Unspoken Truths in the Philosophy of Technology

Technology research and information centerWith the technology ever evolving into something new every day, there are certain truths that develop around the behavior and practices of people using this technology. There are unspoken rules that, when said out loud sound funny or even ridiculous, but they clearly strike at the heart of the matter.

For instance, as part of a bigger family, if you ever volunteer to fix a PC or laptop for a family member, there is no doubt that they will come back to you again and again for tech support! Sounds funny, but it is true! Here are more unspoken truths in the way of life that techies and non-techies alike can relate to:

PC Fundamental Foibles

Have you ever noticed how Murphy’s law (if anything can go wrong, then it probably will) seems to fit in many of the computer issues that we experience today? For instance, you buy a brand new external back up drive for your computer, and then just about the time you are about to plug it into your PC to make a complete backup – all your data suddenly gets corrupted – just like that. Hard to believe, but you’ll be surprised how many people have experienced similar mishaps of their own.

Then there is the ever endearing Windows patch that we are so used to installing to apparently make our PCs better. But it seems that every time you download a patch and fix the bug in Windows, the same update seems to compromise two or more things on our PC! Then it’s back to sending an alert to Microsoft again for an encountered problem. And there is the similar problem when you have to install critical updates on your PC, but it seems to schedule them during times that you need to use your PC for critical work to get your critical income! Windows automatically installs the updates while you are left ranting and raving on your own in the background because of a looming deadline.

There are well know adages such as “a watched pot never gathers moss” which is invoked in all its glorious presence when we go for PC repair. Ever noticed that when you are so anxious to get your PC or laptop repaired you opt to sit in front of the technician while he works on it so you can experience when the final and magic rebooting efforts finally succeed? The longer you sit there, the longer it will take for the technician to find the problem. And then there is “too much is never enough” which applies when you buy a laptop with at least 5 USB ports. But at any given time, you find you’re using all of them and are just one port short for plugging in your boss’s USB stick so he can give you his presentation.

When having a PC, you also have to get used to its developing quirks that allow you, and only you, to work on your PC. An example is when you are making a simple addition of a hard drive into your PC, the moment you screw all the little screws in and reboot your PC, your hard drive can’t be detected! But if you test it with everything opened up, it works! Go figure.

Technical Support Turnarounds

For tech support, there are numerous times that technicians are faced with situations that always seem to backfire, just when they thought they had helped. Like if you help put together a PC for someone else as a favor, because of that action they feel there is nobody else but you who can fix it or deal with it when problems arrive in the future. You become their personal tech support person. Or in your workplace, get rid of a simple virus on a computer, or solve a little quirky glitch on the boss’s laptop, and all of a sudden everyone is referring to you as the technical guy to go to when faced with a PC issue. In a moment your job description takes on a whole new, and warped, form. Another instance is if there is a new product or software that you get excited about and recommend to friends and family. They buy it, use it, and the next week they are giving you a call describing the product return hassles they’ve just succumbed themselves to.

Being tech support is always a challenge, but by troubleshooting different kinds of problems, sometimes you just know it will fix itself. So when you are called from your office to look at the PC that has been giving your boss problems all morning, the  moment you step into the room, expect him to say that it’s okay again. Probably because he finally rebooted the computer, something he should have done ages ago.

The Wild World of the Web

You will find that some of the biggest issues of all, whether technical or just personal, spring from being one of the billion members of the online community. A great example is the increased security measures, like Captcha verification, taken when you try to log onto a site. It takes you a while to figure out if you’re looking at a zero or the letter ‘O’, or is that squiggle an ‘S’ or a snake?

Then there are emailing and networking mishaps that you get yourself into. You always have to admit that it was all your fault in the end. Like sending a nasty email about X to your friends Y, Z, A, and B, forgetting all along that X is included in the group email address you used to send it. Or confirming your boss, or even your parents, as friends on Facebook, and regretting it after a month when you realize how little you can actually say without them reacting violently.

The internet deals and online transactions have also made life so much easier, but then you realize that the time and hassle involved in availing of those deals costs so much more than you ever intended to spend. For instance, when you redeem a rebate, the small amount that the rebate offers is probably less than the amount of difficulty you went through actually redeeming it!

Don’t you also just hate it when you are surfing for information for research and you end up clicking on a badly-designed site? It seems that the worse the website design is, the naughtier and sleazier the different banner ads are that pop up on the same site. It takes all of your available energy and excuses to explain why you’re on a seemingly X-rated site when your boss walks past your cubicle.

And for those into online networking games, you have finally found a way to clobber your boss’s character by playing the World of Warcraft over an uninterrupted game-filled weekend! This is the only way you can have one up on your superior, by battling your online fantastical characters. And when you’re about to strike the fatal blow – the internet connection dies. You can wait for that smug smirk on your boss’s face when you go into work on Monday.

Maddeningly Mobile Modernisms

Accepting that our PCs give us headaches while we’re in front of their screens, we still opt to torture ourselves more by carrying around shiny little mobile devices to keep ourselves connected to all our technological woes. It is already a given that the amount of power in your laptop’s battery is inversely proportional to the quantity of time needed for you to finish your work. Same goes for your cell phone as well, while in the middle of a very important life-deciding phone call, your cell phone battery will die. After that you go scrambling for an outlet to charge it with the cell phone charger that you didn’t even bring! Worse, you realize that you only have 30 minutes of power left on your iPod when you have just made yourself comfortable for take-off before a 16-hour flight.

Despite all this, we still choose to upgrade and accessorize our gadgets, and more often than not – replace important parts that we lose. For instance, when upgrading to a new phone, your last cell phone charger is never ever compatible with your new phone. You can go home and check and you’ll find at least 5 different kinds of cell phone chargers floating around without matching phones. And in terms of battery chargers that break, you always end up paying no less than 70 percent of the price of the actual device when you try to replace it. Further, just before you have ended your 2-year contract deal with the cell phone company that included payment on your cool cell phone, it suddenly breaks and you end up having to buy a lower end model just to finish off your post-paid contract.

For those travelling and think they have everything together, when you’re unpacking your stuff in one of the best hotels in the Hawaiian Islands, you find that your high-end digital camera’s memory card is not in the camera bag. In fact, you take a reflective moment to visualize the last minute you spent in your study at home, and see the memory card tucked in its plugged card reader on your desk right next to your digital camera’s battery charger.

Love Starbucks? Spending a Saturday morning hanging out at the nearest Starbucks with your nifty, light laptop and your cup of expensive coffee, doesn’t really equate to a relaxed and hassle-free post-breakfast activity. In all probability, and knowing your luck, your coffee will tip over and render inalterable and utter destruction to your nifty little laptop while you surf the net and read the news. Next time, just buy the daily paper.

Surfing for Software Sorrows

If you think that hardware problems are all you have to deal with, then you’re forgetting the different programs and software that come with the hardware to make your IT life more aggravating that it already is. Like downloading great new spyware cleaners to solve your problems sometimes causes more issues in the speed and security of your PC, worse than the malware that it’s supposed to protect it from. Same with the supposed performance increase you’re meant to experience after running your Registry cleaner. It seems the number of times you run your Registry Cleaner is inversely proportional to the speed of your CPU.

So, you decide to try to fix that little software quirk you’re experiencing and log onto the software’s online support pages. Ever notice that after reading paragraph upon paragraph of detailed troubleshooting, your PC problem is not addressed even once in all that material? Thank goodness you are part of a forum of techies – who have all suddenly decided to take a three-day vacation from your forum all at the same time!

And finally, for the Apple people out there. Do you have a really cool iPhone application that every single one of your friends and family want? Then by all means, expect with the highest probability that Apple will reject it. If you are also a fan of iTunes, than watch out for the day when iTunes will crash on you, as it always does and is expected to do.

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