Saturday, October 27, 2012

big day

yesterday was the big release of the new operating system that i've been documenting for the past seven months. yesterday also marked my 9-month anniversary at my "new" job.

it's unlike anything i ever thought i would do. i never knew much about computers...i used them for the normal things everyone uses them for, but when it came to troubleshooting and eradicating viruses and changing settings and such, i was COMPLETELY clueless. even reading how-tos online was confusing and miserable.

i've always wanted to be able to fix computers, just because it is so emotionally devastating to me when they get messed up. i'm a stubborn DIY person who would sit in front of my computer freaking out for hours on end, wanting to throw it out a window, rather than hire an expert. it's an extremely vulnerable feeling for me, not knowing how to fix something. i hate it.

so i came to the job eager to learn. for the first couple months they gave me easy stuff to work on, then it got more challenging. now i'm writing and editing tech support documents for things like replacing memory, updating BIOS, fixing broken optical drives, troubleshooting USB drives and memory card readers and misc. peripheral devices, improving system performance, etc.

a lot of what i've been working on for the last few months is rewriting popular support documents for the new OS. it's actually really fun, especially creating the graphics. figuring out the re-writes can be tricky--the process is never the same, sometimes it's radically different.

now that i'm familiar with how these things are done it's a treat to get to start a whole new document from scratch. the first one i wrote was pathetic...not only did i have no idea what i was doing, but the information source was weak: a powerpoint about how this new technology was theoretically *supposed* to work, but no info from experts who had actually tried it, and no way to test it myself. it was a nightmare, i still suspect it might have been part of a hazing ritual. the main obstacle was that i needed a phone with NFC capability. no one in the office had one.

about a month ago i bought a samsung galaxy s3 that has NFC. (NFC = near field communication, the thing that lets devices share info by bumping into each other). we also got this gorgeous new computer that has NFC, and the new OS has native support for NFC. so for about a week i was doing hands-on research and experimentation, sending things back and forth by touching the phone to the computer. there isn't a lot of documentation out there about this yet, so i felt like a trailblazer, it was exciting!

another fun thing about the job is that i get to do a few hours of tech support on an online forum every week. last week i reached "expert" status. they had this fun caricature of me made for my profile avatar:

created by this artist. i love the forums. it's wonderful getting to help people directly, and i learn a lot doing it.

so that's the gist of my slow descent into nerdism thus far. i haven't written on here about my job very much, because it probably doesn't sound very interesting, but i'm having a good time with it. the high points might not be as high as at my last job, but the low points are much easier to deal with--there's pretty much no stress. my worst days there are just kind of boring.


Kim and Victoria said...

Wow Emily! Sounds extremely cool to me! Congrats.
I moved into a data entry position at work about 3 months ago and its been a challenge, which would not be much compared to what you're doing, but for me to go from baking to data entry has been very different. I like it though. I like the part about needing to solve all sorts of problems. It makes the day go by fast.

Bumble Lush Garden said...

Glad to hear you like your new job! Sounds like you're learning a lot. As someone who always has to call tech experts for help, I appreciate and admire all that knowledge. Nice avatar!

Emily said...

victoria--that is a big change, i didn't even know the co-op had data entry positions. i know exactly what you mean about solving problems making the day go faster. when i have lots to figure out the day flies by. i'm glad you like your new position!

bumble lush--thanks! have you ever tried online forums for tech help? not the kind where you pay for answers, but free ones...i wasn't very aware of them before i started contributing to one. it opens your questions up to a very large pool of people, some of whom might just be experts in exactly what you're asking about.