Sunday, August 31, 2008

An IT Technician's Plea

For the past five days, I've been doing some summer work for my college's IT department. I'm stationed in a small office in the library's foyer that we've dubbed the IT Triage Unit. It serves (in theory) to keep students with simple computer problems from rushing down to the basement office where the higher-ups are handling their heavy pre-semester load. In theory, this is a beautiful idea, and would be a great permanent addition to the IT services offered by the school.

In practice, however, it could be described as a clusterfuck. Le cluster de fuck, as the pseudo-French may say. From the never-ending line of freshmen with laptops (and even desktops!) in hand to the belligerent, overbearing parents, it's been a trial all the way. This, of course, is really no one person's fault. It's the first time we've tried this, and we've got a lot to learn about how to streamline it. Still, there are a lot of specific things I wish that students and faculty alike would keep in mind throughout the year, just to keep the deluge of people in our IT office to a minimum. They are as follow:

1. For the Sweet Love of Jesus, Try it Yourself FIRST
I know computers are scary. I know that. They're especially scary, I suppose, if you've been using AOL on your mum's computer for the past eighteen years, and have never had to actually do anything on one. Still, you're legally a grown-up now, and not as many people are going to gently cut you slack for not putting forth an effort to understand new things. Many harried IT techs are none too happy to delay the four other people behind you in line because you couldn't be arsed to investigate the problem yourself.

2. We Can Tell When You're Lying

Really, we're here to help, not pass judgment. Well, we will pass judgment. Just silently and privately. If we ask if you have a pirated OS, do not lie. It only makes it more difficult to figure out why the network hates you. We won't send you to the PoPo to be locked up. Similarly, just be honest when we ask if you use Napster or Limewire or some shit. Really, we don't care.

3. Hide Your Embarrassing Shit

There's nothing more awesome than when the tech opens up your laptop to discover that awesome picture your friends took of you doing shots topless. It's even better when you're not of drinking age. Hell, it's still great when you've got porn sites and FapChan set to open when you start your browser. That makes checking your internet connection really fun.

Yeah, this shit takes five minutes to do. Those five minutes will eliminate those knowing stares from the techs.

4. If It's Free, It Might Kill Your PC

You can do your part to keep your PC from violently bursting into flames by not downloading toolbars, free game packages, MySpace utilities, and WeatherBug. Remember: If you bought a PC two months ago and it's already slower than fuck, it's probably not the poor computer's fault that you've essentially opened it up and poured liquid shit into it. Figuratively speaking, of course.

5. Windows Vista Hates You
It just does. For all its touting of higher security and greater usability, it's still obtuse, and doesn't keep you from easily murdering your own computer.

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