Saturday, November 3, 2012

COM-PU-TER

Computers don't play well with me*. I'm a frequent flyer at my company's IT helpdesk, which has a second level of support they'll send you to, but only if the new graduates manning the helpdesk can't figure out the problem after an hour or so of walking you through rebooting your computer. I wanted to ask them to give me an express pass to the real experts, but my lobbying to bypass the rookies was crippled by an embarrassing incident.

Early one morning, I turned on my computer and it burst into flame. Just kidding (although I did burn up a laptop once by accident). As soon as the computer booted up, it began emitting a steady piercing shriek not unlike a car alarm. Frantically hitting buttons and jiggling cords, I called the IT helpdesk and shouted for help over the high-pitched drone. After establishing that the computer was in fact plugged in, the helpdesk sent me to the second level. Meanwhile, my co-workers arriving for the day tried to help me diagnose the problem.

Just as the second level tech gods arrived, one of the admin assistants figured it out. "Your wristpad is resting on the keyboard," she pointed out, and lifted it off. The shrieking stopped, my face turned red, and the second level group departed with smug mutterings about user error. So now I have to serve my 60 minute time with the helpdesk phone lines before the second level will deign to address my problem.

It's usually worth their while to stop by though. On several occasions, I've ended up in the corner of my office while excited techies gather around my computer, saying things like, "But the logic isn't supposed to work like that," and "I've never seen anything like this before," and "Let's get a screenshot of this, baby!" Meanwhile, all I can think about is the extra hours I'm going to have to work that night to make up for yet another demonic possession of my computer.

Given this track record, I don't know why I'm surprised that the cyber-devil has sunk its claws into my leisure activities. Ever since I moved my blog to a new address and set up a new Google profile, I've been unable to comment on blogs with a registered user setting. I read and comment a lot, and it's maddening to read a great post and be unable to tell the author how much I enjoyed it, or be blocked from joining an interesting discussion in the comment thread. Google and Blogger have of course ignored my plaintive requests for help.

Then my own blog's comment system (Intense Debate) randomly stopped working, wiping out comments as it went. After being ignored (again) by Intense Debate's support team, I finally uninstalled it today, which meant losing one of the best post comment threads I've ever had, along with the rest of the last month's comments. Just as I'd stopped swearing and was telling myself to be thankful it was only a month, not a year, I got a tweet from one of my favourite new finds, Christie at The Outlaw Mama:

"I want to follow you but twitter won't let me. Says forbidden."

Someone get me a priest. I need an IT exorcism.


*And look - I took a test to prove it! Wait. Does this test mean I'm the problem??


Compared to those in the same age group as you:


97% scored higher (more computer geeky),
1% scored the same, and
2% scored lower (less geeky).

What does this mean? Your computer geekiness is:

Definitely not a computer geek. You probably don't even know what a computer is. Say it with me: COM-PU-TER.

24 comments:

  1. Hey, we've all been wondering why you're not on Twitter! Let me know if you break through the forbidden gates. This is a funny post and I'm sure many will be nodding heads in wry agreement. I just moved to a new blog address to, complete with massive comment loss, so I feel your pain!

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    1. I'm on Twitter now (8azara8). Whether you'll be permitted to interact with me is another story. I've had other people start following me over the same time frame, so I never would have known this was happening if Christie hadn't told me. I have a request in to Twitter support, but no response yet (do you see a pattern here?).

      Good luck with your continued blog transition! Losing comments really sucks.

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  2. If you scored that badly, I'm in trouble. What is a registered user setting? Good luck with getting it all figured out!

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    1. The blogs I can't comment on are the ones that have a "select profile" option drop down, but no "name/url" option showing. I'm pretty sure that's the registered user setting in blogger. Disqus also tells me sometimes that my browser isn't supported and I need to use one like Internet Explorer 9. I am using IE 9. Sigh.

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  3. Holy crap that is so frustrating! When I switched my blog to a different format I was getting SO frustrated because it wasn't doing what I wanted it to. Finally had to enlist the help of my web designer boyfriend to get me sorted out. Otherwise I probably would have deleted the whole thing and given up blogging. Now I have to take that test!

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    1. I was astonished when I managed to successfully import my blog into this address. It's a good thing I like my template so much, because I'd have to hire someone if I ever wanted to change it.

      Oh, and I have a Blogger and Google profile image. Blogger just doesn't feel it wants to use it as my thumbnail. This is my virtual life.

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  4. Great, just tried to take it and got a "server error" something about the server being busy. Sure. I'm probably just doing something wrong. Again.

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    1. Don't worry, I probably screwed up the link. Try googling "computer savviness" and see if it comes up.

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  5. I'm decent on a computer, though by no means a smarty pants. I get so frustrated when I call IT, because I hate getting the first line! They never know what I'm talking about, because our Home Care uses a different software system than the rest of the health system. I tell them to just pass me on to the more experienced guys (I don't say it like that) but they are sticklers for protocol. Which, I guess, makes sense, given they are comptuer geeks. But sheesh! I waste so much time with the first line!

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    1. Exactly. I try to be patient, but I just want to say "Clearly you don't know how to fix this. Could you please pass me along to someone who does, instead of wasting our time muddling around for the next hour?"

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  6. That is hilarious. I feel the same way about computers. My lack of knowledge is embarrassing, and technology makes me very uneasy. Really enjoyed this post!
    Your new blog friend, Steph

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    1. I joke about it all the time, but I was still surprised at how low my score was. I mean, I'm under 35 (barely) - shouldn't I be naturally better at this stuff?

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  7. Too funny, Azara. I did see where Outlaw Mama was wondering where you were on twitter. I'm glad you got it worked out. I laughed pretty hard about your bracelet on the keyboard. Hey! That's right. You're a young one so naturally...

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    1. It was so embarrassing. Of course by then the whole department was trying to figure out what was causing the insane beeping noise, so it's not like I could quietly slink away either.

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  8. Oh I have been there. This is hilarious. Fire! Jewelry! Help desks! I think the twitter issue is my problem-- I need new followers before I can add others. Ugh.

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    1. I noticed that follower ratio thing in the Twitter guidelines and thought it was really strange. I don't understand the purpose behind it. You're not allowed to see what others are doing until enough people have voted you in? How do you get to know more people? Weird. Every time I go to follow someone I wonder if it's going to stop me too.

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  9. I had Intense Debate for a while too. And it would randomly lose comments. So I got rid of it. As much as it hurt to lose those comments, at least that way I could be sure that it wouldn't happen to future comments.

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    1. I really didn't want to do it, but that's why I did. The system seemed really unstable and with no support, I was afraid I'd end up losing it voluntarily or otherwise at some point anyway. So I decided I'd better cut my losses and get rid of it while I'd lose only one month's worth of comments, rather than six months worth.

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  10. I know that it's not funny to you (because that stuff would make me set my computer on fire) but this was a really great, funny post! I do hope you can get it all worked out. If it makes you feel better, I once deleted a whole blog of mine by accident. Not a post...a BLOG. Three years of family travels and photos. Blerg!

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    1. OMG. That is definitely worse! How did you delete a whole blog by accident? I think I would curl up on the floor and cry for a few days if I did that.

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  11. Oh I feel your pain. I've been wasting countless hours spinning in circles with Adobe Flash Player issues all week long. I'll never get those hours of my life back.

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    1. I know technology saves us an incredible amount of time overall. But it sure doesn't feel like it when you're trying to fix an IT problem.

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  12. I recently had to have the computer people look at my laptop because I got a trojan virus on it because my anti virus crapped out on me. The backspace button also popped out for no reason and they couldn't fix it so they told me to super glue it back together and now it keeps getting stuck. And yet, your computer horror stories make me fear for my computer's safety just by reading your blog... Maybe I'll leave the next comment from my mom's work computer. lol

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    1. Haha! At work we always joke about my IT problems being contagious - maybe it's my magnetic field. I swear I follow the directions for things to the letter, but somehow something always goes wrong.

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Lend me some sugar!