Funny misunderstandings between an IT guy and a mechanic.

As my friend Luke rebuilt a system I tore down for him, he asked me what the little plastic things were that are on the back of the optical and HDD drives. I told him it's a jumper. "A jumper, like a jumper cable?" Sort of, but if you ever need a jump, and call, make sure you specify which type of jump you need!

Without skipping a beat he glared at me and said that he would use his jumper cables to mark the HDD as a master on the IDE line. Later on that day we went to the surplus/used computer supply store in my town to look for parts (and mainly to get him thinking in the correct language, while asking questions to the staff). Luke quickly found a CPU fan assembly and mentioned that it was "bad ass" because it used copper tubes to cool the CPU along with a fan. "Yea that's pretty sick, but what do you think about that fan next to it Luke?"

"Damn, that looks wicked!" I knew at that moment the joy that comes with computers had clicked on in his mind. "It looks like a motorcycle cylinder and head assembly" Success!

Later on, I instructed him on how to install a CPU with a heat sink assembly such as this. The concept of this thermal paste sort of confused him, in that in his mind you don't need to put paste between the cylinder and the piston for it to transfer heat.

I suppose the point of this is that as IT professionals, we can make the job easier by finding common ground with the client and duly explain the item or process in terms that they can relate to. Too many times have I seen IT people talk down to the commoner, or speak fully in the technical language so that any comprehension by the customer is not possible. The sad part of it all is that the customer interaction is no longer present. Computers have gone the way of the toaster, it is now cheaper to buy a new one than it is to fix the old one. For that matter it is no longer even feasible to construct a home built unless you know EXACTLY what it is that you want... odds are that one of the main stream companies may be constructing a system like you are wanting but it is a lot cheaper.

I will say this however, I will continue to build my own systems as long as I can, for no matter the reason, the big companies cannot make a system that will give me a) the satisfaction of building my own, and b) the knowledge of how to fix it without having to talk to outsourced tech support or c) dealing with the risk of losing the warranty if I want to upgrade the system myself.


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