Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm Old Therefore I Don't Have To Try To Understand It

Having parents and working with adults has led me to a realm that I find slightly entertaining, kind of annoying, almost always baffling, and at the same time utterly depressing. This realm consists of old people (if you are 15 years older than mean you are considered an old person, sorry you 37 year olds, you are old) and technology.

Everyday I deal with payroll clerks from construction companies who don't understand how to attach files to emails or can't understand Excel and things like that. Yes it's frustrating but also it's understandable because unlike me (and all 12 of you readers out there! Yes I know there are 12 because Google is creepy and can track where you all are, yes Brian I know you read my blog, it says one person reads from Bridgewater and unless Thomas is taking time away from his crops then it must be you) they didn't grow up with computers, side by side. But what I cannot take is people who refuse to notice the good in computers and those who refuse to accept any type of failure from them.

For an example of this I was thinking of using my parents, but I love them, so I thought it would be cruel, a bit unfair and if anything just down right ungrateful (see Dad I do care!). Besides it isn't my moms fault she can't turn on a computer it's society's fault. But in lieu of my parents there is this old guy who sits next to me is really a ball buster, probably one of the biggest ones I have met, but more on him personally some other time. Anyway in the context of this post he is a perfect example. He is your average cranky, life was better back in the day, type of guy. Perfect.

Well a couple days ago this guy (lets call him Bill) had an issue with his computer, it wouldn't print any attachments from Outlook. A frustrating problem because he needs to print this attachment to talk about them, because he will not read them on the screen, jot some notes down, and then talk about the document. Not possible.

Well OK, things should work like they are advertised, I can agree with that. But really does this piece of brilliance that has made the lives of many not to mention the engineers like Bill who use auto-CAD and email everyday really deserve quotes like this?

Quotes from Bill

"This machine is a piece of shit!"

"I told him he can throw this piece of shit out the window!"

" the ocean"

" the dumpster"

Now he was telling (more like yelling) this to anyone who would listen to him. Really pissing me off because I sit right next to him in the office and he has a habit of shouting when he gets all worked up and the profanity starts to bother me (I know, weird, because I swear just as well as anyone). He finally called up the IT guy and bitched to him for 10 minutes about how his computer sucks and how he wants a new one that will print attachments. Good I hope he gets a faster machine for his emailing, because no one in my department could use a fast machine with two screens each to process spread sheets and transcribe pdf's into excel to make our work go faster, no no no Bill needs a fast machine for his email. God knows he deserves it.

At this point I had decided I was going to throw him in the ocean if he didn't shut his mouth soon. Because I knew what was probably wrong with his computer, for the past week our Internet and network had been lagging real bad, Gtalk kept timing out on me and simple pages just wouldn't load. So that probably meant that his documents, if they were large enough were probably lagging getting to the printer, or lagging downloading, or lagging somewhere else. Everything has been slow so it make sense that when in the same time frame he has the first computer error he has ever had (he says he has never had a problem in ten years) comes on the same day our network is crawling then there is probably a correlation. Well you know what, I was right.

Finally one of the other engineers takes pity on poor Bill (real pity too, you can hear it in her voice) and comes over to help. After some deliberation and more profanities from Bill they realize what the problem is, Bill isn't waiting for the attachment to load before he hits print, resulting in errors and extra copies when it finally does print. He looks stupid as a result, and he knows it.

He didn't take the time to understand the problem, he wants instant satisfaction, it should always work! But nothing is like that, not cars, not people, not institutions, not computers they all have issues because there are far too many factors involved for every to be perfect. And most of the time the problem is the human factor involved, in this case it was a Grumpy Old Man.

Oh and I have started making it a habit of shutting his computer off when he is not looking.

Oh and that creepy google thing?

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