Zach Steiner
Sep 8, 2008

Fixing Computers

As the de facto tech support for my grad program, roommate, and family (which is weird with a PhD electrical engineer and a M.A. in technology education), I am often greeted with awe and wonder (well, not by the immediate family). Not that this is not nice, it is not exactly warranted. It's not really a superhuman ability; it's really just old fashioned trial and error. It's really like the science I teach and purport to practice: form a hypothesis, collect some data, and see if the hypothesis is correct. With computers, you often get less data, but your feedback is a lot more immediate. When my roommate's laptop wasn't connecting to the network, I hypothesized it had something to do with the IP address. The hypothesis was confirmed, but that brings up the frustrating thing about computers. I started doing the thing that ultimately worked, but it didn't work for another 15 minutes of trying that same thing. That brings me to biggest part of fixing computers. Bigger than knowledge. Bigger than this hypothesis testing metaphor. You have to sit there and click the same thing or do the same sequence over and over until it works. It's not a superhuman ability or knowledge it's just patience, persistence, persnickety, and borderline autism.

©2022 Zach Steiner