Thursday, May 30, 2013

Technology vs. People

Sometimes I think I’m at war with technology, from my PC to printers and software.  When it works as it should, peace reigns.

On occasion, I discover a feature I didn’t know I had.  That’s like getting a gift from an ally.  I recently learned that my color printer came with a nifty device for scanning 35 mm negatives.  Figuring it out was easy, it works like a charm, and, because you can do a strip at a time, is much faster than scanning individual pictures. You can also choose to exclude some frames.

But when technology doesn’t allow you to do what you need to, your stamina, mood and more are put to the test.  Troubleshooting is time consuming and can be exceedingly frustrating whether you try yourself or enlist the aid of customer support.  The Gainfully Employed often have the luxury of an IT department to resolve problems.  Feelancers usually don’t.  A Mac friend often helps, but my latest issue was with a Windows update. So I went straight to the source: Microsoft’s Answer Desk.

(If you’re wondering why I don’t just get a Mac...despite using said friend’s Macs, another during a three-month internship a couple of years ago and many recommendations to switch, I’m a PC.)

Connection to the Answer Desk via online chat.  I’d rather talk on the phone because it’s faster, an option offered on the screen, but learned that the techs prefer chat.  You’re given a case number if you have to leave before resolution, but each new tech I encountered had a different approach and wanted to start over.  You can grant remote access to your PC, allowing them to do all of the troubleshooting while you provide passwords and permission as necessary.  It’s a bit creepy watching your mouse move seemingly on its own, files opening and closing, programs running, but it’s faster than doing complicated msconfigs, regedits or whatever yourself.
Fifteen hours over several days later, after multiple fixes including reinstalling Windows 7, more than 150 updates, and 50+ reboots, they’d  escalated my case to a technician who made appointments with me to follow up and figured it out.  My PC is much faster.

With their help, I won this hard fought battle.   

No comments: