There are two kinds of computer geeks. One is that young’un that you swear isn’t old enough to drive a car. The other is the older guy who started working in computers when it was the old technology. Words like main frame, COBALT and FORTRAN meant something to him. He learned new stuff along the way, but he has a lot of “old tricks” that work today. Really weird stuff but it works sometimes. The young guy knows his stuff too but works inside the box without the creativity of trying weird techniques.
Scenario 1: Several weeks ago, my computer crashed. I had to buy a new one. The question became “can I transfer my files?” The short answer was it depends.
I bought my new computer at a big box computer store. They have prepubescent cherubs that work there. Most of them look like they are 13. They are smart and extremely helpful. I selected a computer. As part of the package, they would transfer my files. They said it would take 24 hours. It took five days.
The guy at the pick-up counter had no details on my computer, like why it took so long. We opened it up. All my documents and photos transferred but none of my contacts or data that was in my email file. The short answer was “it must be corrupted.” It was all gone.
Prior to the purchase, I had contacted a computer guy we use when we hit a computer bump. Some people use their grandchildren, but we have a guy. He’s retired and works on his own. He’s old and wise and “set in his ways” (as my mom would say).
Knowing he had recovery equipment, I contacted him to see if he could transfer the contacts. He said he can do anything (which is what he always says and no he can’t do everything). He stopped by with his portable equipment which he says works 99% of the time. I’m that 1%. He took my hard drive home with him. He talked about putting it in the freezer because it didn’t “spin.” (I know more about computers now than I really want to know!) Freezing makes the metal contract just a tiny bit and that was enough to get it to spin. He gave me a static file that can only be read. That was good enough. I was able to get my old contacts with email addresses, phone numbers and postal addresses. (Note to self: Keep a paper copy in case this happens again.) He did something the young’uns couldn’t or didn’t know.
Scenario 2: At the same time my laptop wouldn’t recognize our internet signal. I could see the neighbors’ signal but not ours. We had gotten a new router system last August and that was the last time my laptop synced. I had a feeling that something needed to be updated but it wouldn’t connect to the internet to update. A real catch-22. I took it along when I picked up my new computer and had the young’uns look at it. They told me something was wrong with my router as it connected to the store system without problems.
Enter the Alexa guy (he’s the guy who installed Alexa in our house including the new router system). He’s older than the young’uns but younger than the old guy. I called him. He said he’s really not a computer guy but he’d look at it. One look told him what I thought. I needed updates. Our router is new technology or at least newer than my computer. He took the laptop home and ran the updates on one of his old systems and it’s working. I’m not sure why the young’uns didn’t figure that out.
Each group has their pros and cons. Perhaps the moral of the story is don’t give up easily if it’s important to you. Just because one person doesn’t know how to do something doesn’t mean it can’t be done and experience is very valuable.
Another tip: The new computers are solid state. They don’t spin. The old guy was very excited about that so it must be better.