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Author Topic: I am not your tech support!
htonl
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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This is a rant with which I imagine anyone who is a computer geek will sympathise.

It irritates me incredibly when people assume that since I'm doing a degree in computer science I am able and willing to help them fix their computer. I'm not talking about close family and friends; I'm quite happy to help them out. What I'm talking about is people whom I meet in a social situation - friends of my friends, that sort of thing - who, when they find out what I'm studying, ask me "Oh! Can you tell me why my CD-ROM drive doesn't work?"

It's wrong in so many different ways:
  • Computer science is not computer servicing or system administration. Yes, it so happens that I do have those skills and probably could fix their computers; nonetheless they shouldn't be assuming that I can.
  • In any case, why should I help people with their computer problems when I'm at a party? Despite the stereotypes, geeks also enjoy partying and socialising. I guess this is the same thing that irritates doctors when people ask "I have this strange spot on my back. Could you tell me what it is?" at parties.
  • How am I supposed to diagnose their computer problems without being at the computer? I'm not psychic. Would they go to a mechanic without bringing their car and ask "Why isn't my carburettor working?" [Confused]
  • (only semi-seriously) These people always run Windows, and it causes most of their problems. Why can't they get a Mac or install Linux? (OK, that deserves a [fish] .)

Indeed, it irritates me so much that I think in future I'm going to tell people I'm studying maths. Hopefully I won't be asked "I've got this metric space I'm having some trouble with; could you take a look at it?" (Although, given the people I know, that's not entirely impossible.) [Razz]

ETA: Thank you for listening to my diatribe.

--------------------
Part of the Secular Humanist Conspiracy™ since 1997.

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LadyLockeout
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Just smile at them and say "certainly! Set up a time and a meeting place and bring your checkbook for the consulting fee, and I'll be happy to help you with that"

[Smile]

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Katesune: We still can't find the way to albuquerque, and glisp won't stop to ask for directions.
Glisp42: Of course not. I know where I'm going, I just don't know where I am right now

Twisted Links

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brillohead
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Ladylockeout, you beat me to it!
DH used to tell people that his consulting fee was $150 and hour with a 2 hour minimum, but for a friend and family member he would reduce it to 1 hour minimum.


Kelly

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ica171
Deck the Malls


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My sister will occasionally call me for internet tech support because...my husband works for the cable/internet company. And not in tech support. I always say "have you called tech support?" And the answer is always no. Apparently I should conference them in for her or something.
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Amigone201
Happy Holly Days


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I'm even getting to the point where it's not okay for friends and family either! Well, actually, it's just my grandfather.

I love him to death, and I love the fact that he enjoys his computer. But every friggin' time I'm home, or my brother is home, he asks us to fix something. Actually, he asks us to fix the same thing--it's slow. Of course, the answer is always the same: Clean the reg, clean the spyware, clean the viruses. Same three steps, every time. Whenever your computer is slow, go there first.

I really shouldn't be so mean; he does so much for us, and he's never rude in the slightest about asking. I guess it's not his asking that I'm mad at, it's the fact that he still hasn't gotten to the point where he can do the three first steps. Grandpa, it's not like we're working magic back there! It's the same damn problem every time!

--------------------
Check out my blog! http://fundiewatch.blogspot.com

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Elbe
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I actually like doing tech support work for people; but then I like helping people. It's kind of my thing, I don't like telling people what they should do, and I don't like doing what others tell me, but I like helping other people do their work when I can.

I also like to do the tech work because I sometimes learn more, I get paid to do pc tech stuff and pretty much everything I know I learned by doing.

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Nobody loves Elbe...
-The Adventure of the Avatar Tutorials (3/29)

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Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I think I've said this before in a similar thread -- this is why I want to become a manager!

You do tech support and all your friends & family suddenly want your help.

You become a doctor and suddenly guests at a party are trying to flash body parts at you in order to guess the ailment.

You work in building/construction and suddenly everyone wants help with some home renovation or tips on wallpapering.

BUT! A manager? When was the last time someone sidled up to a manager at a party and said "Hey, can you come over on the weekend and manage some stuff for me?". Has a manager ever been accosted by a family member to create a Gantt chart for their home project? No!!

And that folks, is why I'd like to become a manager.

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"victory thru self-deception"

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Amigone201
Happy Holly Days


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Don't forget lawyers, Sal. Oh, God, people will say stuff I really don't want to hear.

--------------------
Check out my blog! http://fundiewatch.blogspot.com

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animal73
Deck the Malls


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When they start asking computer questions, ask them when they're going to come over and clean the grout in your shower.

(Obscure Dilbert reference, I'll see if I can find the strip online...)

ETA: The strip in question is from 2-1-06.

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Never take a sleeping pill and a laxative the same night.

Canton Maddogs Rugby

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Wolf333
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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My favorite was when a coworker asked me to fix his computer, and I said "Sure, bring it to work and I'll fix it if we're slow that day."

His reply was "No, it's too much trouble to tear it down. It would be easier for me if you came over after work." Needless to say, I did not fix his computer.

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"We take evil really seriously"

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Eddylizard
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Not Not computers but still a tale of the technically challenged.

My ex-wife bought a freeview box. She (or her b/f I don't know, no confessions were forthcoming) tried to set it up and failed miserably. I said I'd take a look, since I was in the area at a convenient time.

I got it set up. A few months later they moved house and had to disconnect the setup. Guess what? Lather, rinse repeat. But I enjoyed tinkering with it.

Then they got satellite. Properly instlled by contractors, so it was working well.

A couple of weeks ago, she drops DS back here after his weekend with her. As sh'e about to leave, she calmly says "can I ask you a favour?"

Yep, they'd disconected the whole thing, for no discernable reason.

"Okay" says I. I know she works from noon to 7PM. I am in the area around about 8:30am every weekday. "I'll pop over at 8:30am tomorrow (Monday) or Tuesday." (Monday)

"Oh that's far too early. Can you make it 7:30pm on Friday?"

Well no. I'm darned if I'm going to make a special journey just so you can watch telly. You want me to fix it for free, and in return you can't be bothered to get out of bed an hour or two early?

So I just drew her a diagram, and advised her that if it works, label up every lead and socket.

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"Ladies and gentlemen, this is what is commonly known as money. It comes in all sizes, colours, and denominations - like people."

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htonl
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by LadyLockeout:
Just smile at them and say "certainly! Set up a time and a meeting place and bring your checkbook for the consulting fee, and I'll be happy to help you with that"

That's definitely a good solution. Unfortunately I'm too polite to say that. [Frown] Thus the I'm-a-maths-student solution. (It's not a lie; I'm doing a double major.)

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Part of the Secular Humanist Conspiracy™ since 1997.

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Buckleupp
Away in a Manager


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quote:
Originally posted by htonl:
Indeed, it irritates me so much that I think in future I'm going to tell people I'm studying maths.

Be warned: Tell people you're a math expert, and you'll be getting requests to tutor their children!

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HA! That's so funny I forgot to laugh...excluding that first Ha. -Stewie Griffin

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PallasAthena
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Salamander:
I think I've said this before in a similar thread -- this is why I want to become a manager!

[snip]

BUT! A manager? When was the last time someone sidled up to a manager at a party and said "Hey, can you come over on the weekend and manage some stuff for me?". Has a manager ever been accosted by a family member to create a Gantt chart for their home project? No!!

And that folks, is why I'd like to become a manager.

This works great unless you are a project manager. Then people seem to think that you are good at coordinating events. No. That's not what I do. I dislike parties. I have no desire to plan yours for you.

What's even worse is I am a project manager for an IT company and a tech writer within my department. This means that relatives not only ask me to plan gatherings, but they think I can fix their computers and teach them how to use their Excel, Word, iTunes or their windows media player or some other application. They also want me to write resumes and proofread every little thing. I don't do those things for free people!

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"How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about." --Ray Nagin

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LadyLockeout
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by htonl:
quote:
Originally posted by LadyLockeout:
Just smile at them and say "certainly! Set up a time and a meeting place and bring your checkbook for the consulting fee, and I'll be happy to help you with that"

That's definitely a good solution. Unfortunately I'm too polite to say that. [Frown] Thus the I'm-a-maths-student solution. (It's not a lie; I'm doing a double major.)
Ah, but you see, by this point politeness has already taken a hike since they've only just met you, and are expecting you to provide your services for free. A nice civil, pleasant "Certainly, here's my fee" with a smile would (hopefully) nip that in the bud, and you might even make some money while you're at it. I don't see it as anywhere approaching rude, since all you would be doing is stating the conditions under which you would accept their problem. Or something. YMMV. [Smile]

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Katesune: We still can't find the way to albuquerque, and glisp won't stop to ask for directions.
Glisp42: Of course not. I know where I'm going, I just don't know where I am right now

Twisted Links

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Max_Renn
Jingle Bell Hock


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I'm not a computer geek. I use my home computer for word processing, surfing the internet and keeping track of my comic collection in a spreadsheet and that's pretty much it. At work I have nothing to do with the IT department. But...I'm just a bit more skilled on the computer than most of my cow-orkers, and I'm usually the point man on figuring out new software and the like. When the maintenance people's blackberries go down, they immediately ask me what's wrong. When, every three months, we're obligated to change our system passwords, I've got a dozen jumpsuits coming to me expectantly looking for me to do it for them on the computer they share.

It's sad that my private battle cry at this job is "I wish I were dumber! They obviously wouldn't fire me, but maybe people would stop asking me for help!"

Max "what's wrong with the printer?" Renn

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Sister Ann: DRIVE! DRIVE
Crow T. Robot: Look, I'm already driving, there's no inherent quantity of driving that I can increase! If you want me to go faster, you should say so.

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ThistleSoftware
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by htonl:
quote:
Originally posted by LadyLockeout:
Just smile at them and say "certainly! Set up a time and a meeting place and bring your checkbook for the consulting fee, and I'll be happy to help you with that"

That's definitely a good solution. Unfortunately I'm too polite to say that. [Frown] Thus the I'm-a-maths-student solution. (It's not a lie; I'm doing a double major.)
LadyLockeout's solution does not involve rudeness at all. I think what you mean is you're not assertive enough.

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Officially Heartless

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Loyhargil
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Amigone201:
Don't forget lawyers, Sal. Oh, God, people will say stuff I really don't want to hear.

I'll vouch for that. I even had my ex-husband's extended family calling the night before I started the two-day long bar exam, asking for advice.

I love how, if you're a female attorney (in these parts anyway) people assume you're qualified to give free family law advice. Never mind that I practice exclusively in the area of putility utility regulaion, I'm a woman so I must know!

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Bender: Oh cruel fate, to be thusly boned. Ask not for whom the bone bones, it bones for thee.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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What's a putility utility?

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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Loyhargil
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
What's a putility utility?

A rather silly typo. The time to edit it has elapsed, so let me clarify here, my stupid fingers meant to type, "public utility."

ETA: Bah, I also misspelled "regulation" in my prior post. I really need to stop posting via Blackberry. I can't use Word first to spellcheck myself with this thing, and "thumb typing" isn't entirely efficient.

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Bender: Oh cruel fate, to be thusly boned. Ask not for whom the bone bones, it bones for thee.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Loyhargil, I knew what you meant. I was joshing you. But "putility utility" is funnier anyway.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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vanilla
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Don't think for a moment that accountants have it any better. People try to get free tax advice all the time while trying to be vague about their situations or want to know about a new tax law that was just issued that might apply to them, but they don't recall what it is about or why exactly it would pertain to them...

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I swear, it was funnier in my head.
Yeah, I used to be pink. vanilla_pink.

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Loyhargil
We Three Blings


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Lainie,
I just feel silly for making such a goofy typo. Too bad I didn't somehow work "futility" into that, it would have been far more amusing.

Loyhar *advocating more entertaining typos for all* gil

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Bender: Oh cruel fate, to be thusly boned. Ask not for whom the bone bones, it bones for thee.

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noftessa
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by Loyhargil:
quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
What's a putility utility?

A rather silly typo.
Thank God! I thought, wow, I really need to learn more outside of my construction defect, insurance defense world.

On another note, is it bad that I even have my parents trained to tell people that my consultation fee is $250 an hour?

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Dude, do we want to discuss why I was just hit in the head with a thumb?

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RLobinske
Deck the Malls


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Being an entomologist is also fun, when someone tries to describe a bug over the phone, or by email or IM.

Or worse, they hand you a plastic bag with the crushed remains of something, and ask you to identify it. ("It's dead") [Smile]

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pirateslife
Deck the Malls


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DH's comp sci professor gave him a shirt that says, "No, I will not fix your computer."

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If the world were logical, men would ride sidesaddle. -Mama

I won't ask "Am I weird?" because that ship sailed long ago. -Kahuna Burger

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Aud
We Three Blings


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This doesn't happen to me very often but I was once randomly asked about for a book about a very specific kind of embroidery.
I work in a medical library (though I wasn't at work at the time.)
I don't do embroidery
and she was kind of up upset that I couldn't come up with one off the top of my head.

ETA: Yesterday on Talk of the Nation was a brief discussion about fixing parent's computers.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6660072
They did mentions some things people could do for themselves.

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Errata
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I get this all the time, and it really annoys me. I really don't have any systems administration skills more than anyone with basic computer literacy (such as basically everyone posting here). I really can't do anything to help you with your wireless router. If you followed the instructions and it doesn't work, I'm not going to be able to do anything much about it.

Programmers design things. They aren't experts about things that other people have designed. Its like confusing a mechanical engineer with an auto mechanic. They may be slightly more likely than average to have the skills, but its ignorant to just assume that.

Its embarassing too, since when I explain that I can't really help them, they come away thinking I'm something less skilled than a systems administrator rather than understanding that its an entirely different skillset. It really doesn't help to try to clarify it for them either, because if they are the sort of person to make that mistake then their eyes would just glaze over after the first sentence. I've come up with a completely non-technical one sentence explanation of what I do, but most people don't get it anyway.

A similar misunderstanding was very common around 2001-2004, when people seemed to think all programmers were just web page designers and that they're all unemployed now.

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Amigone201
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Loyhargil:
quote:
Originally posted by Amigone201:
Don't forget lawyers, Sal. Oh, God, people will say stuff I really don't want to hear.

I'll vouch for that. I even had my ex-husband's extended family calling the night before I started the two-day long bar exam, asking for advice.

I love how, if you're a female attorney (in these parts anyway) people assume you're qualified to give free family law advice. Never mind that I practice exclusively in the area of putility utility regulaion, I'm a woman so I must know!

I actually DO know about family law. But I'm a guy so I really don't know anything about it [Smile] I'm safe.

--------------------
Check out my blog! http://fundiewatch.blogspot.com

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ComicBookGeek
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I used to have this problem, the only thing was I wasn't qualified to answer this.

Evidently, since I was a teenager who knew how to use a computer, I was automatically qualified to fix a computer or teach someone how to use one.

My luddite father once had to take a 'computer test.' All it was was him having to answer multiple choice questions on a computer but no, he decides to go all psychopath and order me to teach him how to use a computer in 90 minutes.

Forget the fact he literally did not even know how to turn one on.

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I have developed a reputation for being able to work on (and sometimes fix!) just about anything. So, I get calls all the time for this kind of stuff, and yes, they are "do you know why I can't print/connect to the internet/click on this icon over here?" type stuff.

And it doesn't stop with computers... (note - the following HAVE HAPPENED):

"we can't get any pressure here" - open the valves.
"can you run us some new phone lines?" - ip phones, I MUST know how to work on them
"we have an EMERGENCY, come NOW" - TV not working
"it goes nuts when I do this" - don't do that
"can you tell us why this temperature is too high?" - yeah, your equipment is ON FIRE
"I can't get anything to run" - press the START button

But the computer stuff - I don't work in IT, everything is limited accounts, but I get "you are a hacker, you have to know a way to do it!" then they get mad when I tell them to call somebody else.

[Big Grin]

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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Fun with a 9mm
Deck the Malls


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Similar problems as everyone else, except that my cousin's husband asks me for advice on everything from computers to dog training to guns and GETS ANGRY if my advice doesn't agree with what HE thinks is the right answer. I've had 6 calls in one evening from him...and he STILL wouldn't take my advice!! Big jerk!!

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Rebochan the Retail Reindeer
Good King Wal-Mart


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/super hijack

quote:
Originally posted by htonl:
[*](only semi-seriously) These people always run Windows, and it causes most of their problems. Why can't they get a Mac or install Linux? (OK, that deserves a [fish] .)
[/list]

BECAUSE THEY SUCK.

This cheap, baseless insult brought to you by "Rebo is Freaking Tired of OS Pissing Contests".

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"One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." -- Diogenes

"Vote Republican! We won't burn you at the stake for your religious beliefs or slaughter your family and steal your land." -- Ramblin' Dave

Posts: 3555 | From: Florida | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Rebochan the Retail Reindeer:
/super hijack

quote:
Originally posted by htonl:
[*](only semi-seriously) These people always run Windows, and it causes most of their problems. Why can't they get a Mac or install Linux? (OK, that deserves a [fish] .)
[/list]

BECAUSE THEY SUCK.

This cheap, baseless insult brought to you by "Rebo is Freaking Tired of OS Pissing Contests".

YOMANK and me, too! I don't have much experience with PCs, but I've been running WinXP (updated to SP2 about a year ago) with IE (updated to the dreaded IE7 a month or so ago) for over three years with no problems.
What am I doing wrong? [Confused] [lol]

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

Posts: 4020 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I wish I knew what's made your Windows experience different from mine, Signora. I've had Windows PCs at home for about 10 years, and I've had problem after problem that was Windows-based. Maybe I would have had the same problem wih Macs, but at this point I'm willing to give them a try. And I was a diehard PC user for years.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

Posts: 8322 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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