Have you ever had to provide technical support to anyone? Namely someone in their 40s or 50s? Well, if you have, you have probably noticed they had what I like to refer to as ‘Technophobia’. The root word of that is ‘tech’, which comes from the Latin word ‘teach’, which means to show someone how to do something. The ‘phobia’ part comes from the ancient Korean word ‘phear’ which means you’re afraid of something. So basically they’re afraid to teach something. Wait. I messed that up. You know what? Forget it.
What I’m saying is that most 40- and 50-year-olds are “afraid” of “techmology”. And I don’t mean they think the computer is going to wake up at night, start saying “PAK CHOOIE” and push grandma down the stairs. What they’re afraid of is that they will mess something up if they even dare click the Tools menu with the mouse button. And what this results in is technical support calls, wherein I am called upon to perform a rudimentary service on a machine to which I have no physical access. Usually when I’m sitting on a beach with a can of Corona in my hand and several pretty ladies dancing in their bikinis (or out of them) for me. Or when I’m on the back patio with a can of Bart’s Backyard Brew in my hand with my wife and all her hot friends dancing for me in their bikinis.
And this is all well and good. But the thing about having no physical access to the machine is that I have to do it blindly, over the “telephone”. Remember those devices? Chances are, you have some sort of electronic device used for texting, Facebook updating and tweeting, that takes terrible pictures, plays music and runs Google maps for you. Well that device also has a function called a “phone” or a “telephone” built right into it. The word ‘phone’ comes from the La– Forget it.
So I’ll be sitting in my backyard enjoying One that is Cold, and my phone will ring. I will answer. It will be the Captain telling me he can’t print. Or his young trophy wife cannot connect to their wireless network. Which is pretty bad ass, let me tell you. I designed their network from the ground up! Let me tell you about it! Okay, they have – hang on, I’m being told to stick to the point by our sponsors. Okay, I’ll write another column about that some other day.
So basically, what I’m saying is that I’ll have to walk the Captain through connecting his wife’s laptop to the wireless network… over the phone. Sigh. The only real problem with this is the part where I tell him to logon to the wireless router and retrieve the WEP key, because I’m sorry, I don’t remember the 26-character key by heart. I’m good, but I’m not that good. I do, however, remember mine.
But the point I’m trying to make is this: why are they so afraid to try something on their own? Here’s a better example. Captain bought a wireless adapter for one of the computers in the lab, down in his basement. A little forethought would have meant having some extra ethernet cables dropped down the conduit when he built out the room. However, this did not happen, so it’s kind of tough to run cable through concrete. Alas, here we are, the easiest way to connect the computer is wirelessly. I told him what to buy, where to buy it, and what to say to the sales guy who tells him to buy the Belkin. And Captain calls me to ask how to install it.
Seriously? Okay, when you open the box (which he hadn’t done), there’s a big colorful printout that tells you exactly what to do. Step one, put in the driver disc. Step two, plug in the adapter, into your free USB port. It’s ridiculously simple, and if you just open the box, you’re halfway done. I’ve already trained my six-year-old daughter how to setup a secure wireless access point with TKIP security and how to self-code 18-character hexadecimal access hashes. So why can’t someone take something out of a box and just, I don’t know, give it a try?
He said to me, “Well I’ll just wait ’til this Sunday when you come over to have beers and watch the UFC fight. You can do it for me then.” Well, that’s fine. And understand, I’m not picking on Paul. He pays me well to be his network administrator, and I don’t mind making special trips to get him hooked up. But in this case, he would rather have waited almost a week to have connectivity (which means porn from the basement!) when he could have just given it a shot. (No pun intended.) I swear, you can’t jack anything up. (Okay, that was a good one though, right?) Why are people like that? I’m so damn impatient that I will go hock the rear end of my pickup just to get the cash to buy an iPad. Really. My wife has been driving around without a truck bed for the last month and a half, so I could have an iPad. Which I still don’t have!
As soon as I get some bad ass new network device, I absolutely must hook it up and get it going right then and there. No waiting for me. And that’s how I learned to get “good at computers” as so many people say. I experimented because I didn’t have the money to pay someone else to do it, or the patience to wait. And I always figured it out. Just like when I asked Hayley to come write for the site, I sent her an email with all the information I would need for her profile, and – since I’m impatient and couldn’t wait for her response – I built her profile with a bunch of fake information in it. Just because I wanted it done! She will be writing soon, folks. I know. Another new writer. Finally. I, too, am excited by this. It will be nice to have another breasted writer on the site.
Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest. Mainly because there hasn’t been any new content on the site all week, and I couldn’t think of anything interesting to write. But also, to beg that question: why are people so afraid to see if they can do something themselves? Like computers are some big evil robot monster lurking in the darkness of their offices after they’ve gone to bed… Wait. I just heard something say ‘PAK CHOOIE’. Be right back…