Are you the "computer guy" in your circle of friends/family? If so post a story!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by chrono1081, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. chrono1081, Dec 9, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011

    chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #1
    Hi guys,

    Today I got a series of emails (all from different family/friends) that looked like this (shortened of course because some were quite lengthy):

    -"Hey, I started my own business can you make me a website and design me a logo? I know you are good with computers and photoshop." (What??? Who says that??? Not to mention there is no mention of what this business is. Oh, and I'm not a graphic designer or a web developer.)

    -"Hey, I have a video I shot on vacation but there is a plane in the way and also a boat under the waterfall. Can you use Photoshop to remove them for me?" (Um...1. You use After Effects, Mocha, Nuke, or some other software package/plugins not Photoshop and 2. No.)

    -"Quick question, my Weatherbug stopped working is there a way to fix it? Also I have some error that keeps popping up on my computer is there a way to fix it?" (Um...what error? Also I do not bring my work home with me so no, I won't fix it because I'm a scrooge. And WHO the hell told you to install Weatherbug??? Oh, and there is no such thing as a quick question. Saying that only pisses IT guys off).

    -"What home theater system should I buy? Should I get one with blue ray and HDMI?" (I know nothing about home theater but since I use a computer I must be an expert at anything electronic :rolleyes:).

    -"HEEEEEELLLLLPPPP! My computer is acting wonky can you take a look at it?" (Wonky? I'm sorry is that the only adjective you can think of that correctly describes your computer issue? Unfortunately I can't fix wonky.)

    -"Hey I know you like iPhones and such can you make me an iPhone app that is a game for my kids that has all of our faces in it? My kids like Mario and Zelda can you make something like that?" (Um..games take a VERY long time to make, not to mention if its not on the app store I can't put it on your phone unless I add you to my dev account, so no. Did I mention games, even simple ones take a LONG time to make?)

    Anyway usually I do not get this amount of requests (usually only 2 or 3 a week) but when I do I politely tell people that I do no fix computers for a living (a blatant lie) and that I only use Macs and am unfamiliar with Windows (another blatant lie since I know far more about Windows than Mac).

    Anyway those of you that know computers well know that helping friends/family is a trap to which you can never escape. Once you fix one thing any issue they have after "only happened after you touched it" and eventually all your free time is sucked up by requests for every little computer issue.

    So, for those who are the "computer guy/gal", do you have any stories to share?
     
  2. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #2
    I work in the industry and I can tell you that the person most likely to do the most irreparable damage to someone's computer, it's their "friend who knows about computers." I try not to be that guy.

    I am, however, that guy. :(
     
  3. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    I solved the whole issue by buying a "No, I will not fix your computer" T-shirt from thinkgeek.

    I wear it a lot... :cool:
     
  4. boss.king macrumors 68040

    boss.king

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    #4
    I am that guy. I can't always fix the problem (often I can) but I can almost always at least diagnose it and find a cheap fix elsewhere. Unfortunately this has lead to me becoming tech support for most of my family and friends. I don't mind helping people, I love to solve peoples problems and get their stuff working again, what I cant stand is the "fix this here and now or you must be an idiot" attitude I occasionally get. If I'm doing my best to help you, and for free too, show a little gratitude.

    Sorry for the rant and somewhat off topic reply
     
  5. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Location:
    New England, USA
    #5
    I have the great good fortune to be a complete computer moron. No one in their right mind would ask me for advice.:eek:

    My only close relative, my sister, is such a Luddite she doesn't even like having her phone answering machine. The hight of her electronics is her TV remote - which she can barely operate. On/Off, Vol up/down, and scroll channels (she can't use the keypad) is her limit. I can help her with that, which comprises the extent of advice asked of me.

    Lucky me - for once, ignorance is truly bliss.;) :D
     
  6. likemyorbs, Dec 9, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011

    likemyorbs macrumors 68000

    likemyorbs

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #6
    OMG i know exactly how you feel. But those letters that you got are completely out of line, make a website and design a logo?? Does this person have any idea how time consuming and costly that normally is? And the iPhone game request is mind boggling. If you weren't a regular forum member i wouldn't even believe those emails are real because they are so rude and brainless.
    I used to have problems like this, but i finally decided to pretend to dumb myself down. I tell people i haven't used windows in many years and i have no idea how to fix it. It's true that i haven't used windows in a long time, but i do know how to fix it if needed, it's just a huge pain in the ass and i despise working with windows. If a mac friend asks for help it's usually not a problem for me. It's gotten to the point where my mom's stupid friends ask me for advice on which digital camera to buy because i use computers. I know NOTHING about cameras, leave me the hell alone.

    Chrono, my only suggestion is, you gotta be a dick sometimes and say no. I'm curious to see you response emails to these people.

    EDIT: One of my favorite stories is another one of my mom's friends, her dell was working like crap so i wiped it out and installed windows 7 for her, worked like new. She called me every week from then on with a new issue that only happened "after i fixed it". Then, she got a new job and told me she needed illustrator on her computer. So i "obtained" it and installed it for her, after it was done installing, i kid you not, the woman says to me "awesome, thanks so much, now can you teach me how to use it?". Mind you, i've never used illustrator in my entire life and know nothing about it, but who the hell takes a job where a main qualification is use of illustrator when they've never used it before??? I was beyond pissed. I told her i have no idea how to use it and i left. I know, i'm soooo rude.
     
  7. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #7
    Methinks

    You underestimate your abilities. Many people know a lot more than they are able to clearly relate to others. That's the trick really. I guess I'm still the "Computer Guy" to friends who constantly tinker with things. This I don't mind, IF they learn and remember what they did, what was wrong with what they did, and......How to fix it next time.

    I have one friend in particular whose ability to destroy any Windows setup is astounding. He phones, I fix, he phones again with the same issue, I fix etc. etc. etc. He is a good friend, and helps me out a lot, but from time to time I wonder what the repair bill would be for his mistakes if I wasn't around? :)
     
  8. decafjava macrumors 68000

    decafjava

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    Geneva
    #8
    *Quietly weeps* I am not alone. :D

    Yup that's me, even more difficult that my folks and sis live an ocean away-try doing "family tech" by email or phone. :rolleyes:

    I am for sure that fellow among my friends here. Funny even though I have never used Macs, just ma here because of my iphone, I've been able to help my Mac using friends.

    That said I can be more honest with my friends than people at work, I'm the web manager at an international foundation here in Geneva. We recently migrated our website to a new provider, a terrific company who are very responsive and competent unlike our old one. However, the move and change to a new CMS platform broke some things, and the lack of understanding and unrealistic expectations can be uhhh fun to manage. :rolleyes:
     
  9. chrono1081 thread starter macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #9
    I have that one too! I do tend to wear it often but it seems to only attract attention :(

    I agree! The summer of 2010 I came home from working 3 years overseas. I had a discrete mathematics class and a 3D modeling class (online) to finish and both were very hard and were the reason I left my job. Literally the day after I got back to the states there was an ancient laptop on my desk. Here it was a relatives who wanted it fixed and didn't they call every day asking when it was done. I was livid. My parents told my relative I'd fix that freaking computer (and since I just got back I was stuck at their house until I found an apartment). We had a talk about telling relatives what I do for a living and the serious reprecussions that can happen when fixing someones computer and you aren't insured for doing such a thing.

    Thats the problem with where I live, most people are not tech savvy and have no clue the time it takes to do such things. I've seen locally done websites and they are pure awful. I'm no expert in web design, but 15ish years ago when I hand made my webpages in HTML on Geocities they looked 10 times better than what I see on local businesses sites today.

    Also today was not the first time I got a request for a game. I'd put up videos of little game projects I was working on on my facebook. I learned real fast not to do that!

    Usually they aren't as bad as they were today. Today was a rare exception. I usually only get about 2 or 3 a week and its little stuff like "My yahoo says I have the wrong password how do I fix it?" *slaps forehead*. I never expected to get a request to edit things out of video.

    I always lie and say I don't know how to fix computers, I only use them. Unfortunately family members who do know what I do tell others all the time despite repeated requests to tell people who ask that I am a programmer. (That isn't a lie, I do program but not as a main profession ;) )

    They all got pretty much the same type of response which is: "Unfortunately I have no idea how to do [insert ludicrous request here]. You would probably have to find someone who does that type of thing professionally."

    and for the Windows questions: "Sorry but its been years since I've had a Windows machine so I really don't know how to fix them anymore. Computer change so fast." Again, not a lie since its been about 4 years since I had a Windows machine....at home ;)

    Not rude at all! Reasonable. That above statement is why I never fix friends / relatives computers (ok VERY few friends will get help from me, but they also don't take advantage of me and actually do the fixing themselves, I just guide them). There is always the "well it didn't do that until you had it".

    I've worked in IT a looong time and I've seen several instances where hardware just breaks while you are working on the machine (LCD's for example who's backlight goes out). Any computer savvy person knows its not the technicians fault, its just a rotten coincidence but to the owner of the computer they think its your fault and that can cause some tension.

    I really hope I get no more silly requests for the rest of the week!

    ----------

    This! I love when you are trying to fix something and someone says "Well how long will it take?" Um..it takes finding the source of the problem first, which obviously can't be estimated, then it takes trying to find a solution to the problem, which again cannot be estimated so yea....there is no way to tell how long it will take :rolleyes:
     
  10. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Manhattan
    #10
    I more like the gadget guy. People come to me to figure out which phone, tablet or computer to purchase. However, I avoid giving advice about specific computer problems unless they are very simple. If their computer freezes or otherwise malfunctions, I tell them to back it up if possible and have it checked out by a professional.
     
  11. charlesbronsen macrumors 6502a

    charlesbronsen

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ont
    #11
    I was that guy a while back and about 5 of my friends have PC's I built for them. Now i'm a Mac:apple: and no longer offer tech support unless it was a PC I built which have never had problems thank god. No more dropping comps off my house so i clean out pounds of dust and tons of spyware and junk programs running in the background
     
  12. likemyorbs macrumors 68000

    likemyorbs

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #12
    Sorry to break it to you, but to someone who knows nothing about computers, IT tech and computer programmer are the same exact thing. You're better off telling them you went into the construction business.
     
  13. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Maryland
    #13
    I used to be when I had a Windows laptop. Now I have a Mac. Now I tell everyone to **** off :D
     
  14. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    #14

    Best post ever.:D
     
  15. MonkeySee.... macrumors 68040

    MonkeySee....

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    ♪♫ The computer and the printer must talk talk talk, Comand P make the picture walk walk walk. ♪♫

    This is me on a daily basis at work. :D
     
  16. Bonch macrumors 6502

    Bonch

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Lithuania
    #16
    I got my grandpa off hustler and playboy magazines and into internet porn. It's better for the environment. That's my Earth First story but it works here also.
     
  17. chrono1081 thread starter macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #17
    Lmao! This is true!

    I loled at this! I'm going to sing it at work sometime whenever someone asks me how to print something (which is sadly at least once a week or so 0_0)
     
  18. likemyorbs macrumors 68000

    likemyorbs

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #18
    So true though! My mom is a computer programmer and people assume she knows about computers, but i kid you not when i tell you the woman can't even locate the power button. She calls me into her office every 5 minutes to help her with something stupid, but she can write code like it's going out of style!
     
  19. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    #19
    No kidding. I just tell everyone I'm in security. I don't mention it's network security. Working for the feds helps, since I just tell people I can't talk about my job because of uh, security reasons.

    Anyway, I don't mind people who are totally clueless. I have my mother sufficiently scared that she won't click anything without asking me. My brother, however, is one of those that scare me. He knows enough to be dangerous. Stuff like "so, I read on this one site where I could delete some registry keys to speed up my computer. Now it won't boot up. What's wrong with it?"

    I also hate it when I do actually give advice and people ignore it. I finally talked my brother into getting a Mac, so he says he didn't want to spend a lot on one. So, I sent him links to the refurb store and a couple of retail locations with specials on closeout models (the generation right before the last spec bump on the MBPs), including a $999 13" MBP. Honestly, that one would be fine for him, but he wants something with a bit more power. So, I found a closeout 15" for a good price. I also sent a link to cheap RAM from Newegg and a video on installing it in a MBP because he wanted 8GB of RAM. After all that, yesterday, he sent me an email with the specs on the MBP he just bought: a 17" MBP with the 128GB SSD. Oh, and a copy of Parallels and a copy of Windows 7. That's not a lot of money?
     
  20. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    #20
    I know, I like the part about the construction business.

     
  21. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #21
    It is tough trying to be patient with people who know nothing about computers and assume you are some sort of magician. But then, I humble myself by remembering that other people can do things that I can't do, and sometimes that works out so that everyone wins. I've helped people out with their computers and in return received help with car stuff.

    Actually, car stuff is a good analogy that I remind myself about. I scoff at folks who bring their PCs into Best Buy or Staples and pay to get a RAM upgrade or software installation. But then I think, well, I pay to get my oil changed and my winter tires put on. In fact, I just had one of my mechanic friends teach me how to put winter tires on myself, and I'm stunned that I didn't think to do this myself sooner.

    Some people know to sweeten the deal by inviting me over for dinner first and then we look at the computer. That works too. :D

    As for the unreasonable requests, I've learned to explain, gently, and in basic terms, that real life doesn't work like you see on TV and just because the CSI guys can rotate photos and enhance details like license plates, sorry, that doesn't mean that I can. And I find myself saying "sorry, I don't know how to do that in Windows; I've been using a Mac since 2003" a lot. (The problem is everyone then buys a Mac for their next computer, and now I have to answer Mac questions all the time... !)
     
  22. geekgirl macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #22
    Well, I haven't gotten nearly the WTF-questions as the OP, but I have been known to have spent Christmas DAY at my parents' business trying to fix their computer. Or Thanksgiving day cooking all morning, and being stuck fixing the home computer all afternoon, even though rarely seen relatives are present. I once had to drive 90 minutes to help MOVE and HOOK UP a computer, when they moved the office.

    But yeah, I get the "create me a logo" and "make me some gift certificates" and download the photos from my camera, and put this on craigslist for me (and take the photos for it) a lot.

    I also sew for a hobby - the same types of impossible requests, only the type of technology is different.
     
  23. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    #23
    That won't stop people asking if you'll build them a computer. ;)
     
  24. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #24
    "Construction? Perfect, I need a new computer alcove in my basement..."
     
  25. Smileyboy macrumors 65816

    Smileyboy

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    #25
    Totally the guy in my circle of friends and family. It amazes me how people don't know how to use basic functions on their iPhones, that I take for granted. But I'm happy to help and I get to help them buy new apps too. ?
     

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