Readers Digest printed an article in the Sept. 2008 issue that made the cover. On the cover it reads “13 things your computer guy won’t tell you”. Well to say the least I am glad to hear that they were going to look at our industry. I was really thinking that we could start to bridge some gaps with the tech and not tech communities. But I have to tell you that I just don’t understand why the RD feels the need to bash us. Could you imagine that if the article was “13 things that Dove won’t tell you”, you know the company that ran an advertisement on their back cover! ( It could include things like expensive soap does not always clean better then the cheap stuff as reported by consumer reports, well at least not shampoo) The article appeared on page 24 so I had to take a look to see what kind of a jerk I am.
So I take a look at what we are not telling our customers and instead we are taking advantage of them.
- Reboot your system – Hmm, ok I know that this is one of the things that Microsoft tech support will tell people all the time. As a matter of fact I think its part of many jokes. Something along the lines if Bill Gates built cars you would have to restart them all the time. Are they trying to say that we would rather take a look at someone system after years of abuse instead of just having them reboot it. According to the expert that they interviewed, they claim it will fix 9 out of 10 problems. I guess the have not seen my .net problem I have been on all day. (Rebooted about 6 times)
- “don’t expect me to come running”, you know this one kinda chaps my hide. The more and more I think about this I get fired up. I can not tell you how many times a friend, family member or a customer has caused my work day to change because they had an issue. The thing that chaps me is that they print this crap. Here we are very rarely do they call and say hey thanks my system is running great. Just wanted to say thank you. But here is my real spin up… I can’t have my cell phone on in the DMV, I can’t be 5 min late to a Dr. appointment, If I call an attorney I am charged for breathing. Yet the article is not entitled why everyone else’s time is more important. Can’t we try to make a living?
- They compare us to a fictional person called Santa (sorry Santa I was good so far this year). We know what they have been up to or will find out in the long run so just come out and tell us. OK, maybe if I spent hours tracking down exactly what they did to cause an issue then they may have a point. End result is that many times the error logs just won’t tell us everything. Sometimes we can find what caused the problem, other times we can not.
- Use strong passwords. – Ok I guess no one has ever said that to a client. I am sure the fact that most web sites now even require you to use a password that is not like your name. <Sarcasm>I don’t know about you but I tell all my clients to use no password and then make sure that if they do change it to a password to write it down and put it on a sticky note on the monitor. <\Sarcasm> I just read not to long ago that many of the passwords that have been comprised are because someone calls and says hey I am with IT and I need to check your network performance. Can you give me the Log In that you have been using and let me verify the password?
- Keep your Anti Virus software up to date. Ok I am not even going to justify that with a response.
- Nothing is for free – Really, ok so how much did I charge you to read this blog? Or how much where they charged when they looked up the Grand Canyon for their kids report on the internet. So there are charges for some things. Why shouldn’t an artist who records a song get paid for his work. Yes when downloading a song you should pay for it. I understand the point that they are trying to make. But its people that market on the internet, not the computer guys fault.
- Public WiFi is public – Ok you got me on this one. I do tell everyone that I know when I set up a wireless router for them that they should secure it. However, I can tell you that I do not tell clients that if they go to a local “hot spot” that is free, that people can watch what they are doing. Really I was busy telling them to write the password on a sticky note and put it on the back of their laptop. I am going to change my policy on this one.
- “Give it a rest” – What? You mean that my servers get tired? My workstations need a vacation? Should I recommend that PC’s should receive 10 days off a year? Someone better call NORAD. They claim that you can work them to hard. Well it is true that a reboot can clear your memory, but maybe because it’s working on something important like the virus scan.
- Call you ISP first if you can not get on-line. I like that one, Not a check your cables, or check to make sure that your phone service has been cut off, but jump in line for the 4 hour tech support call.
- Cell phone for popping popcorn does not work… Damn there goes all the work I did tearing that cell phone apart this weekend. Ok it is true the issue that they were presenting, It comes down to just cause it’s on the internet does not mean it’s true. By the way I wonder if the Myth Busters can make popcorn with a cell phone, how many pieces of popcorn are we talking about?
- Sometimes we talk bad about you behind your back – Well with that being said I guess that is true in any industry, or with any skill. Let me give you an example. I was a kid a one point that did not have much money. I figured that if the dish washer could do dishes it could do my socks as well. Seamed like a good idea at the time. But my Mom, Wife and best friend all called me an idiot. The fact hear is that yes, everyone does it, your Dr. is wondering why you keep eating doughnuts and come in complaining about why you are fat (Ok that’s just me again). I bet that if anyone at RD is reading this they are going to make fun of my grammar. Go for it, by the way, I need to check your system performance what is your log on and password?
- I’m Tossing out Tech Jargon to confuse you. – Well your flux capacitor is broke and that is why your article was rude to those of us who are honest tech people. There is no way around it. I think it is something that we in the field need to do is work on how we can better explain things to clients. But just because we talk about something that you may not understand on your part does not mean that I am insecure I my part. It means that I need to spend more time with you so that I can understand where your skill level is, so I can help you. Thanks for number 12, I guess that when my Doctor was telling me all about how I am sick in words that I have no Idea what they mean must have really been a self mechanism for his insecurity.
There are good and bad people in the IT field just like every other field that is out there. So I guess it was our turn for a family loving magazine to take a poke at us. By the way Mr. Family Magazine People… There are more they just guys in this field today. We have girls to, and some pretty darn good ones at what they do. I see that you cited Geek Squad as one of your sources. Well the end result is I will keep my subscription and I will keep it where it has always been, in the bathroom right next to my Car and Driver Magazine.