June 7th, 2004


The new office manager is playing the voicemails on speaker phone and 80% of them are nasty. Back when I used to do that type of stuff, there was maybe one nasty message every other day. Maybe.

They didnt ever bother updating the voice menu tree from saying we're out for Memorial Day, and they've also shut down the office on Saturdays. So all these messages are just these normal, frustrated people trying to understand why no one at the company they pay for Internet access is answering their phone. They don't know how their computers work, and the support they pay for is unavailable. I don't blame them, I really don't. It's sub-par for what is decent and respectable, but is par for the course of technical support.

Most technical support representitives, or "techs" as many people call them, aren't all that great. That's also understandable, I guess, although I don't have to accept it as responsible. As computers get more abstract as they evolve, there's more "magic" involved in the troubleshooting method. As the hoods get welded shut, unopenable by their owners, the average computer user has less of a clue as time progresses. This abstraction, which is caused by both the literal abstraction of components, anthropomorphizing of programs and devices (did you know the LED on my iBook "SNORES" when it's "asleep"? THIS is anthropomorphism at it's finest. This is NOT what the uneducated masses need) and further exacerbated by the linear and exponential increase of components and their complexity yielding an ever growingly un-manageable complex equation of balance. *breathes* Our own dependance on cuteness, metaphor, and reluctance to believe in CAUSE AND EFFECT inhibits our understanding of HOW THINGS WORK and HOW THINGS BREAK.

Things break because things go wrong. Why do things go wrong?

There's two answers to that:

Just 'cause.

This answer is the lazy man's wet dream of enlightenment. The person who says something broke "just 'cause" is the same person who blows their load when they smack the TV in the side and they bring WWF back on the screen in fully tint-adjustable, Dolby NR style.

There's the real reason, too.

Entropy. Call it what you will. The world around you is infintely complex. Thinking you can account for everything to happen isn't even arrogance. It's stupidity. Being able to identify it after occurance is the thing that seperates the thinking person from the lazy person. The lazy man will flick flies off himself all night; the thinking man will close the window. The lazy woman will reboot her computer every time it freezes. The thinking woman will say to herself "I wonder if I can fix this, or get this fixed". The lazy child learns to read while the thinking child learns to read and then learns to skim. The lazy person asks 'how' and the thinking person asks 'why'?

But the point I guess I got away from is that I think its ok for people to call in for tech support. Even though they seem dumb "inside the bubble", you have to realize that for each one that calls in with a dumb question, there's another untold dozens that sit there crabbing about it not working and never bothering to call.

And my bigger point, that, I hate it when people get others to think that they know how something works when they only emulate knowing how it works. It's great to stroke your ego fixing a relative's PC by restarting it, but don't come to me with your magic when I know the science. When I explain how something works for real, embrace it, don't argue it. Don't tell me your voodoo way of how "it really works" to you. And likewise I will try to listen and understand new things from you, but, really ... if we can't do that, we don't deserve the toys we engineer solutions to with two-by-fours and batting practice.