To Troubleshoot or to Shop

I am a geek… somewhat. So I often find myself (or get called out for) expressing real world situations with tech world jargon. Analogies such as “sending keep-alive packets (to parents)”, “i prefer synchronous to asynchronous communication” when explaining to my arts and humanities girl-friends about why i prefer if a guy just picks up the phone and calls me rather than hide behind a lame text, or “need to reboot” when I just need some down time, are all phrases that frequent my vocabulary.

But lets not confuse cause and effect. It is not because I’ve spent 15 years and change, studying and working in the tech world , that I do geek-speak, but rather, because I have spent several more decades(centuries?) observing and experiencing psychological and social patterns and realize just how much we’re all machines and how humanity is desperately trying to recreate itself via machines and collaboration. So using “machinisms” is second nature at this point.

I’ve also been “on the market”… sort of,  for sometime now, for umm… a guy, i think. At first it was just my social conditioning of wanting or needing to be with someone of the opposite gender, because lets face it, the world just expects you to and finds it really hard to fathom both energies in just one person, one body, one mind.  The world wants to see themselves in you. And its bloody hard to find others like you or that think like you or just are comfortable with your position and hence relate on a regular basis. But then, that reasoning evolved into a higher understanding of energy and love and wanting to or rather, choosing to be with another (read, taking a damned decision! 🙂 ). So yeah, back in the game for a different and more evolved reason… again for quite some time now.

The “search” for the other (or the self?) is on as I meander through life. I meet and see a range of people at various levels of awareness, of the world and of the self. For a whole host of reasons, things do not evolve or evolve the way they do, mostly due to logistics, inconvenience and egos and just a whole heck of a lot of fear (not in me! 🙂 ). (Ego is all fine and really comes in handy for some good things, but its the lack of awareness of how it plays tricks on you that can be confounding at best and debilitating at worst.  But more on that in another post. This one is really about figuring out where you are in the spectrum and how you make your choices.). So wait, is it really logistics and inconvenience and egos or is it just one’s inclination or (in)ability to dig deeper? Let me explain… in geek-speak :).

Human beings are computers. There are mainframes, PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets, handhelds, microchips. Clearly a range in terms of usability, capability (software apps), processing speed, portability, size, etc. but largely similar in value. Once you’ve identified your requirements and pick a domain or category to shop in, its a matter of a) the nuances in the feature set for price point and b) look & feel. Lets say you made a purchase or have a 30-day trial period after purchase.

Life’s good when you open the package from AMZN or elsewhere, the smell of the wrapping, the sleek finish of the shiny new object, the anticipation of first use and just the overall high of having made the purchase. In fact, there’s a lot to be said about the shopping experience itself :).   Its also pretty marvelous as you discover the feature set, unravel how it makes your life easier in many ways, shows you a new way of looking at things and organizing yourself, gives you perspective and in a way opens your world up.

Then one day, there’s an app/feature that had shown promise at the time of purchase, but is one that you can’t figure out, or maybe a powerful spreadsheet application that has some features you’re just not able to work. Ok, no harm done, take the effort, read the manual, scour online forums, figure it out and boom, you’ve learnt some new capability of your acquisition and you’ve enhanced your own skill set a bit. And then another day, there’s a situation where an app just didn’t perform or gave you results you weren’t expecting, you stomp and scream with frustration, you could return the product… but decide to dig a little and realize its you that fed it insufficient data, or expected it to work differently or configured something wrong. User Error! You live, you learn… And yeah sometimes, a call to customer support is all it takes.

In short, if you’re stumped or worse, you hit a wall, there’s usually a good reason if you choose to stop and think and work on it.  Poor performance? Reduce the overload, uninstall a few apps, check for malware, reboot, do the freaking maintenance! If you have the patience you stand a better chance. If you are a hacker and just know better, you stand an even better chance. Heck, if you can write your own program, the world is at your feet! … or you could just stay at your current level of awareness yourself and get back on AMZN for the next shiny object that might be better (easier?). So the choice is really yours.

Snapping out of the analogy for a moment and getting”real”, of course, am not saying you have to live with a pile of outdated junkware that just does not meet your fundamental needs, but… you get the idea… or do you?

Once again, it all starts with knowing your requirements i.e. knowing yourself. Are you a troubleshooter or are you a shopper?


6 thoughts on “To Troubleshoot or to Shop

  1. Nice metaphor Rohita. There is the added complexity of changing requirements too. The product is perfect per spec and functions just the way it always did, but the user might have a different set of requirements due to several different reasons.
    Also, with people, unlike with products, I think we’re like rivers. We flow through life picking up things on the way. We change courses. A person might metamorphose quite dramatically in a period of say 10 years. And its a problem if one’s image of the person doesn’t catch up with that change. Poses for several, at least seeming contradictions between what you had imagined/wanted and what you’re getting. Don’t know if that made sense..

  2. Absolutely Sumithra! And that gets into the topic of *sustaining* relationships, or renewing the contract, where both the machines (the buyer and the buyee?) have to improvise and access functionality within themselves that was not part of original specs, but can be manifested through run-time code generators and such and still maintain the mutual value. Requires a higher level of sophistication and vision in original specification and planning of the machines in the first place. Artificial intelligence and robotics beckons! 🙂

  3. Beautifully written article and amazing metaphors. One small hint -> think of the other world out there – parallel / muti processing.. one does not need to be purely synchronous or purely asynchronous .. one processor can be the conformist while letting the other processing cores experience the enviroment and let the world dictate the capabilities and overloading of other processors…..there shall be no brick walls to hit.. no frustrations to need to reach out to any customer support ..just like the world of computing where we started off with one simple processor, strict architecture, very specific requirements for Apps and with time and maturity developed into multi core complex systems and we’ve even deliberately offloaded some of our responsibilities to others and call it with a trendy name “Cloud” .. back in the day “cloud” was an euphemism for either a dreamer or where the GODS where potrayed to exist in comic books.. letting the new multi dimensional persona of your computer will bring new experiences some that bring joy that can be described and some that can’t. After a while the picky highly selective core will cease to be important and the other cores of processing shall reveal that life works at its own pace and somethings are best when you wait for them..there isnt any wine maker who has has wine on day1.. with time and age comes another completely new dimension of complexity and maturity which is sometimes very hard to describe with a mere QWERTY toy.

    • That is beautiful, Mr. (ahem) TSA838 😉 Thank you for reinforcing what you have consistently otherwise always communicated in as many words without metaphors 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s