My favorite part of this entire book is his description of how terrible it is live in the DC area. The traffic. The people. Just trying to get around is an entire evening’s endeavor.
The second part I loved about this book is his description of the access to some administrators have. The ability to look into each and every part of a system because that person has to administer and fix that system when it breaks is like the hand of God reaching out over computer files and information.
Trust is a huge requirement when it comes to administering computer systems. Trust can easily be broken when there’s no oversight. And can be easily abused when there’s no accountability.
The hardest part of this book to read, by far, was the portions of his girlfriend Lindsay’s journal entries.
I am a mighty builder. I make mountains out of mole hills. That’s how I treat problems in my life. The unknown. The inconvenient. The wastes of time. The points where failure has occurred somewhere and I need to correct it.
Recently, I returned two books to my local library. I dropped them off in a stack on the return counter as I have countless times before. The library staff collected and checked in one book. The other book escaped.
Once I realized what had happened, via an email from the library. I went in to take care of it in person. Unfortunately, I went on July 4th holiday (Independence Day) and found a closed library. Which made sense, I was off work for the holiday as well, why did I think the library would be open?
So I couldn’t take care of it. Then I forgot about it for a few days. Until I went to look up another book to see if it was available. The website reminded me I had a book overdue.
Filled with anxiety, I was ready to explain and re-explain what happened. Ready with dates and times and the titles of both books. And it was all for nothing.
I spoke to a woman and explained what happened. She cleared the book from my account and went about her day. She sounded hurried and busy. She was short but polite on the phone, and resolved my issue (and my anxiety) quickly and professionally.
I had worried about this exchange. I thought I wouldn’t be able to prove I did not have the book it would haunt me. I imagines building up a huge overdue fee as the days turned into weeks. And the weeks into months. Eventually having to give up all use of the public library after being branded a book thief.
After the fact, my wife told me this probably happens everyday and they’re used to it. Books get misplaced. Scanners malfunction. Computer systems have bugs. And I’m sure some percentage of books do walk away.
But I will not bear the brand of a book thief. A Bad Patron. I did my part. Something else didn’t happen as it should have. It’s not a big deal. It’s a small issue to fix. But those small issues loom large in my brain.
I was reminded of this event today when I saw a similar event today.
The Orwell Foundation and UCL Festival of Culture are delighted to announce a live, start-to-finish reading of Nineteen Eighty-Four in Senate House, University of London. For the first time in the UK, hear Nineteen Eighty-Four read by a host of actors, writers, journalists and members of the public over the course of a single day in the centre of London. This unique event, part of the UCL Festival of Culture 2017, is free and open to the public.
Unlike the DC event, London’s event is available in its 11 hour entirety. (I’ve skipped the first 11 minutes, 15 seconds as they are silent.) I’ve read this book many times and look forward to listening to it again.
Writing a book is hard. Putting words together and having another set of professional eyes fix them is painful.
My book is a collection of essays and it was covered in red once I got it back from the editor. And I’m thankful it was. I know I don’t write perfectly. I have no clue what to do with semi colons. Commas confound me. I spell well but my grammar is a mess.
My little book had gone from Markdown file to Word Document to Scrivener file. Now it’s a book. I can see it on my Kindle. I can send it to friends to get their reaction.
I learned how to make a book. How to write it. How to get it edited. Made those edits. How to format it. Now it’s real.
Now I’m learning how to sell it. How to price it. How to tell people about it. How to let is loose into the world. It’s all a great experiment.
A terrifying experiment. It’s the first time in years I’ve made a thing that I’ve put out into the world. It’s not a blog post. The living beast that slowly gets bigger and longer with the passing of time.
A book is a thing. Even if it gets updated or expanded upon. It’s still a snapshot of time. When those words existed in that order in a finite way.
And it’s almost done. Beyond the Reboot will be out soon once I made the last changes based on feedback I got from my wonderful friends who were gracious enough to look at it and tell me what I had long gone blind to.
Beyond the Reboot is about being a better technician. It won’t tell you what tools to use or how to fix problems. Those are skills that are easy to learn and have already been covered to death elsewhere.
Beyond the Reboot is a book about the human side of technical support. It remembers the Customer in Customer Service. It’s a reminder that we’re all here to serve the people behind the machines. The machines are coming for our jobs. We don’t need to give them any help. We need to help people.
And I think this little book will. And I hope you do too.
Have you tried turning it off and on? It may fix some problems, but customer service and tech support is more than learning how computers work. Learning how people work is just as important.
Buy my book!