

Amen to that... I use the "It'll cost you $RetardedHighAmount/hour" excuse to get rid of most people, plus I flat-out refuse to do family-related support ever since I made that mistake a few years ago.

These days, I try every possible thing I can think of to keep my family members OFF "teh intarwebs" since I know that's the only easy way to keep most (but not all) viruses/malware, chat clients, etc. off of their systems.

It's amazing how quickly you can fool a highly-religion bunch of relatives into staying off the net simply by claiming the Vatican has deemed it to be "evil due to an over-abundance of pornography" :-P

28 December, 2007 16:06  

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