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Things Never to Do

On the Internet

In the E-Mail

In Windows Explorer/Your Harddrive

To Your Computer

To Purchase

To Do in a Technical Forum

Okay,  here's my pet peeve - Idiots posing as "techincal experts" on 
various forums like MajorGeeks or Techspot or other mostly helpful 
forums who give INFURIATING answers to simple questions. Elaborate, you
say? Certainly. I have -for our example - a brand new system whose 
hardware was (obviously) made for Vista.  

The problem being, as we all know, that NOT EVERYTHING WORKS UNDER VISTA.
Sometimes my client has old software that controls a machine, or device, 
or system of some sort that just simply won't work under Vista.  

Fine. No big deal. I can simply load XP. I realize that loading XP on a 
new computer is a pain if the drivers are going to have to be hunted down 
(I do it DAILY), but I'm willing to do so for the sake of the client. I go 
searching first at the manufacturer's website. If the computer manufacturer 
doesn't have a driver, I look for drivers for each individual piece of hardware 
via Google, or some other place like Driverguide (less useful lately than they 
were in the past, but still a good place) or other similar venues.

Aha! I've found a forum where someone else has asked the question "where do I 
find an XP driver for X-model of Y-make of hardware." Perfect.  Excellent! The 
very one I'm looking for! And somewhere in the forum, someone has hopefully 
answered him correctly, and I can get the driver, load it, and get on with my 
life, and my client's OS rollback.

NOW! What REALLY makes my blood boil is someone always tries to "evangelize" 
the person to Vista. "Oh, XP drivers are hard to find - you should give Vista 
a second shot! I did and never looked back!...." and that sort of verbal diarrhea. 

The problem is, for someone asking - someone who has a NEED to go back to XP on
the new computer - this answer is not only unhelpful, but frustrating, as they
may have a COMPELLING REASON to not use Vista, and yet need to purchase a new computer.

We all know that new computers are geared towards the newest operating 
system. Sometimes it just doesn't work out. 

Sometimes they have, oh, a vinyl die machine that uses the computer to operate a 
nuclear width sensing arm (I forget the technical term for this little bugger. Sue me.)
that alerts them to dangerous anomalies in width and structure in the vinyl not 
visible to the naked eye.  Sometimes that computer breaks, and sometimes the new 
computer that is sent by their idiot IT team 6 states away to replace it has Vista 

Regardless of the reason, if you're going to waste your time telling them what they 
SHOULD be doing, at least have the common damn courtesy to help them along to the 
solution THEY'VE chosen for THEIR computer (perhaps with good reason, perhaps with 
bad). Otherwise you're wasting everyone's time, including your own, and people will 
view you as an enormous ass, blithering hot air wherever you go, and generally 
dampening hopeful spirits with your arrogant assumptions and your pedantic lack of 
comprehension that others may have different circumstances than your own little home 
computer on which you play PopCap Games.

Lastly, a standalone plug for a non-MS OS - I.E. "Scrap your Micro$oft computer and 
get a MAC! Tee-hee!" - REALLY isn't helpful.  First off, if a piece of industry-level 
software won't run under Vista, it sure as hell won't run on a Mac (no, Mac's emulator 
WON'T accurately run every piece of Windows software. Plus it's a layer of abstraction 
that may throw off realtime equipment.)  I also find it odd that proponents of Mac 
computers use an accusatory dollar-sign in spelling "Microsoft" when 
I could purchase >>> more than ten <<< dual-core or quad core PC's (I admit - I get 
a SLIGHT discount on them as a computer consulting business, but still...) for the 
price of ONE of their units. 

And Linux proponents? Don't get me wrong - I've got 2 Ubuntu boxes and a server running 
Suse, but that $#!& isn't helpful coming from your end either. No OS has EVERYTHING. 
Linux is no exception. Get over it. And I know Wine and Virtualbox pretty much do 
anything and everything you could want, but it's still a layer of software abstraction, 
and sometimes in industrial settings, you need software that can communicate DIRECTLY 
to the hardware without abstraction. Plus the guys they hire to maintain these systems 
are occasionally brilliant, but more often the lowest common denominator in our talent 
pool. I mean really - you're not going to pay a guy $250/hr to sit in an office in a 
factory in case something goes wrong once every 8 to 10 months, so you get whoever will 
take the job for $12/hr. And that is NOT someone who can simply switch to a new OS on 

Bear in mind that while you're not always answering the brightest or sharpest people 
in the world, sometimes they're not home users and they're not just trying a rollback 
because they liked the "Start" menu better square than round.

I'll end my little rant with this:  If someone asks a question on the internet, and 
you're taking time out of your one and only life on this Earth.... TRY ACTUALLY 
ANSWERING THE QUESTION THEY'VE ASKED, instead of letting your arrogance and dearth 
of intelligence get the better of you.


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Last edited April 14, 2008 17:40 (diff)