I had to ring a Software Support Centre this morning, since one of our programs was broken.
The first thing to impress upon you all – and regular readers will not believe this – is that for once I wasn’t the person who broke it. I have written before about my computer illiteracy, about the number of times I’ve heard a support person say “well, I’ve never seen anyone do that before, I didn’t think it was possible”, about the fact that the Amish know more about IT than I do.
If “upskilling” were a real word (and sadly, I believe that it is) then computer upskilling for me would be the ability to find the Caps Lock button without my eyes darting frantically about the keyboard like a pigeon looking for a worm.
But this time I had nothing to do with it, the girl who does our invoicing tried to create a customer called “Uniphar”. Whatever she did, when she was finished if one keyed in “Uniphar” the customer Uniphar did indeed appear on the screen, but so did 22 other customers, all called Cork County Council. Meanwhile, keying in “Cork County Council”, who are a long standing customer, gave no results at all. I have always liked this girl but now like her more than ever, since I’m beginning to suspect that we might be related.
Anyway, she was off today so somehow I got the job of ringing for help, and got a lovely-sounding Indian girl called Arin (if you’re reading this, Sage, she was absolutely brilliant). She took my call and didn’t yelp in terror when I gave her my name so she’s possibly too young to have heard of me, or else believes that I am a myth, a story made up to frighten new support engineers. She patiently and knowledgably took me through the problem, tried a couple of solutions, and eventually said “sorry, I’ll have to use remote access”.
I impressed myself by knowing what this means, it means that she gets to see my screen and even to move my cursor around the screen, clicking at my icons, which is not unfortunately as much fun as it sounds. She linked up (I had to press things at my end too, I was like her deputy) and asked could she take a back-up. I said yes, so she clicked Backup (even I knew that was right) and a suggested back-up location appeared on the screen.
“Is that on the hard drive or on a network?” she asked. I had a split second of panic and then realised that I knew the answer.
“It’s on a network,” I said proudly.
I can well imagine those of you who’ve known me for a long time hugging yourselves in joy as you read this, calling out to friends and loved ones “guess what, Tinman knows stuff about computers.” Well, I was thrilled too, I was carrying on a conversation with a highly-skilled IT expert without embarrassing myself by doing or saying anything stupid. If I wasn’t quite as far as Ept, I was certainly no longer Inept.
I was practically preening myself as she brought up the list of customers and asked which one she was to fix.
“That one,” I said.
Pointing at the screen. With my finger.
Damn, I’d been so close.