Sunday, November 02, 2008

I Don't Do That Anymore

Tech support.

While I was at the USPS, I discovered computers. Of course, I was a complete neophyte at first. The Kak worm caught me. Hey, the pc I bought had an antivirus program on it - so what if it needed renewing? After paying the substantial bill to get it back, I was determined to learn enough to keep it running on my own. This branched out into networking, "rolling my own," rescuing junk laptops on eBay, and helping friends with their pc problems. Windows pc problems. I tried Linux, and never got around to buying an old Apple box for play.

After I quit the Post Office, I actually had a job with a local car dealership as their "Internet Sales Division Department Head." Mostly I cleaned the junk off the salesmen's pcs and laptops. I kept their network going (buying parts at Wallyworld), and all the family member's stuff at home running. They eventually "laid me off" because I was only selling two or three cars a month. Which is what they sold after putting their hot dog salesman on it after I was let go. Since they never called me back in to resume my job, I think it is fair to say I was canned. The real reason I was let go was my excessive use of sick leave - I certainly abused the system, so as far as that goes, I can hardly blame them. But, that is all blog fodder for another day.

I spent a lot of time doing pro bono 'puter work. I felt since I was just learning, I couldn't charge for it. In retrospect, that was wrong, because I could and did fix stuff some of the "pros" were unable or unwilling to repair. Plus, a lot of it was for friends.

At any rate, when I climbed back into a truck, I knew I didn't have the time or the inclination to fix pcs anymore. When people called me, I told them I just didn't do it anymore. Most wanted to pay me, but I was just burned out. I very rarely and quite reluctantly help someone with their pc problems today.

When I was in the pc building mode, I put one together for a Significant Person Who I Love Very Much and Could Not Survive Without Because This Person Has Saved My Ass Many Times And I Appreciate It More Than They Will Know - hereby refereed to as SP, for Significant Person. At the time, I could afford to give SP the pc, but SP had to buy the monitor. This pc is about five years old now.

So, I get a call the other night. It turns out the pc crapped out on SP, who took it to a guru. Said guru put a new power supply in, and SP couldn't get it to boot up.

Am I missing something here?

What do you mean?

I'm just wondering if I'm missing a cord or something.

You hooked everything up? You do have it plugged into the wall, don't you?

Oh, yes, it's all hooked up.

There is a cord from the pc to the wall socked? Male to go into the wall, female three prong to go into the pc?

Oh yes. I was just wondering if it needed an extra one, or something.

This is where I screwed up. I didn't have my Tech Support Hat on. What SP meant was: I plugged everything I could find in as best I could remember. There may be a cord or three missing or not plugged in correctly, but I don't want you to think I'm stupid, so I'm not telling you the whole story now. At least not the whole story you think you are getting when you ask.

Ok, so you've got it all plugged in to the wall, and what shows up on the monitor?


Ok, then it's fried. Time to get a new one.

What? I'm sitting here trying to figure out how I'm going to box this up to send to you, because you are going to fix it.

Oookay. I sense the presence of the Righteous Consumer/Relative/Friend Who Is Highly Pissed At You/Me. I've seen this person before, aimed at hapless waiters or clerks. This person, when aimed at me, reduces me to a quivering mass of helpless appeasement. I'll say anything to cool the steely gaze of Highly Pissed Righteous Consumer.

However, SP has tripped the PCs Are Disposable Junk When They Quit and They Are Not Worth Working On For Many Reasons trigger in me.

With what? Used parts from eBay?

Huh? You mean you're not gonna fix it?

SP, the motherboard is probably what is burned out now. They don't make it anymore. They don't make the processor anymore. It won't fit the new boards out there. The memory you have in there - they don't make anymore and it won't fit in the new boards. The video card - they don't make anymore nor will it fit in a new board. The hard drive you have? The new ones connect differently. About the only thing I could salvage from your computer would be the floppy drive, the CD burner, and the case. They don't put floppy drives in computers anymore. Your CD burner won't play DVDs or burn them, so it's obsolete, too (I forgot about the modem and network connector - they might work in a new board, if they weren't integral to the motherboard. I have forgotten what all that mb has installed).

So, we get to talking a bit less heatedly, and I look up new pcs on without monitors to give SP an idea what it will cost to replace the pc. As the conversation progresses, SP says when she took the pc in to the guru, the power cord was wrapped around the unit. It was not with the unit when SP picked it up.

You mean you don't have a power cord running from the pc to the wall power socket?

No, that's what I meant by needing an extra one.

That's not exactly an extra cord. You'll have to get yours back from the guru or go to Radio Shack and get a power cord for a pc.

Yep, I realize that computers are Magic Elf Boxes (how LawDog refers to them) to a lot of people. They are mysterious in their ways. However, they are electrical appliances that - guess what - need electricity of some sort to run. Perhaps having the printer plugged into the wall covers that - I mean, after all, it is hooked up to the wall and the 'puter. It might siphon off power that way. Yeah, in the same way that if you are talking on a pay phone in your car at a gas station, your tank will eventually fill up with gas if you've dialed the right number. You can thank me later for that info. Get back to me on how well that works for you.

Some people shouldn't be let out of the house without a keeper. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm not one of those people.

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