IT work for no fun and no profit

Hey non-heartless geeks, how do you avoid becom­ing some ran­dom person’s com­put­er guy1?

I was just blind­sided by my friend’s aunt and before I knew it, I was show­ing her how to use her laptop’s right-click but­ton to delete unwant­ed desk­top short­cuts in Win­dows XP. Then, she want­ed to know how to delete a book­mark from her Inter­net Explor­er bar.

She scared me on the last one, though; through her bro­ken Eng­lish, she seemed to be describ­ing an unwant­ed brows­er tool­bar, and warn­ing sirens went off in my head as I start­ed think­ing I was going to be asked to remove one of those. Then, as she cursed Inter­net Explor­er while it took near­ly a full minute to load, I had to fight the urge to make a quick exit through the win­dow — closed and locked, of course — before I could be asked about remov­ing spy­ware or defrag­ment­ing. I almost sug­gest­ed she just buy a whole new com­put­er, before real­iz­ing that I could just as eas­i­ly be con­script­ed into help­ing with that.

Ugh. It turned out to be sim­ple stuff in the end… but this is how it always starts.

Before I know it, I’m going to be fix­ing her router, before trou­bleshoot­ing her DSL prob­lems, before being roped into advis­ing her on which of the pro­grams that she installed on her com­put­er she no longer needs and can be removed to free up space on her hard dri­ve.2

Proof that there is no god: I look the part.
This is bug #2. Let’s fix this.

  1. Did that term sound sex­ist? I meant only to refer to Nick Burns, my tech sup­port hero.
  2. This is actu­al­ly a true sto­ry.

Real artists ship”

I’m by no means an Apple fan, and don’t own any Apple prod­ucts (though I’ve always want­ed to play with a New­ton!), but to a geek, it’s pret­ty hard to ignore the effects that Apple has had on the world around us.

This prob­a­bly wouldn’t make it to the aver­age list of Apple’s con­tri­bu­tions, but my per­son­al favorite is a Steve Jobs say­ing:

Real artists ship.”

I take this to mean that you can keep pol­ish­ing the prod­uct until it’s per­fect, but it doesn’t mat­ter how great it is unless it makes it out the door while it’s still rel­e­vant. (No, it didn’t take a lot of read­ing deeply into the phrase for me to come up with that, Mr. Hypo­thet­i­cal Snarky Com­menter. An alter­nate mean­ing could be an expla­na­tion for push­ing a prod­uct out the door when it con­tains bugs that may give oth­ers pause.)

I some­times find myself spend­ing more time than I should on some­thing, in pur­suit of get­ting it unim­peach­ably per­fect. It’s a flaw of mine. I need to do some­thing about that, but I’m not sure what… and giv­ing up on qual­i­ty isn’t an option. Con­sid­er this bug #1 in my pub­lic bug track­er, pow­ered by Word­Press. ;-)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to ship this post so I can go ship that e-mail I’ve been craft­ing so I can final­ly ship myself some Zs.

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