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Friday, January 8, 2010

Sometimes the most complex problems have the simplest solution: giving up.

Even though Im the most computer-literate person in the company, I freely admit that within the general population, Im nowhere near the upper percentile. I can make things work, most of the time, and every so often I surprise myself by solving a problem that probably should have taken more expertise than I believe I have. To be fair, when this happens, I usually dont know how I did it, and theres no way I could duplicate it. Back to square one, as we used to say in the days when ledger book grids were as high tech as we got.

The Boss is a very smart man. He has an engineering degree from a major university and is licensed in three states. Hes a problem solver, as long as he can solve the problem with pencil and paper. When it comes to computers, hes as dumb as a turkey in the rain. If you try to explain something to him, his highly advanced brain turns into used coffee grounds.

So you can imagine how much I enjoyed spending a good part of the afternoon trying to explain to him why I couldnt get the information he thought he needed. For one thing, I wasnt even sure myself, except that the web site was broken, or appeared to be broken on the two browsers I used. I should have left it at that, but he wanted more information about the problem than he could handle. I tried, using the simplest terms I could think of, and then trying to dazzle him with fancy technical language.

At one point he asked me, Was that a cough, or are you just frustrated? Well, that was the noise I make for both, so I could have gone either way. I told him the truth, though.

3 January 2010

Finally, after Id convinced the Boss wed already spent too much time in a futile exercise, he called his source, the one he was trying to get the information from, and convinced him to fax the list of names and phone numbers. Oh, yes. He knows how to use a fax machine. (But I think you already knew that.)

Actually, by this point in the ordeal, I had recovered from my frustration and was starting to find it all pretty amusing. When youre trying to teach a cat to fetch, you might as well see the humor in it. Otherwise, its not going to be much fun.

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