It can happen to the best of us. To be honest , it will happen MOSTLY to the best of us. Your geeky sunday afternoon is brutally interrupted by a friend / family member / aquantance ringing your doorbell while you just need all your braincell to get through a particularly complex chapter in “the hand of Thrawn’. As you sigh, put your ebook reader down and open the door you are greeted by a laptop (or desktop tower) that is extended in your direction with the pleading words ‘please fix my computer’. Now you know Laptops and Desktop towers don’t have arms and legs, thus behind this somehow broken computer contraption, hides a person. A person with whom you hopefully have some kind of social bond and social responsibilities. In other words in order to be a “nice person” its not the question of “Will you fix my computer” but more of “You HAVE to fix my computer”
Your sunday peace destroyed, you fake a nice warm smile and invite the defective piece of hardware (and its attached owner-family member etc inside). The usual routine ensues. As you hook up their machine, you ask the usual questions : Whats wrong with it , when did it start, do you still have data on it, are there any passwords I should need etc. Best case scenario will give you clear answers to these questions. Worst case scenario ? A lot of blank stares, shrugs, mumbles that “it all happened on its own, I didn’t do anything” and the kicker : ” Don’t YOU know all my passwords ? “.
But hey, its like I said : “The best of us” and you are one of those right ? So with an absolute minimum of information you manage to tame this mall ware infected , virus riddled hornets nest of toolbars and bad user behavior. You try to ignore the 5000 icons on the desktop, the porn sites that have somehow become the users starting page and the many suspiciously looking EXE’s that where downloaded (and probably executed). You spend several hours prying loose every scrap of data and settings and recover every single lost password. At the end of the ride you have preformed a true feat of geek superiority. The system has been rebuilt, (reformatted and reinstalled) and completely reconfigured in a way that the user can pick it up and run with it.
If you where a vet you would have taken a sick puppy, replaced the insides of the puppy with a NEW and healthy puppy, put the old puppies memory and personality back into the new puppy and then slid it back into the skin of the old puppy like nothing ever happened. I would refrain from using this very analogy to convince the user of your awesomeness … they would not understand. (and look at you funny)
So you think your work is done, but before you have come out of the dopamine induced rush of your victory over non functional systems … the doorbell rings. A couple of weeks later ( in worst case, a couple of days ) the friend/relative/acquaintance is BACK holding the same system. You query puzzled if there is some data you forgot to restore or if there is a program missing. But the laptop-desktop with arms and legs just shrugs and says ” It’s not working” After recovering from your initial surprise, you boot up the system and see that all your hard work has been for nothing. The shiny new puppy has been dragged through the filthy side of the internets again, towing mall ware, viruses and hidden trojans in its wake. Cpu cycles once devoted to clean system operation are now churning away for some Russian bot net. Clean and available diskspace filled with infected and corrupted crap from a peer to peer network. Once again the user has clicked YES on every dialog box on the internet, including the one ‘Click here to turn your computer into a limping pile of junk’. Shiny puppy is a dirty dirty puppy all over.
So here is my query : How do you deal with this ? Does one just happily start over and REDO the system ? And if so … how many times ? I know said answer is influenced by your direct relation with the subject. (mom, dad, girlfriend, neighbor, friend) but where is the limit ? We come to the awkward space where your technological expertise becomes the battleground between social politeness and the mayhem of mall ware that is called the internet. But what is good social behavior in a situation like this ? With the total number of computers on the rise and the average percentage of people who actually know how to operate them slowly declining .. What is good policy here ? Do you go for a superiority complex and brush them off ? Or do you crawl in the sharp gravel of complex social relationships and become their techno-bitch and do as you are asked ? It is a difficult and complex question that I would love to ask you .. How many times is the limit ?
In the new interactive format of “The Fix” we ask you a question every week : This week we take a look at the pondering question : How many times do you fix someone’s computer and what is that number related to. Send us your feedback through the usual channels.
For our 55th episode of the Knightcast we break the techno-centric habbit again and walk down memory lane. To answer a lot of questions i’ve been getting all over the years about how Knightwise became Knightwise, and how Knightwise.com and the Knightcast podcast came about. So time to lean back and listen to an old podcaster recount tales of days gone by. Deep diving back into the timestream to 1992 and tracking down all the different “starting points” who’s convergence created the Knightwise.com singularity. Showcasing one of our favorite ambient artists of the moment “planet boelex” the podcast is a subtle mix between storytelling and soundseeing. Enjoy KC 0055 : The man behind the shades.
My father in law tends to hoard, and when I say hoard, I mean that. His office is filled with clutter that would make a geek think he went to hoarding heaven. Piles of Cd’s Floppy disks, old computers, discarded printers and forgotten laptops. In his prime (before her retired) this man was the ultimate early adopter. If something new came out, he probably got it, played with it for a while and then moved on the next shiny toy. After retiring he moved on to a whole different life of walking his dogs, going outside to paint the house and other un-geekly activities, leaving behind a whole bunch of “legacy crap” that is too nice to throw out, but too ‘pass
If procrastination was considered an artform, I think us ADD geeks would be considered the very masters. Only we would not have started our artform yett, we would do so tomorrow. First we need to see this video abou this cat on Youtube.
As a remedy to this “affliction” we are blessed with, information overloaded techno-philes with the attention span of a butterfly tend to lean towards guru’s like David Allen and his famous ‘Getting things done’ techniques , or, if we could spare the time, listen to Merlin Man rave about his “42 folders”. Having been at both points I can only conclude that the rantings of these “superheroes of productivity” depress me to no end. I feel like i’m NOT getting things done and for the life of me can’t come up with 42 folders to put those things in.
And yet, during many times my mind is overloaded with tasks, idea’s, things I should not forget, Issues that have been sitting on the back burner for so many months. So “getting those things done” would be nice. If only to organize the myriad of NEW tasks and idea’s, random thoughts and more that I come up with to “drown out” the nagging backlog of what I still need to do.
So here comes rat-hole number 2 : Looking for a “system”. I have seen geeks depart in the valley of the “GTD’s” (*getting things done) in the quest for a perfect ‘organisational system” . I have yet to see one of them return. Looking for a GTD system and tweaking it can be some time consuming it becomes an activity, i dare say and “obsession” all on its own. Defeating the purpose of the system. You get nothing done because you are still tweaking your GTD system.
I’ll spare you that one way trip into that black hole by sharing what I found this week. The need I have is as follows. I need to keep track of several (many) issues for work, some of them done by others, some of them need to be done by me. I need to keep track of those issues, make notes, follow them up etc. Untill now I had just used Outlook (of all things) and some pathetic attempt at folders to do so. I must say .. it was not a success. Why ? Because Outlook (and the folders) are in my office and I am on the road. Item number 2 brought me closer to my goal : 2do is an App for the iPad that consists of a fairly well featured todo list that let me follow up on all of those things. Allthough there was no link between “2do” and my Outlook, I played “biorobot” and typed over all the things I needed to remember. But 2do was flawed in several ways. Only available on the Ipad and with no “cloud functions”, 2do is an insult to a cross platform slider.
Enter my Solution : Wunderlist : A very well built 2do application that lets you add, categorizdddddde organise and liquidise ( lets mix up the usual adjectives here) your tasks. It looks pretty good , is fairly stable but there IS one thing that lets it rise to the very top of the list : Its cross platform and “cloud bounces” your data up and down to the several devices you have. Did I say several ? That is because I meant it. Available for the Ipad, Iphone/ipod and the Android it helps me “get things done'” in ways David Allen could never do. I love the layout, the reminders, and the sheer fact that I can punch up a Todo list on my phone and have it available everywhere. With desktop versions for Windows, OSX, Linux (only 32 bits) , and the entire range of mobile devices, I cannot hide behind the excuse that my current device has no access to the interface of my 2do list. (When everything fails and i’m stuck in a Cave with a Thin client, I can still use the web)
So give it a spin and … Get things done : http://www.6wunderkinder.com/wunderlist/ Oh btw : It IS of course … Free.