Being an IT guy i often get asked for advice with things related to technology. It's not unusual to be invited for dinner somewhere and when you get to your mates house for him to say "after dinner do you reckon you might be able to have a quick look at my computer?" Quick looks don't really exist, normally if its something 'quick' people manage to sort it out on their own, I normally get my own back by enjoying watching them squirm by showing them just how easy it is to locate their hidden porn folder(s). Last time i was asked to have a quick look at someones computer i spent 3 hours after dinner fixing something for them.
At the end of the day you tend not to mind doing this for good friends and family, it generally nets you a case of beer or nice bottle of wine here and there anyway. You also end up with lots of credits in peoples favour banks. My boss once told me he got a fairly large discount off a car he purchased from a dealer cause he fixed a problem he was having with their printer. Surely they could have got someone out to look at it for one tenth of the saving he got.
The thing that i find most amusing is that some people seem to think that seeing as i work in IT that i know everything there is to know about anything that uses electricity. I often get a dinner invite when someone buys a new TV or (and more recently, especially) digital tv recorder. I've had a couple of funny ones, like when someone didn't know how to use their new oven or only last week showing a family member how to use their central heating unit. If it has buttons apparently it's in my realm!
Yesterday was a first though, i was out to lunch with a few people and one of the girls there pulled me aside as soon as she saw me and said "i need to speak to you later" and when seeing the look of 'what about?' on my face she said "its a technical question". I just assumed she (like so many before her) had decided to buy their first apple laptop and after years of only using windows got confused what to do three seconds after turning it on. This wasn't the case here though. Later in the afternoon she took me aside again and told me she wanted to buy a present for her boyfriend but really didn't know all the ins and outs of what to buy. I assumed she was talking about an ipad, a laptop, a printer or perhaps even a tv in a stretch but nope, she wanted to buy him a telescope.
She wasn't exactly sure what all the technical specs meant and before i could get a word in i had already been queried on things like focal length/ratio, dawes limit and aperture. I have no idea and told her as much, said that i really had no experience with telescopes and would assume that the more zoom the better but apart from that i was at a loss. I even explained that the only time i'd ever used one was when i was a kid and we went to my dads mates house down the beach, he had an apartment that overlooked the foreshore (and the people laying on it) ... wow that was a lot of fun. She didn't seemed phased by this though and kept on going with her questions, i suggested if she knew someone that was into photography perhaps they'd be more useful than me. In the end she walked away from the conversation looking defeated, almost like I'd chosen not to give her the info she needed. Ahh well, i guess there is a limit to the ITG's ability after all.
Hope he enjoys his telescope.
Cheers, The ITG.
EDIT: someone has already pointed out to me that some telescopes do use electricity, the fact i didn't know that shows just how little i know about them! also ... shortly after posting this my blog received its 500th page visit :) didn't expect this many people to be reading, thanks heaps!