[Chugalug] Simple Advice .. Plugging It Up

Mike Robinson miker at sundialservices.com
Fri Mar 15 01:09:37 UTC 2013

> We need more bourgeois and simple troubleshooting advice. Sometimes the
> computer is actually unplugged and the guy/gal on the other end needs to be
> told to plug it up.

Perhaps I'm dating myself, but "way back in the 80's" at UTC when terminals connected to an HP-2000 were the norm, and "computer anxiety" was being talked-about a lot, I encountered it first hand.  A young woman came in to the terminal room (yeah, I'm dating myself) and asked for help.  She had everything prepared:  her BASIC program neatly lettered in the coding-forms .. everything.

(P.S.  My first program was eight lines long, took me six months to write .. the PC wouldn't be invented for a decade yet .. and had a bug in it.  My genuine fascination with this wonder-machine continues happily to the present day.)

She said:  "I typed it in and nothing's happening."  I:  "Okay, let me see."  

I reached to the back of the terminal and flipped it on.  She said firmly:  "stop."  

I looked at her quizzically ... read her expression ... guessed ... said nothing ... nodded, and left.

The instructions did not say ...

... She aced the course.  And I daresay all the other courses, too.  I say that because I'm N-O-T making a "D.U. joke" at her expense.  Quite the opposite.  She taught me a lesson I never forgot.

Computer technology is, actually, profoundly difficult.  Still.  

Unlike nearly every other human thing, it's totally unforgiving, because (well...) it ISN'T "a human thing" at all.  It's:  a machine.  Faster than ever ... unthinking as ever.  Some things never change:  they just get a whole lot faster.

If "we're good at it," it's because we have a knack for anticipating and working-within the (still) extreme strictures of the ... machine.  It's surely an acquired taste.  

CUE:  Slip pocket-protector into pocket.  You KNOW you have one.  ;-)  

And if not ... please don't act surprised:  http://www.pocketprotectors.com  (Oh, c'mon, you're just kickin' yourself because you didn't think of it first ...)

Mike Robinson
Technical Director
Sundial Services International, LLC
miker at sundialservices.com
(615) 268-3829

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