I have been the de-facto tech support person to my circle of friends and family ever since I start working in the IT industry.
Even though strictly speaking I work only with the software side of things, I’ve never been afraid of opening up the box to poke around.
I remembered the first time I opened up a computer by myself. I had just started on my first job, and I wanted to upgrade the CD-ROM drive on my family omputer. The very nice network guy (I forget his name) in the company whom I got to know when I was interning, helped me buy the new drive and gave me some basic instructions. It helped alot that he also let me watch him when he took apart computers to troubleshoot.
I remember sweating like a pig the first time I “operated” on the computer. It went smoothly and the family computer upgraded from a 6x CD drive to a 40x one.
After that first time, I continued to upgrade the family computer, adding a new harddisk, more RAM, network card. Later I partitioned the disk to dual boot with Windows 2000 (on top of the existing Windows 95).
Almost everything I know about “operating” on computers was learnt while experimenting on the old geezer at home.
The 8 year old PII 233 mHz is still running today with its original motherboard and CPU. Just like the Duracell bunny, it keeps going and going, and simply refuses to die. My family still uses it for basic word processing and surfing the net.
I will be the first to say that I hardly qualify as a hardware wiz. I haven’t tried upgrading the CPU and motherboard before [but then I feel that if the CPU really needs upgrading (after upgrading RAM, OS, harddisk), it’s time to get a new computer anyway].
I know nothing about overclocking, or the latest and ‘most’-est in the hardware world. But I do know enough to get by, and help out people around me now and then.
I love computers and am a certifiable computer geek. Even then I find that technology in its current state is still too complex (USB, RAM, megabytes, gigabytes, viruses, spyware, firewalls, bluetooth, wireless G) for the man in the street. I guess I’m still waiting for the day when computers and information technology can integrate into our lives seamlessly, in the way appliances like televisions and mobile phones already are.