Nearly 20 Years Seems Like Such A Long Time...
For a brief moment in the tech room, there was silence.
Phones weren't ringing; CPU fans weren't spinning, p.o.s.t. codes weren't beeping... It was quiet.
Becoming uneasy from the awkward silence, I turn to one of the other techs and say, "Yo, Joe! Go voice!"
Back in the 80s we both ran BBSs. His was on a Atari 800 and mine was on a Coleco ADAM.
This simple phrase prompted us to set the controls on the way back machine and do a little reminiscing.
Time and time again, we get the customer that calls for tech support whose problem can easily be solved because the problem that they are dealing with is often a "known issue". Sometimes, the customers are "old timers" and they feel insulted that the problem that they're experiencing is so simple and simply solved.
Tech: "Sir, you're jumpers are set wrong."
Customer: "I've been jumpering boards for 15 years!"
Tech: "Your heat sink fan's on backwards."
Customer: "I've been installing heat sink fans for 10 years!"
Tech: "Sir, you're grounding out the board."
Customer: "I've been mounting motherboards for 20 years!"
It never ends. Of course, we want to say, "they didn't make that board 15 years ago so how would you know how to set the jumpers" or "they didn't make that heatsink that you're using 10 years ago" or "they didn't make that motherboard 20 years ago".
Try explaining to a man that has built nothing but AT PCs for the last 15 years that they can flip that switch on the back of that ATX power supply until pigs fly, but you'll never turn the PC on that way.
For us, it's an unwritten pact that we have back in the tech room that we never use our own experiences or certifications as a defense against these people. Never do we justify why we're telling people to do what we are telling them to do by stating that because we've been doing this a long time they must listen to us.
Perhaps it's because we know that the industry moves so fast and changes so quickly, and the way things work can be so different from platform to platform and brand to brand, that this previous experience is nothing more than a notch on a belt.
It could also be because we know how stupid someone sounds when they start spouting off about how many years they spent doing this and that and how irrelevant it is that you overclocked your 386 ten years ago when you just now chipped the core on your Athlon!
"Yo, Joe! Go voice!"
"What's up, Jon?" he responds.
"Got any phreak codes?" I ask, "I need to get some more G files from a BBS up in Michigan."
Joe starts laughing. "No way dude! Just use a War Games dialer. I've just about got this door game beat! North, West, North, North...."
"Come on, man!" I say to Joe, "They've got plans that'll allow me to control my electric train with my garage door opener!"
"Do you remember Temple of Apshai?" Joe asks.
"Oh yeah! Mold, slime mold and slime... The asp always kicked my ass. It's not fair to make and enemy that moves 5 times faster than your character!"
"I couldn't finish any of the rooms on the fourth level." Joe said sadly.
I remember finally getting a PC with over 64K of RAM, and now my video card has 1000 times that.
I remember floppies with only 256K, and now I have a CPU with that much Level 2 cache.
I remember breaking the 2MHz barrier. Yeah. 2MHz. Now we're 1000 times that at 2 GHz!
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