I love technology. I can’t explain why. I don’t even know when this affinity started. Just that as long as I can remember it being a part of my life, I’ve loved it. Maybe it’s from the countless hours of enjoyment I get from playing video games. Or the many times it has helped me get through boring car and train rides. Or the convenience it brings to people like me who hate lining up to do shit.
Which brings me to my next point. I always get asked, “how do you know how to do this or that? Why are you so good with computers?”
Trust me, I’m not great – just competent. And as to how I ‘got’ computers, it’s simple – trial and error. A lot of trial and error.
When I was younger, I didn’t know jack about fixing computers. Adding or removing hardware. Troubleshooting software problems. Formatting hard disks and reinstalling operating systems. And all that other PC related nonsense.
I remember when I was still using my first computer (it was a family machine kept in my parent’s room) and I had some new hardware to install. I think it was a CD writer. Or sound card? I forget. I had seen the inside of my computer, I thought it would be a straightforward process. How wrong I was. I knew nothing, but that didn’t stop me from trying.
I remember that sinking feeling in my gut when I tried turning the machine on and the screen remained blank. Then I had to get my mom to drop me off at the neighborhood PC shop to get the drive installed. But instead of just dropping my PC off at the shop and heading home, I stayed at the shop while my mother went back home.
I stayed to watch the men muck around the insides of my computer. I wanted to see how they did it. I wanted to learn.
This happened many times. Each time there was a new part to install, I’d try it out myself first. And I’d fail. I never got anything right the first time.
Most people probably would have given up by then and left it to the professionals. Not me. I don’t know why I didn’t give up. I probably believed that I could do it all myself. I just needed to learn how!
I don’t remember when it all clicked, it was much later in my life. But when I got it, I was happy. I was proud. I could install my own hard disk, RAM, and graphics card. The feeling was great! I no longer had to send my computer to the shop. I saved money by not requiring service charges, and I felt accomplished being able to do shit on my own.
Sure, I still couldn’t fix the sink or unclog the toilet. But I could fix my own computer. And that’s all that mattered to me.
I remember when it was time to build my own computer. I bought the parts, went over to a friend’s place (thanks Matt!) and got started. He was the real pro. At this time, I hadn’t dealt with stuff like power cables to the motherboard and mucked around with parts like the processor. So he taught me the ropes. I watched and learn. I got it pretty much rightaway.
Oh man, that feeling you get when you assemble your own computer for the first time, you turn it on and it boots up correctly? Orgasmic.
Since then, I’ve helped a couple of friends assemble new computers as well as put together a new PC for myself and I can safely say I know what I’m doing. I’m still clueless about advanced stuff like water cooling systems and linking multiple graphics cards – but I’m sure I’ll figure out one day.