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Computers, Bricks, and Bullshit

For this post, I have decided to create a new category. I am going to call this category "Rants 'n Raves". This post will definitely be under the Rant column.

One of my pet peeves is that nowadays everybody is a computer expert. They toss buzzwords and acronyms around like a NASA scientist on speed. The problem is that 9 times out of 10, they haven't a damn clue what they're talking about; they only think that they do. To somebody with a genuine depth of knowledge garnered from nearly 30 years of experience, they sound like idiots. I can live with that, and usually enjoy the comic relief. The thing that pushes me over the edge though, is when the arrogance factor kicks in, and you have to withstand a barrage of reasons as to why they know everything there could possibly be to know about the subject, and you, of course, know nothing.

Did you every ask somebody the question, "What's a brick made of?" and get the response, "Well, it's brick!".

Allrightee then! So, I suppose I missed the lecture in chemistry that described brick as an element on the Periodic Table right after Plutonium.

Same deal with computers. I need a new Periodic Table of The Elements.

Well anyway, recently my business partner purchased a new laptop computer for company accounting use. The machine worked fine for several months before developing symptoms of overheating. Periodically during extended use, the machine would slow to a crawl and often freeze completely, forcing a reboot. As time went on, the problem became more severe. She found that by raising the thing off of the desktop, so as to increase airflow, she could usually minimize the problem. Finally, she noticed that there was no longer any air blowing out of the unit and realized that the internal fan had stopped functioning altogether.

Our first inclination was to simply open it up and replace the fan ourselves. After all, we do this sort of work all of the time and have a very capable service team. And besides, between the two of us we have about 50 years combined experience with computer electronics along with several college degrees, including one in Electrical Engineering, and two Ham Radio licenses. And for God's sake, it's just a fan. But since the laptop was still under warranty and neither of us really had the time or ambition to open another Pandora's box, we elected to return it to it's place of purchase, a local MicroSomething store, to have the necessary work completed.

After waiting over a month to get the machine back, we immediately discovered that the entire hard drive had been reformatted. Now, understand that we had a good backup of all of the critical data, so that wasn't the issue. It was simply the inconvenience of having to put everything back the way we had it. But what sent my bullshit-o-meter to the red line was when we asked, "Why did you reformat the hard drive in order to change the fan?"

Ok, here comes the barrage of expert reasons, including:

"It's standard procedure to make sure we fixed the problem." Huh?

And, "Something in the Windows stuff might have been slowing the fan down." Loose, or excess bits, I presume.

But wait it gets better. When we finally gave up in the argument for anti-stupidity software, we discovered that we could no longer set up some of the previously configured Windows features. Lo and behold, they had installed Windows XP Home edition; we started with XP Pro. It even says so on the MS Certificate sticker affixed to the machine.

Again to the customer support line. The reasons given: "That's what most people use." And, "It's what we always do." And my personal favorite, "How do you know that you had the Pro edition?"

"Where's the license for the Home Edition that you installed?", we asked.

"You must have it.", was the response.

So, we asked what would happen now, when we attempted to use our restore CD's to overwrite the Home Edition with XP Pro?

The response?

"Well, just put your license stuff back into Windows and it should all work out fine."

It's like talking to a brick.

Oh yea, the reason for the six weeks in service? They couldn't find the problem, and had to send it out for service. It came back with a new fan.

Tomorrow I'm buying a new Periodic Table Of The Elements. I need to see if Computer comes before, or after, Brick. I already know the atomic weight of bullshit.

Permalink 09/02/08 02:29:51 am, by Bill Rosser Email , 764 words, Categories: Rant 'n Raves ,