Does Not Compute


I work in the good old computer industry, having wasted five years in college learned the craft. Over those years I've picked up a few tricks that to the average computer user look like magic.

The Bauble, for a start, baffles most folk that think the "Interwebs" can be downloaded for safe keeping. To tech head friends it is viewed as either an alright site or the most shoddy cowboy piece of coding they have ever seen.

I'm not going to argue that point.

The problem is, one which I am sure any tech head that reads this will have themselves encountered, that your family tend to be included in the average computer user category. Worse still, they have watched ten too many movies and think that everything they see on the Silver Screen is doable.

With the exception of one of my brother's, most of my family think along these lines.

Some of the hilarious things I have been asked to do over the years are just so off the wall that I figured I would share a couple. Mainly because I've just had a phone call from my younger sister asking me to do one of those impossible things.

She was more than a little surprised to learn it isn't exactly like flipping a switch.

Request 1:

The sister rings me. Her boss wants to know if she provides me with a mobile phone number can I then, using that number, pull every text message ever sent to and from said number from wherever text messages live. Try explaining to her that no, that cannot be done. That the system that is home to such information would have security. Encryption. Not to mention that even if I knew how to attempt such a thing it wouldn't be a half hour job.

"But can't you just, you know, hack it?"

I hung up after that.

Request 2:

One time a family member asked me to make teach them how to make a web page. Now, the sibling that is tech aware has asked me to make him one (it's on the to-do list) so this is not the same person. They wanted me to teach them "you know, just everything you know about webpages so I can make one like your's. Only, in half an hour because I don't want all the theory you had to learn."

It never ceases to amaze me how some folks do not understand that webpages are not created by magic. You need a little time, a lot of testing, and more than half an hour to learn an entire language or four.

Request 3:

This is my favourite one, sadly it isn't a family member that asked me to do this but a neighbour that lives two doors down from my mother's house. He had recently bought a new harddrive for his family PC and wanted me to install it, put on an Operating System, and give it back. No problem. Job done, an hour or so later I dropped the system back to him. He knocks on the door again half an hour later and hands me what I assume was a harddrive at some point in time. Except that it had been introduced to a hammer and some motor oil.

"I forgot to save the family snaps off this," he says offering me the drive. "Can you get them off it for me. I hear you can just plug them in like a second drive."

"What happened to the drive?"

"Oh I was binning it but wanted to make sure that nobody could steal the data on it."

"Maybe giving it to me BEFORE being so identity theft conscious would have been a better idea."

The conversation ended there.

Request 4:

Due to some family legalities I was asked to get some photos off my uncles computer after he and my aunt went their separate ways. I was told that this uncle (who I only met three times in my life) was really tech super smart and had passwords all over the place. Now, you can use Linux live cds to get around some things like this, assuming that you are in front of the box physically. But that wasn't what was being asked first. What she wanted was for me, over the phone, to tell her the "Magic word that makes his password be deleted. You know, like all computers have."

It's calls like that that make me want to change my number sometimes.

I'm sure I have more, but those were the gems I thought I would share.


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