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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

COMPUTER EXPERTS


COMPUTER EXPERTS
 
Everyone knows a computer expert. 

“You have a virus? My nephew can fix it, he knows everything there is to know about computers.”

Well…maybe.

That is kind of like saying, “You have a heart problem? My nephew can fix it, he’s a dermatologist.  He knows everything there is to know about anatomy.”

Computers are as complex as human anatomy.  Experts are generally software experts or hardware experts or communications experts or storage experts or so on and so on.  Granted, a lot of computer people have general knowledge and can fix common problems, but I don’t think anyone knows everything.

Years ago I had to work with excel spreadsheets.  I learned to do a few simple excel tasks of which there are about 10,000.  Many people in the office thought I was an “expert.”  Many people were wrong.

What expertise I had, I learned from Debbie.

The go-to expert in our office, and this was in the very early days of office PCs, was Debbie.  Debbie did not have any computer degrees.  Debbie never took any computer courses, but Debbie could do anything with computers.  Debbie knew everything there was to know about computers.  Debbie was a computer expert. 

Debbie was invaluable in our office.  If you had a computer problem or needed to do something fancy…graphs…spreadsheets…special computation…or any various kinds of data shuffling, you went to Debbie.

I once went to Debbie to learn how to do some tricky data shuffling while combining multiple spreadsheets.  It was then that I learned the secret behind Debbie’s extraordinary computer ability.

Debbie was very good at following instructions from the “Help” tab.

“I don’t know why everyone keeps coming to me for stuff; it is all right there for you on the “Help” tab, but let’s make that our little secret.”

There was no need to keep it a secret.

Debbie was right, the “Help” tab can show you how to do almost anything on the computer.  The problem is most people like myself do not have the patience or the ability to learn from the “Help” tab.  I need to see things demonstrated. I am very visual.

Debbie could follow directions without demonstrations.  Most people do not have that ability, and so she was the go-to person to figure out a new function and then teach it to us visual learners.

Debbie didn't know everything about computers, but she was our  “expert,” and we were damn glad to have her.

18 comments:

  1. I've clicked on the 'help' tab occasionally, but I just don't understand the instructions on there. I know they're written in English, but that's as much help as asking me to fly a spaceship to Mars. If I have any problems I ask my younger daughter. If I don't understand her directions, I'll take the laptop to her house and have her show me while I write down step-by-step instructions. Over time I find I don't need her help so often, I'm more willing to just try things on my own and see what works.

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  2. I learned before excel, before lotus, on something called visicalc. 1978, 79. Then I had to show the whole darn office. Then I had to help them transition to lotus. No one was around to switch me from lotus to excel. No new Debbie's.

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  3. i loved working in excel and nesting complex if/then formulas. i could use help but it sometimes didn't. i had a 'renee' in my office. she was/is awesome. :)

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  4. I'll have to remember that about the help feature being so helpful :) Son had a friend who was a computer expert and it ended up with us having to buy him a new laptop; enough said about some experts :)

    betty

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  5. I work for a car company, so people just assume that, if they have any trouble with their car, I'll know the answer. "I'm having some weird electrical problem with my car; the headlights will go off randomly. What should I do?"

    "Go see a mechanic, preferably one who understands electrical problems."

    "But you work for a car company, I thought you'd be able to tell me."

    "I work in transmission design, and really, one small area of transmission design. If you have a problem with your transmission, there's about a 10% chance that I'd be able to help you. Just go see a mechanic."

    "But mechanics are expensive, and you're right here. . ."

    "And I don't know one damn thing about your weird electrical problem. Don't drive after dark if your headlights might randomly turn off."

    Lather, rinse, repeat. . .

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  6. Fortunately for me, all 3 of my kids are computer experts, so I get repairs & lessons for free. If they charged me, it would come out of their inheritance!!

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  7. There are indeed experts in every group. I had my expert when I was still working and this post reminded me of him.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  8. We have our computer helpers -- a couple of friends who build their own computers and servers and who are willing to lend a hand. They know when something is too big for them, and tell us so, which is a big help.

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  9. Computers can sense my aura when I sit down, and apparently my aura isn't good. So I bow down to anyone who will fix my computer at home or at work. Bow down, I say. And some kissing of feet might be done too.

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  10. Our son is our computer expert. I've had far fewer problems once I moved from a PC to a Mac.

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    Replies
    1. It is a definite advantage of the Mac that hackers prefer to mess with the PC OS as there is a much bigger bang for the buck. As most people still use the PC and not Mac, the hackers tend to leave the Mac alone.

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  11. I had a Debbie in my life that I got on the phone when things went badly. Sadly she has passed and now my expert wants paid at the end of our sessions. The Debbie types just have no fear and plunge in. Most of the rest of us fear screwing up the computer permanently if we get to adventurous.

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  12. It blows my mind how few people will try the "Help" tab first, or just google the problem they're having. I should have learned to keep my mouth shut and just shrug when my mother comes to me with computer programs, because she is now convinced I am some kind of technological wizard and then gets mad at me when I cannot fix her 12 year old Dell laptop when it crashes. That thing is defying all the laws of nature already by the simple fact that it still starts up sometimes.

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  13. I worked for state govt. when Windows 95 came along in the 90s. Suddenly there was a computer on every desk, servers in closets, and nobody who knew anything about any of it. The state only wanted to pay $25,000 to computer people, so they grabbed whatever idiots would do the work for that pay. I was one of those idiots. 15 years later, I finally left the state and now I don't even want to look at a computer. I never did really figure out how to fix them, but I fooled everyone long enough to get my sad paycheck for all those years.

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  14. If anything goes wrong with my computer, I reboot it. So far, this has always fixed everything. Well, that and a few Hail Marys.

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  15. Two words: System Restore. That's all I know how to do.

    Lucky for me I had a six-year-old who could take a computer apart and put it back together, using all the parts. Now he's majoring in computer science, and in a pinch, he can talk me through glitches over the phone. IF the mood strikes him.

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  16. Was she older than 12? I always tell people with computer problems to look for a 12 year old in their neighborhood.

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  17. Computer expertise is something the kids today seem to be born with. I have a strict policy regarding computers and really any technology at all that requires electricity, and that is ask a kid. Before getting all flustered about my inability to learn computers, my problems with technology, and my clumsy fingers, I find some smart kid to help me.

    Cordia Remsen @ RBSMN

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