Tech stuff: A rather humorous and poignant post on The Register about being the local computer geek who fixes everyone’s computers.

As I like to remind noobs, our sparkly IT-enhanced world was largely created and is still run by people in their late fifties and early sixties, and the giants on whose shoulders they stood are now little old geezers who wear their trousers too high.

– Alastair Dabbs, “I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working”, The Register, publish date March 29 2013 (site last accessed April 6 2013)

Be careful who you’re around if you follow that link, the post does contain some profanity.

Even so, it’s a humorous and poignant story about being someone who gets called on by all the neighbors to set up their various pieces of technology. Modems, printers, computers, laptops . . . Dabbs has been asked about all of them.

This part made me laugh:

one of the older partygoers is about to tell me that some new-fangled technology is too much for him to cope with now that he has reached the age of a hundred and ninety-eight or something. “In fact… it’s still in the box!” he cries, in the mistaken belief that this is funny. I humour him by laughing as if I hadn’t heard the line before.

Naturally, I suggest that he would have more success if he takes the iPad out of its box, reads the instructions and – what the hell, let’s throw caution to the wind – switches the [redacted] on. But it’s all useless: what he really wants is for me to do it for him. So I feign interest and offer to set up his iPad at some point in the near future, at which he feigns surprise and accepts with feigned gratitude.

I’m not there . . . yet. I’m not yet the person who sets up all the neighbors computers . . . I just set up some of my family’s computers occasionally, and definitely set up the MP3 players for my Mom and Dad. And decide what type of gadget to use as an MP3 player, and what app, and what program to burn some of our huge stack of books-on-CD onto MP3s that the MP3 players I’ve picked out can actually play.

And I’m not . . . yet . . . the person who leaves a gift from the younger relatives in its box because I don’t want to both learning yet another new piece of gadgetry. I can see myself reaching that level one day, and I can also see myself staying as I am, not a super-early adopter, but someone who often checks out new things after the first wave of early adopters has had a few years to work out the bugs and establish yes, this is an actual useful piece of hardware or software.

But it is always nice to help those who would struggle mightily with something that easy for you (one of the reasons I’m currently devoting about one day a week to helping a young friend work his way through an online college course in introductory philosophy), and sometimes the gratitude of others has unexpected benefits. 🙂

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