Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Whaddya Know?

I suppose it's a matter of human nature. Me, I like to at least act like I know my limitations.


We had some computer issues at work recently. The server was acting funny, so my IT guy asked me to disconnect all the users from the server (everyone else had gone home) so that he could safely poke around remotely. I complied. At some point later, I went home.

The next day, everyone in my office was wondering what happened to the computers last night. I told them that I had shut them all down, because the IT guy asked me to. "Well, what did he do?" one of my co-workers asked me.

I have no idea what he did. I didn't ask, because I knew it would take me over my head. And I'm willing to bet that if I had told my co-worker that the IT guy "needed to verify that the WAN address was properly synched up to the PPP node vis-a-vis the antipodes diodes which feed lubricating oils through their sebaceous ducts to each of our monitors," she wouldn't have understood what I meant.

So why did she ask?


This morning, the same co-worker popped her head into my office. "If the phone rings more than twice, could you snag it? I'm going to be poke my head around the telephone closet real quick."

Uh, the telephone closet? I've been in there. It's a huge jumble of technicolor wires going from one panel in the wall to another panel in the wall. I have no idea where they start, or where they end, or for what purpose they start and end where they do. If there's a large dangling wire that starts at one panel and leads nowhere... well, hell, that might be because it's supposed to be like that.

I'm willing to bet my co-worker doesn't know anything about those wires either. So why is she checking to make sure everything's all right in the telephone closet? Would she recognize it if something was amiss? (At least, in the absence of a sign that says "Cut here to mess up the phone lines.")


Once the above-referenced co-worker asked me to look at another suitemate's computer to investigate why she wasn't getting sound out of her speakers. (For some reason, I'm kind of the office computer guru, which is sad.) I told her that I frankly wouldn't know what to look at, so I wasn't sure I'd be a very big help. She huffed at me and gave me an attitude for the rest of the afternoon.

Her reasoning: The other suitemate has done some very nice things for us over the years, so the least you could do is look into her problem.

My response: But I'm telling you now I won't be able to help. It's like asking me to diagnose her brain trauma. I know I won't be able to. You’re really just asking me to invest some of my time sitting in front of the computer poking around even though I pretty much know I won't get anywhere.

Eventually I gave in and looked that the damn computer. It's archaic. And sure enough, despite my best efforts, I could not get the speakers to work.


Rich said...

More proof that we all live in a Dilbert world...

kat said...

i have also become my office's computer expert, which is also sad, since every time i try to help someone, i end up ruining whatever it is they were working on at the time. you'd think they'd learn, but alas...

p.p. said...

I am my office's MS Word guru, which is sad. Secretaries run to my office each time they have to mess with margins or bullets.


(this morning, I had to reboot the office manager's computer. The answer is always reboot.)

katie said...

I love those people. They are the ones who insist on trying to "fix" something and then just stand there and look at it, pretend they have exhausted all options, and phone maintenance. Maintenance than arrives to discover that said item was merely unplugged.

Dennis! said...

Rich: So totally Dilbert. Thank goodness I don't wear ties to work. Oh, and welcome to MTML!

Kat: Why do they think us lawyers are the electronics peeps? Arg!

Peter: There is no limit the restorative power of the reboot. And I hate, hate, HATE MS Word.

Katie: The one time I can think of when I'd be that guy, is if I were looking under the hood of a car. I know nothing about how cars work, but if someone's with me who does, I'll look under the hood with him/her. I figure maybe they can explain stuff and then I'll be able to come up with some suggestions. Or at least take directions with respect to the fiddling.

p.p. said...

Dennis, please, please don't tell me your office is a Wordperfect office. I couldn't work there...I'd have to transcribe all my work.

Dennis! said...

Peter: It is indeed a WP Office. Word drives me batty. They've even managed to take something as simple as numbering pages and made it difficult.

And don't get me started on how it forces you to accept its automatic features. Type "tab-1.-tab" and suddenly you're stuck with an outline. If you don't like the format, tough. And God help you if you actually weren't looking to create an outline!