An Experienced Eye

There’s an old adage about a guy who takes his car to a mechanic.  The car is coughing and banging and sounds like it is dying.  The mechanic listens for a minute, then takes a hammer and takes a big whack at the engine, which then starts purring perfectly.  That will be $200 please.  ‘WHAT? You want me to pay you $200 for hitting my engine with a hammer??’ No, replies the mechanic.  I want you to pay me $200 for spending the time to know where to hit it, how hard to hit it, and that the hammer was the right tool.

I was dropping something off for my son the other day when Theresa asked me to look at the computer.  ‘It seems to work fine, but it won’t connect to the Internet.’  This can mean any number of things.  I booted it up, logged in, and sure enough, I could not surf the Internet.

I ran a couple of very quick tests and then proclaimed ‘Yep, it’s malware.’

My sixteen year old son looked at me quizzically and asked how I knew.  The answer is simple… experience.  When you have been in the industry long enough, there are some things that you are going to know.

He was sceptical of course, and asked why I didn’t just re-install Windows.  Instead I went to another computer, downloaded the installation package to Windows Intune (which includes Windows Intune Endpoint Protection), and installed it.  I told him to leave the computer on and then try it in the morning.

Over the next couple of hours I got several texts – from him and Theresa – telling me the computer wasn’t doing anything.  ‘Is there anything I am supposed to be doing?  What should I be seeing? Nothing is happening!’ I kept reassuring them that it was working in the background, and to confirm I told them a couple of things about the computer that I wouldn’t have known, unless the Windows Intune agent was actually reporting back to my account from that computer.

The next morning I got a text from Theresa telling me that the computer was now fixed.

The moral of the story is not ‘Trust your IT guy!’, nor is it ‘You may have a virus.’  The moral is that experts are usually experts for a reason, and the seasoned ones don’t spew out platitudes.  If you think your IT Pro is charging you a ridiculous rate, he is not doing it because he is greedy; it is because like any other professional he has invested the time and effort into learning his trade.  If it hurts to think that he or she charges you $150 an hour to get your computer back up and it only took him 15 minutes, stop thinking about it as an hourly rate because what you are really doing is paying him to fix your computer.  If it takes him 5 minutes or 45 you are paying him the same, yes… but not for time, for expertise. 

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