Monday, June 15, 2009

Geekonomic Stimulus Plan – Part 2

My geekonomic stimulus plan that I revealed in my last column appears to have met the approval of you, the voter, and is being enacted even as we speak. Why, not 5 minutes ago, a customer who said they had studied my plan brought in their computer for service. I am happy to report that she will soon be contributing well over a hundred George Washington’s to my sailboat acquisition fund. This customer claims they followed the first two parts of my plan by not updating their expired antivirus software and not making backups of important data.

Her system was in really bad shape. Most computer technicians would immediately suggest she simply erase the entire contents of the computer and re-load the computer just like it came from the factory. We call this a “wipe-n-load.” My technicians are weird. They find perverse pleasure in discovering ways to remove the nasties from your computer so much that they will spend hours cleaning up the mess you made of your data.

Sometimes, despite their best efforts, even my technicians fail. Like a cancer in a human, the virus sometimes “eats” little chunks of the operating system rendering some parts of your computer unusable or unstable. Like a cancer treatment, sometimes the virus removal process will harm the patient. Sometimes you good people will try to find your own cure and end up making things worse.

So this unwilling participant in my geekonomic plan had known there was something wrong with her computer for months but crossed her fingers hoping the problems would magically disappear. She informed us that she had deleted her cookies, temporary internet files and even ran a “registry optimizer” but none of them had fixed her computer. We didn’t have the heart to tell her that those tools were akin to using a hammer to repair a crack in a glass window.

The registry optimizer she had used was actually a scam that made things even worse for her so that a wipe-n-load was the only option. She had closely followed my suggestion to never make backups of her important data. As a result, she was able to part with another stack of Washington’s that were necessary to motivate us to back up her data before we performed the wipe-n-load.

Not unlike the corporate executives who fly jets to meet with senators to beg for food, we technicians don’t necessarily follow the suggestions in my geekonomic plan. When sufficiently motivated with enough currency we actually provide our customers with the means to avoid participating in my plan. We perform all the updates from Microsoft’s website, install antivirus and antispyware software and stress the importance of backing up your data--and do it with a smile. Honestly, that smile is a little deceiving. It is actually a knowing smile that comes from the knowledge that you will get lazy again. If we did our job right, you’ll remember how hard we tried to help and become a repeat contributor to the geekonomic plan.

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