As a programmer, what can you do to explain to others you are not a hardware person?
I've given up trying, metaphors with mechanics etc get lost on people, because they can't remember if you're the guy driving the car, or fixing the engine, and they don't know if their computer problem is with "the driver" or "the engine", so they end up asking anyway sigh
When someone says ?I?m having a problem with my Pc?, I immediately either wash my hands of it, or I go over and sort it out. Immediately is the key word in there.
I?ve learned the hard way, over many years.
Non technical friend / acquantance says "I'm having a problem with x . . . "
Me : "Gee, don't know nuthin about that, I do insert-jargon-here and thats completely different, best of luck with it". (for insert-jargon-here I could say to most of my friends ?I wyrdle herdules round grindles?, rather than ?I write code?, and they?d be as wise)
Close friend mentions in passing "I'm having a problem with x . . . ", at the earliest possible moment I call over (regardless of whether or not it suits them) and keep them up until the problem is sorted (till 4am if necessary, if I'm up re-installing windows or office, that guy is up too).
This tactless behaviour serves to negate several potential problems.
- People learn not to bother you with
trivial stuff, or they'll be up till
- People learn not to bother with the
?I'll pay you with food approach?.
i.e ?Hey I'll cook and you call over
and fix it?. It means they're doing
you a favour and/or they?re paying you for your trouble, when
it's you fixing their feckin PC. How
much do these people think I make?
Do they think I regularly go hungry
for the want of friends with computer
problems? Don't get me wrong, I'm all
for a free meal, but expecting me to
fix their stuff is behaviour I don't
- It gets rid of the guilt caused by
deferring these things and putting
them on the long finger
e.g. Guilt from deferring a friends pc problem
Friend : ?Gee, call over some night
for dinner, my computer is running
Me : Sure, some night soon
(Three months pass)
Friend : ?Gee, remember you said you?d
call over? My Pc starts grinding out
smoke now when I run Word, I can?t
imagine that?s a good sign?
Me : It sure isn?t, I?ll call over
some night soon
(Another three months pass)
Friend : Dude, my computer died and I
lost the whole Family Tree thing I was
doing for my poor dying Mother, and
the contact details for her long lost
twin that she never met, but hey, it?s
OK, on her death bed she said ?It?s
Ok, don?t blame Binary Worrier, he
probably had much more important
things to do?
Me : Boy do I feel guilty now.
I don't like feeling guilty.
Either of my sisters mentions in passing . . .
I call to their house, take the kit home and fix it, or bring it to a computer doctor if I can't do it. Family comes first.
I can do the basic things with PC's (adding wireless network cards, adding ram, recovering data from old hard drives). I'll give anything a go unless I think I'm in danger of doing harm, then I tell them to bring it to a computer doctor (which I've found they almost never do unless I do it for them, which I'll only do for family)