Fury Friday: Imposed 'friend and family' tech support

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.

TOPICS: Laptops, Fiber, Microsoft

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.


Topics: Laptops, Fiber, Microsoft

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  • Really?

    Snort. Sounds to me like you don't know what you're doing.

    Reinstall? Really? Pffle. And why the Vista hate? Vista and 7 are close siblings, 7 really didn't change all that much in Vista, just put it on a diet really.

    A little MSE, a little click on "Clean up", checking "Empty temp files on exiting" in IE, and presto. All better.

    Now, about crapware. :) I hear you brother, amen!

    If you wanna hate, hate XP. That obsolete clunker may be have been the bees knees in its time--but so was the Model T...
    • RE: Fury Friday: Imposed 'friend and family' tech support

      @wolf_z: I solved that problem years ago by buying my parents Macs. It's just down to the missus now, who will be trialling Ubuntu. :)

      Meanwhile, the Windows-using relatives get my standard answer: "My rates are $250/hr for Windows, and Free if you're using or want to use Linux."
      • Best move you'll ever make

        Move away from windows help for friends around the time MS started offering their employees vouchers they could give out at social occasions so they could enjOy a moment without being hassled about their crappy OS.

        Unsurprisingly the support calls stop. MCSE enjoy your malware and crapware, must make you feel relevant.
        Richard Flude
  • RE: Fury Friday: Imposed 'friend and family' tech support

    What's really bad, though, is when they have somebody who visits them once a year and [i]thinks[/i] he/she knows software goes ahead and installs 10 "helpful" utilities that clog up memory and do nothing except confuse the user more and eat up CPU.

    Not to mention 5 of those utilities are for different categories of malware - and if they'd bother to check the help files, they'd find out that most AV these days covers all categories of malware. You only really need one AV. Grr.

    . . . and don't get me started on "registry cleaners." Even CCleaner can ruin a computer in the wrong hands, and is almost never needed except in very exceptional circumstances.

    99% of the time, registry cleaners are a feel-good measure and not a real solution. And they often create as many problems as they fix.

    I'm fine fixing computers - but I'm not fine with pseudo-techies trying to "fix" something that likely wasn't all that broken in the first place, and probably needed a minor tweak rather than filling the system with junk.
    • Ah the registry

      Most pathetic MS decision ever. This says heaps.
      Richard Flude
  • I feel ya pain

    Not only on Holidays with the Fam., but throughout the year.<br><br>I'm constantly asked by my Father-in-law to address his Small Business' IT needs, why pay the local shop $80/hour when he can ask me to do it for free. (although, he does let me drive his restored and souped '67 Camaro SS around town whenever I want...so I really can't complain)<br><br>But Zack, there is a flip side to that coin. What about the people on the other end that need their equipment worked on?<br><br>Can you imagine being in Cyberslammer2's family and asking him to fix something? Having to wait while he fumbles around for hours on end with drivers and config? The frustration in knowing that when you got it back, it probably is going to be worse than when you gave it to him? And, knowing you'd be better off just paying a professional to fix it or buying a new machine altogether?<br><br>Just a bit of perspective, there's people <i>far</i> worse off than us. ;)

    Mind how you go in the New Year
    • RE: Fury Friday: Imposed 'friend and family' tech support

      @SonofaSailor Very good point ;) Happy New Year to you all.
  • Mac OS X

    is your friend.
    You switch to it and then inform your friends and family that you only know Mac OS X.
    They either:
    1. keep using Windows/Ubuntu and never call you
    2. buy a Mac and never call you
    • RE: Fury Friday: Imposed 'friend and family' tech support

      @davebarnes <br><br>Brilliant ;-)

      I am also suggesting iPads for the parents and family, so no more late night calls about computer maintenance.