Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

July 5, 2013

Non-technical people are not alone, help is out there

By Jenni Hanna Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — Working for a tech company like ETC, I’m surrounded by techs-perts-technology experts who know the ins and outs of all things that are computer-related.

These technology experts include network engineers, information technology professionals, systems analysts, wireless operations staff-the people who speak in a technical language that is largely foreign to me.

As a non-technical person, I know how overwhelming this industry can be.

That’s why, when I stumbled upon the Shark Tank tab on the Computer World website, I had to laugh. This site (http://blogs.computerworld.com/blog/shark-tank) was proof that there are other non-techy people like me! The site shares some fun stories about misinterpretations when it comes to technology.

From what I can tell, the site is like a reality show for IT personnel.

Techs write in with some of the funny comments, questions, and otherwise memorable experiences they’ve come across. The stories are updated and replaced regularly, but below are a few of my favorite tales that I have read to date. All are paraphrased, but hopefully represent the general ideas:

One tech wrote in about a co-worker who was complaining about a buzzing noise coming from her computer. The tech did some trouble shooting with his co-worker via the phone, with no luck. Eventually the tech reported to the co-worker’s cubicle, and did in fact hear the buzzing noise. Upon closer inspection, though, the tech discovered the buzzing sound was not coming from the computer at all. Rather, the sound was from a small desk fan that was running on the other side of the adjacent cubicle.

Another tale tells of a customer who called an IT expert with troubles he had while updating software. The customer had followed the appropriate updating steps, but the computer repeatedly shut down when he came to the message that said “hit any key” to proceed. Eventually, the IT expert realized that when the customer was hitting “any” key, he was hitting the power button, shutting down the computer as a result.

I read another story of a user who was working on a document, and saved it to the computer’s desktop. When he went to the computer to start working on the document again, he could not find it on the desktop, prompting a call to the tech. When the techs-pert asked the customer to walk through, exactly, how he had saved his document, it didn’t take long to figure out the problem. When the customer described how he had started his project at his work computer, stopped and then proceeded to finish working from his home computer, the tech knew right away what the problem was. Since the document was saved to the desktop and not two networked computers, the document was not able to be retrieved between computers.

Another posting tells of a user who misunderstood how to use a mouse. When she was told to use the mouse to point and click, the user was actually picking the mouse up and waving it around like a wand, pointing it at the computer and clicking on it while it was in the air.

Other favorite stories tell of people using the CD drive as a cup holder; customers pushing on the computer screen with their finger, in attempt to ‘double click’ on a link; and a customer who complained of an old jittery, ‘jumping’ monitor that was fixed once the monitor was moved away from a fan causing the screen to vibrate.

In sharing these stories, the intent is not to poke fun at the end user; rather, it’s to reinforce the fact that not everyone is a tech expert.

Like any foreign language, there is much that can be lost through interpretation and translation, and these stories are purely examples of how technology is its own language in its own right.

The Shark Tank stories are updated regularly. For more fun misinterpretations, check the Computer World website often. Or, if you prefer the more serious side of technology, click one of the other tabs on the Computer World website – just remember that your mouse is not a wand, so be sure to leave your mouse lying flat on the desk when you’re clicking.

Jenni Hanna is the Public Relations Coordinator for Enhanced Telecommunications (ETC) in Greensburg. She writes a monthly tech-related column for the Daily News.