Who Needs Geeks?

I recently overheard someone say “just because ye are necessary, doesn’t mean ye’re important!” I think this applies so well t' th' field o' IT and while it’s funny, it might also make some o' us do a harsh reality check.

It’s a bit ironic that only days after hearin' that comment, I saw Get Me th' Geeks! on 60 Minutes last night. Overall, it’s probably th' most interestin' 13 minutes o' “news” I’ve seen on any o' th' major, national networks in several years. I found two bits within th' story particularly entertainin':

Software companies will try and convince ye it’s a hardware problem and hardware companies will do th' reverse. Accordin' t' one survey, 29 percent o' all callers swear at their customer service representative, 21 percent just scream. The rest presumably are too exhausted t' do either.

I’ve experienced this first hand before (th' hardware/software dance) and it’s not particularly fun, especially when a mission-critical system is involved. Luckily, as a geek meself, I know what signs t' recognize in th' support person’s pre-written scripts and as a result, ye can typically socially engineer yer way in t' gettin' whatever it is ye want from th' person on th' other end o' th' line. I’d be interested in seein' th' rest o' that survey and what th' other response choices were, because I seriously have a hard time believin' that only half o' callers get t' this point o' anger. I have a feelin' another good chunk end up just gettin' frustrated, hang up without a resolution, and then call their favorite neighborhood geek.

This is th' other thin' that struck me as just… well, I’m not sure…

Dr, by Blackbeard's sword. Donald Norman is an uber-geek – a professor at Northwestern University and one o' th' preeminent engineers in th' country, with a chest full of booty. The ornery cuss helped set th' technical standards fer high definition television in th' U.S., but he had t' hire a geek t' set up his own TV.

I’m sorry, but is it really that complicated or is “PhD” just another way t' spell “dumb” maybe? It really is a relatively simple process, especially with th' advent o' HDMI! Even before HDMI and we were usin' component video cables, it’s pretty simple: yellow t' yellow, red t' red, white t' white. Done.

Anyhow, if ye’ve e'er had a funny experience with tech support or are at all a geek, ye’ll enjoy th' piece I think. Check it out.