Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Technology Freak of Nature

I have a confession to make and I think I'll just go ahead and say it and get it out of the way. I'm the last person you should ask for technical advice. Why? Because I'm a tech freak—the kind of person technology loves. And by technology, I'm talking about the hardware/software, not the people who make it.

That's right. I'm one of those odd people for whom things just work. And when there is a blip, most things right themselves fairly quickly. Only rarely do I run into hardware or software with a fatal bug/flaw that I can't coax into working well for me (I'm glaring at you, MS Word). Hell, I've even coaxed most PCs I've had the misfortune to own to do what I want them to do and I know next to nothing about the various flavors of the Windoze operating systems. (Trust me when I say this isn't bragging on my part—I couldn't tell you how to do anything on a PC that I've already done.)

I spent most of my career at Sun like this. I'd test software and have no problem with it; I'd watch my neighbor across the hall go through the exact same installation steps and the software wouldn't work at all. Who knows why?

It's the reason for the blank look that generally crosses my face when someone asks me for technical help or hardware/software recommendations. I'm never quite sure what to say. Most of the time I fall back on the generic, "You should buy what you're comfortable using. Don't let someone talk you into [hardware / software] just because they like it."

I realize that for a lot of people, technology is a struggle. It doesn't live up to the marketing hype, sometimes struggles to do what the tech specs claim, and in a lot of cases, doesn't really make your life easier. Unless you're a freak like me. I can't explain it; it's just the way I am.

The bottom line? If you're in the market for technology, be it hardware or software, don't be an impulse buyer. There are usually multiple solutions for anything you want to accomplish. Do your homework. Google is your friend. Read online reviews—from more than one site. Ask your friends for their opinions (but take their enthusiasm/hate with a grain of salt). Find a store that will let you get your hands on the hardware/play with the software before you buy.

Just don't ask me; I'm a technology freak of nature.


Genene Valleau said...

LOL, Deb! I love this post! But I don't think "freak" is the right word. Sounds like being in sync with technology is one of your gifts--so you are "gifted."

I'm so glad there are people like you who show by example how technology is supposed to work. Gives the rest of us something to aspire to!

Paty Jager said...

ROFL! Deb! So I guess you're the wrong person to ask how to erase everything off my hubby's computer so I can re-install the program disk that came with it?

I'm the complete opposite. I can sit at a computer all day long doing this and that and it NEVER works! Right now I'm battling with getting my DELL printer to work with my new Gateway computer. I've installed the disk that came with the printer, but it says the disk isn't installed. I tried locating the print driver on the internet but they don't have the model I have... I need to make copies for the class I'm teaching at Emerald City next week. My husband's computer that works with the printer is so S-l-o-w it's painful to even try and use it. My old laptop, doesn't recognize the flash drive I copied the papers onto to try and print them. See I'm the complete opposite of you! Can I rub your head or something???

Sarah Raplee said...

What you describe, Deb and Paty, is one aspect of a nebulous something an IT manager once told me really exists in the digital/virtual world. He called it PFM (Pure F-ing Magic.) He said IT people frequently encounter it in one form or another.

Maybe Paty SHOULD rub your head, Debbie! lol