Computer Says No

By Sandra Quinn

‘Computer Says No!’ – this is a common phrase bandied about in the modern world when people of any age from all walks of life, encounters a problem with their PC, laptop, tablet, mobile phone or smart device.

Not many people will be able to or even inclined to recall where the phrase originated from, but it is actually from an episode of the wonderfully hilarious and cleverly witty ‘Little Britain’ in which Carol says ‘Computer Says No’ umpteen times as an IT support-esque response to any and all tech queries.

This is now almost the default phrase, particurarly in Ireland and the UK where Little Britain is well-known and much loved, when anyone encounters a complicated computer problem, but it is often much more than that.

We are living in an age where the internet is used for everything (well, almost) and almost every device, whether in the professional, personal or domestic spheres, is connected to the internet for some level of its core functionality.

For instance, this writer just purchased a very fancy MacBook Air and without the internet, it is essentially a chunk of metal, which can use less than ten of its features.

Just the other day, there was a caller on the Irish radio station, TodayFM, who spoke about a gag himself and his brother played on his mother over Christmas.

In a nutshell, they convinced their mother that her new fridge and dishwasher were both smart enabled with Wifi connectivity and that the appliances would correspond to their mother via text message once the set-up had been completed.

Over the course of the festive period, the poor woman was getting text messages from the ‘fridge’ telling her when something was taken out, put in or when something was about to expire, as the two sons relished the task of confusing, confounding and amazing her all at once. They didn’t give up the game until they texted, from the ‘fridge’ before they all went home to return to the routine of work and the New Year saying ‘You left the fridge open AGAIN’.

This has in fact inspired a new invention, which will do just what they envisioned and it does indeed sound like something quite wonderful and innovative, but like most great inventions, it arose from a need and that need produced an idea, a prototype and eventually a new product.

Going back to the overarching point of this blog, when a problem pops up on a device, as was said on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ popular TV show the other night, there are two types of people in this world, those who call tech support and those who laugh at those who call tech support and never a truer thing has been said.

Personally, I am the one who calls, as I get frustrated and annoyed at my husband trying and failing to fix something, without once referring to the instructions. On the other hand, my late father was very handy, as is my brother and both would be technically minded and would be inclined towards taking something apart into tiny components for the fun of seeing how it works and fixing something if it breaks.

On the polar opposite side of things, this writer would be more likely to throw something away than attempt to even so much as change batteries, which require a screwdriver, or do anything which requires watching a YouTube tutorial video.

It just goes to show what kind of disposable society we live in today, people are more inclined to throw something away than fix it and items are so cheap that it is sometimes easier to buy something in duplicate than to get it fixed.

So, the question is, what kind of person are you – the one who calls tech support or the one who laughs at those who call tech support?

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