On occasion I am asked for advice regarding a failing or misbehaving computer. This is often times a very frustrating endeavor because communicating the behavior of a computer without a bit of training is difficult for most people. “Seeing the forest” is a natural state of thought for most people. However, when one is diagnosing a compute issue it is absolutely necessary to view “the trees”. What I mean is, a person may say that their computer is “frozen” but unfortunately that means something different to each person who says it. Therefore, it is necessary to gently coax more detailed information from the individual who is seeking help. That can be an absolutely agonizing process.
Earlier this evening I had a totally different experience with a friend of the family who came over and asked some computer questions. Without going into too much detail, he was having problems with the hard drive on a laptop. Both of his adult children had attempted to fix the issue but to no avail. He described the problem to me pretty well except that he didn’t quite understand the information that I needed regarding the software and firmware on the system. Anyway, due to ongoing frustrations in talking to non techies I just randomly said to him: “here, let me illustrate the problem and a possible fix”. I went back to my room and got a couple of pieces of hardware and a hard drive and brought them back up to the living room. I am not sure what inspired me to do this because I have tried this once before only to be met with glazed eyes. The man took one look at the hardware in my hands and he did exactly what I would have done only a bit more aggressively. lol. He just started grabbing the equipment out of my hands like he was going to eat it. I was absolutely stunned. My face lit up because he started looking at the pinouts and ports which he actually knew nothing about but then he started actually telling me the pinouts on the “possibly broken” hard drive”. I just watched him in a state of happy amazement. I had one piece of hardware in particular that is nearly impossible to explain to a non techie. It is expensive and quazi complex. I thought that he was going to tear that thing apart. It was funny because the whole time he was manhandling my stuff I was resisting the urge to grab it back…it was like two people who were almost fighting over who got to touch something. Turns out, he used to build air conditioners.
The end. :)