Tech Ignorance
Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 9:28AM
Guy Techie in Social Trends
As you may know, I'm a techie - a person who works on computers and anything related.  We have our own jargon, and that confuses people who aren't in the loop.  Still, there are terms that aren't exactly "jargon".

After working at a large retail store as a salesperson, as a help desk technician in several organizations, as well as a freelance techie, I frequently find people giving us wrong information, but since they sound confident enough (and fairly insistence that they are correct), it makes the job harder.

The people who misuse terms don't do it intentionally of course, but it can cause some humorous and frustrating situations.

Computers and Hard Drives

You wouldn't think the word "computer" would be misused, but it certainly does!  People confuse "computer" and "hard drive" a lot!

Working as a salesperson, I frequently have people come up to me and ask for a new hard drive.  So I ask "how big, and what kind?"  They'd tell me the size in GB ("oh about 200 GB").  Of course, when I show them the isle where the hard drives are, they look at me funny.

After explaining it to several users, some are reluctant to believe me.  They think the term "computer" describes the monitor.  Other think "computer" means the entire package (monitor, computer, keyboard, mouse, printer, and speakers).  It's an all encompassing word like "entertainment center".

Of course, they meant they need a new computer!  They don't need the monitor (and sometimes they also say they don't need a printer since they think printers come with the package).  Of course, they still insist that is NOT the computer, but a hard drive.

Some of the humorous experiences include a person who called me and said they don't see anything but a black screen.  I asked them "is your computer turned on?"  She said ensured me that it is.  Thankfully, she was in the same building, so I walked over to her desk and pushed the button on the PC.  I was expecting it not to come on, confirming her story.  But to my surprise, it booted right up!  She asked me "what did you do!?" in shock and awe!  I couldn't say anything as I was just laughing hysterically.  I felt bad for the person because everyone in her department heard what happened.  It was a story my boss found amusing, since it sounds like I just ripped it off from a story posted on TechTales!

Even after explaining this to mistaken users, a lot of them still insist I am wrong, and continue to call things the way they believe it to be.  Good luck to those who stick with that mentality when they ask for help!


I've had many people who come to me and say "I need help... I got a virus".  Now, how do you know you have a virus?  It'd be nice if they told us what kind of symptoms they are experiencing, instead of jumping into a conclusion that won't help us in the slightest.

Some just need more memory, since the machine is slow, or they have lots of programs that run on start up.  Others have spyware that create a lot of pop ups, to which the user believes that it's a handy work of a virus.

Still, jumping into the conclusion that you have virus is like going to a doctor and say "Can you help me?  I have SARS".

So what are some of the stories you have as a techie?  Or better yet, if you are one of these users, feel free to chime in!
Article originally appeared on Rants from a tech addict. (
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