I’m the resident IT expert in our household. The rest of the family are fairly IT literate, but when the going gets tough, they come to me. When my brother recently asked for a wireless router for his birthday, for example, he was also specific about requesting my services for the installation and set-up of it. When my mum wanted a new printer for her birthday, she asked my dad to buy it but requested I specify which one to purchase.
Recently my brother had a problem with his router, he couldn’t get online, so he phoned me up when I got back from work. He’d spent a large amount of the day on the phone to the ADSL supplier and various other help departments, all to no avail. Now, I swear I didn’t do anything, I got him to feed in his details and check the settings and then, voila, it worked. I didn’t touch it and he swore that he’d done the same thing a number of times that day, he was then convinced it was me that fixed it and proceeded to tell the rest of the family so.
It set me thinking, because this isn’t the first time I’ve fixed something without touching it. I’ve worked in a variety of roles that have included some sort of technical support and I’m the guy you explain your problem to and then can’t reproduce it when you try to show me. All sorts of devices just start working around me. I like to think of it as something akin to what John Constantine has (this may not make sense unless you’ve seen the movie or read the comics). My name has spread through the ether (and ethernet), it is whispered in the dark, electronic corners of the world and machines tremble and behave at the mere mention of it. I have yet to decide on what to call this particular skill, some ideas might be: Machine-fu, Digital Zen or Ma-Chi-Ine are a few of my ideas.
It seems unfair, I thought, to keep this gift locked away for only the few who know me. So I have decided to expand and offer the service more openly to anyone who needs my help with their unruly machines. Think of it like those monks you see in a lot of the Vietnam war films who wander round praising an aircraft, waving twigs at it and flicking water in its direction in return for a small donation.
For a small donation I will focus my formidable skills on the specific piece of equipment that is unbalancing your state of harmony and tell it to stop messing about and get its act together. Acting, if you will, as a digital counsellor/boot camp instructor/disciplinarian/gremlin remover.