My Life In Tech: Just Shoot Me

PDF User Manual

4th key from the right, top row

The last couple of week have been hectic, and the last few days have been long ones.  The economy must be improving.  People are buying computers, tablets, and routers.  And it looks like this is a great time for people to catch up on the maintenance they’ve deferred for eight or nine months.  The good news is I’ve been up early and up late with lots of work to do.

So last night when I checked my calendar I was glad to see there was nothing scheduled for early this morning.  That would give me a chance to finish the next column, do the laundry and some grocery shopping and maybe sleep until 8:15 or so when Sandy Dog would have to go out.

At 8:45 I was still in my jammies checking email and working my way through the first cup of coffee when the phone rang.  An elderly gentleman was calling for help with his computer.  I’d set up his laptop for him last February.  His story:

“My wife was on the computer and everything was fine, and then all of a sudden she said Google was broken.  So I tried a few things and now I have a thing that says all my wireless devices are disabled and I need to enable them.  What do I do? “

I checked my notes to see what computer I had set up for him, and started searching Google for a setup guide or a manual.  I figured if I could tell him how to switch on the wireless we’d be home free.

“Also,” he said, “this thing seems to be frozen.”

Talking him through holding down the power button for 10 or 12 seconds to restart and then through pressing Enter to Start Windows normally bought me the time I needed to find the PDF manual online.  Once Windows started up again, I told him to look at the top row of keys on the keyboard, and count to the 4th one from the left.

“Is there a light on by that key?”  The manual says if the light is white, the wireless is on.  If amber, the wireless is off.  It shouldn’t be a problem to get him to hit a key combination and turn on the wifi, right?

“Yes, I can see a light there.”

“What color is it?”

“Cate, I have no idea.  I’m color-blind, and my wife is in the shower.”

Just fucking shoot me.

In the end I just had him open a browser and see if it worked.  We got lucky; apparently rebooting connected his wireless again.  We left it that if he had any more trouble he’d schedule a service call.  But what a crazy first call of the day.


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