Wednesday, January 05, 2011
I know that.
But still, there are times that I either have to vent or vaporize.
So just a short sharing of a tale to slow the boiling pot to a simmer.
While I fill my unpaid role as founding director of The HeliOS Project, I also need to tend to the business of making a living. I do so by accepting short-term contracts with the likes of AMD, Motorola and a to-be-un-named vendor at Fort Hood Texas.
It pays the bills but there aren't always contracts available so I fix people's computers for them.
Windows computers mostly.
So when a customer called and asked me if I could fix her laptop computer, of course I said yes.
Let's call her Beth.
Beth was getting a Blue Screen of Death upon boot. It used to be only every once and a while but now it was every time she tried to boot her computer. She dropped it off and I told her I would call her when the problem was diagnosed.
It was pretty easy. An attempt to boot a live CD proved out the Nvidia chip on her motherboard had tanked. This is a common problem with the HP 6000 series laptops.
I called her up and told her that the machine would be more expensive to fix than to replace. She groaned and then asked me if I could provide her a decent desktop unit.
I have a couple lying around...I said yes.
I put her together a decent Dell Dimension 4700 with a 3 gig hyperthread CPU, 3 gigs of RAM and a 160 gig hard drive. I installed Linux on it with a VirtualBox set up with her Windows XP SP3 install disk. When she came by to pick it up, I spent 30 minutes showing her around her new system, how to access Windows and how to install new software in Synaptic.
I pulled her hard drive, recovered her files and made sure there was nothing corrupted on the HD.
She was happy and I made a few bucks.
Let's revisit the "she was happy" part.
She hadn't been gone 2 hours when I got the call.
"This computer won't connect to the Internet."
"OK." I said. "Is it plugged into the router."
"No, it doesn't need to be."
Long silence on my end.
"Uh, yes it does. The computer gets its connection by being plugged into the cable modem or router. There's no way it is going to work otherwise."
Here comes the tirade....
She launched into me with all 4 feet, claws extended.
"Of course it's supposed to connect. Every computer I've ever turned on in this house has connected and I didn't need to plug anything into it. Are you sure you know what you are doing?"
Facepalm. No...double facepalm.
"How many computers have you ever used in your home" I asked.
"Three" she replied. "My Ex never had to do anything to get them connected, they just worked immediately with the internet."
I groaned inwardly.
"Were they all laptops."
"Well yes, they were".
As it turned out, her "Ex" did everything for her, to include setting up wireless on her previous laptops, installing all her apps and taking care of any virus or malware problems she conjured.
When I told her that she needed to run a cat5 cable from her router to her computer, she acted like I had just handed her a scalpel and a brain surgery schedule.
She insisted that when she turned on her desktop, it should automagically find an Internet connection and connect to it.
I then tried to explain how she could get a wireless card or dongle and connect...but oh no...I was an incompetent idiot who didn't have a clue as to how a computer works or how an internet connection is acquired.
I offered to give her money back and take back the computer but she got snitty and said she would take it to a REAL computer tech at Best Buy. There were several colorful adjectives for the word idiot bestowed upon me before she hung up.
OK...fine by me. Let them deal with her.
So the phone rang yesterday afternoon and it was a young lady who wanted to know why her new Acer laptop wouldn't connect to the Internet and would I mind taking a look at it. We had fixed her mom's computer and our number had been offered her.
As we are still getting caught up with HeliOS Project installs I politely declined...and mumbled something about contacting their website. She asked me if I had any ideas as to why it wasn't working and I said yes, I might.
I told her that Acer probably forgot to put the Internet inside of it.
She warmly thanked me and hung up the phone.
I poured myself a 2 PM 4 finger dram of MacAllan and counted my blessings.
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 4:02 PM