Letters from the Home Working Front Vol. 2
“Reboot? I’ll Reboot ya, pal!”
Most people are smarter than me, so maybe this isn’t a big deal, but I’ve had it with technology that decides to stop working without provocation. I can understand if I drop my laptop, or my printer gets hit by lightning, or my phone takes a dip in a bowl of soup (two of those three things have happened more than once), but why can I suddenly not get onto the VPN? Why did an app on my mobile device shut down at random? Who built these things? What were they thinking? A washing machine doesn’t stop washing unless something physically breaks or malfunctions. My car only stops running if I hit something, or something wears out, or if there was a malfunction in the computer….ah, the computer, there’s the rub.
Yes, I get it, we’re all better off because of computers. But what did the type of people who develop information technology do for a living sixty or seventy years ago? I think they wrote procedures for the Department of Motor Vehicles and built those toys where you had to move the disk around to get the little metal balls into the mouth and eyes of the clown, in other words, sadists. How else can you explain the conversations you have with the help desk?
Peter – For some reason I suddenly can’t hear anything on my laptop. Help Desk Satan – Yeah, that happens sometimes Peter – Why’s that? Help Desk Satan – Hard to say, could be lots of things. Peter – Like what? Help Desk Satan – Did you try rebooting it? Peter – Why? What does that fix? Help Desk Satan – Sometimes it works Peter – So, you don’t know what it is, but turning it off will fix it. Help desk Satan – Give it a try and call me back. Peter – But you’re the help desk, you don’t have your own phone number. I’d have to start the conversation all over again. Help Desk Satan – Your ticket number is 666, have a nice day.
And the next morning you get a survey asking what you think of the quality of service you received. Unfortunately, when you reboot, the son of a b!^@# works! That doesn't happen with the washer or the 2010 Chevy, but for some reason it works with the most intelligent things in the world. I mean how many times a week do you say something and, after a good night's sleep, wake up and realize how stupid it was? Of course if you are married you find out how stupid it was instantly, but that's another article altogether. But maybe these things are more like us than we realize.
Software and applications speed things up, but they can’t accommodate the vast array of personalities that work with them. So throwing your equipment against a wall or screaming at it isn’t going to fix anything. It’s going to make you feel better, but it isn’t going to fix anything.
One suggestion is to be a little less dependent on your technology to get basic things done. Buy some paper and a couple of pens and write down what you need to do. Learn some actual phone numbers rather than rely on a contact list. In other words pretend it’s 1957. More importantly , take a few minutes and learn how your devices work, occasionally clean up your files, turn the darn things off once in a while, and pay attention when you get a notice warning you about horrible things that will happen if you don’t do what the notice tells you to do when it tells you to do it. Pretend it's a relationship where you get the last word and get to start over after an argument with nobody pointing out the times it was your fault. Just don't let your laptop find out that you use your tablet on the weekends.