Fury Friday: Imposed 'friend and family' tech support

Summary:Fury Friday: I'll be jumping on the soapbox each Friday and letting rip into the things of the week that have annoyed the living daylights out of me. This week: People who impose tech support on technically minded friends.

Every Friday, I’ll be jumping on the soapbox and letting rip into the things of the week that have annoyed the living daylights out of me. Think of a dumbed down version of Peter Griffin’s 'Grind my Gears'.

One simple question, really. Where do you get off? Really? I know I may be a friend with knowledgeable skills relating to technology and computers, but it does not mean you can call in your one favour on fixing your chunky, burlap sack of crap you call a laptop.

There is nothing personal in this, by which I mean there is. It drives me and everyone else utterly nuts. There is no appeal about sitting on my arse for a good three or four hours at your crappy student house with no milk for my tea, supplemented by a drunk housemate screaming in my ear at 11am. Neither would I prefer spending any extended period of time with you because we briefly hung out in the first year and solved your relationship problems by simply uttering, "communication is key".

Never in my life have I become more frustrated with the human condition with friends or family asking for help with their computer. More often than not it's their own fault, and are waving not drowning trying to get their computers fixed. Who do I blame the most besides the idiots themselves? The manufacturers, and Microsoft for inventing Vista.

I know I have spent much of my time debating whether the operating system is in fact any good, but inevitably like the rest of you like-minded pessimists resorted to hating every fibre of its inception. Nevertheless, the manufacturers of crapware and their pre-installed 'utilities' of hell, fire and heathen fury, because all they do is clog up the memory footprint, throw software in your face on-screen in an attention grabbing form as if they are Jason Bourne's kids on Ritalin.

But when you are roped into suffering the anguish of what is usually de-crapping a computer of all its junk software, junk files, numerous hours of porn-related viruses and spyware, you question why you even bothered to learn this stuff.

You equally question how your life could turn out to be if you ever became unemployed to a new level of despair; having to do this for a living. McDonald's doesn't seem so bad now, does it?

Like a the computer sensei's that we are, we can within seconds discover the state of the machine we are working on. Normally it's, 'it's just bad', and a seemingly five minute job turns into a full re-install, or an upgrade with an added new laptop smell to give it that much needed buzz. It'll take hours of your day, more stress than you want to deal with, and probably age you by about twenty years in the process. You'll leave the house, hit the brazen sunshine, shout, "beware, the impending war of the computers", and collapse into dust.

The next time someone asks me to sort their computer out because they just think of me as some kind of on-call tech support, I will delete their face with a cricket bat. Alternatively, you can try some of these handy phrases to get you out of doing as such. Feel free to print it out and stick it in your wallet for later use:

  1. I can't, because I'm going to rip out my own thorax and choke myself to death with it.
  2. (Just after you shoot someone right in front of you): I have to go to a funeral.
  3. Who are you? Wait, who am I? Where am I? Help me.
  4. I can't, for legal and contractual reasons. Oh, and because I hate you.

Remember that diplomacy only works under certain circumstances.

Grrrawwwrrwrrr.

Topics: Laptops, Fiber, Microsoft

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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