Hank’s Big Bass

It’s high season for the striped bass (I like how the old timers pronounce it “stripe-ed”) on Cape Cod, so at a Friday night family cookout the cellphone call came from a buddy fishing at a UDL (undisclosed location) with the news that he had just landed a large fish and there were more where that one came from. After making social with the wives and kids, the men-folk went into stealth preparation mode, everyone running to garages to dust off fishing rods and dig out rusty lures.

My brother Henry, besieged father of a 10-month old who has the bewildered look of a man who wonders if diaper pails last forever, wanted to go, but needed to check for permission first. I swung into big brother duty and asked for him, secured the yard pass, and off we went, bouncing down a dirt road in a truck loaded with rods, beer and eels.

Henry was under-equipped, had ancient line on his reel, but made his way out into the darkness and out onto the end a stone jetty. The rest of us hung back at the truck, drinking beer and rigging up, telling fish stories and admiring our buddy’s first fish, the one which drew us there in the first place. It was a perfect night, lights winking on the horizon of Nantucket Sound, just enough wind to keep the no-see’ums away.

“Yee-haw!”

We stopped talking and looked out towards Henry. Another “yee-haw”. Then another.

I walked down to the waterside with my youngest son.

“Look at the size of this fish. I think it’s the biggest I’ve ever caught.”

Henry was bent over the fish on the beach beside the jetty. He had indeed caught himself a nice bass.

There was much posing for the camera and fish for the family dinner.

Proactive tech support – further thinking …

Technical support has always been an oxymoron for most owners and users of anything electronic. The dreaded process of dialing an 800 number, navigating the voice prompts, and then being told there is a 45 minute wait before a person can help you has made tech support a universally deplored experience. The oxymoron part is the doomed belief that there will be no support at the end of the whole tedious affair. As someone who has been tangentially involved with the tech industries since 1984, and who has spent his fair share of time on hold, I can empathize with anyone who rants off on a blog about how vendor X’s products suck.

When my microwave died last month, there was no inclination on my part or my wife’s to dredge out the documentation and call Sharp’s 800-number. There was no way the machine was going to get fixed through the kitchen version of CTRL-ALT-DEL, one is not encouraged to pop the screws and start messing with jumpers, and the price point is low enough that in our minds, after a few years of hard use, its failure was marked down to old age and the cost of living.

But when a notebook or desktop computer dies, the stakes are incalculable for the profound reason that these things are our lives. Deadlines live in these things, works of immeasurable creative genius, MP3 collections stolen over years of Napster downloading; it all lives in these things. If the machine dies, that stuff dies with it, and I don’t care how obsessive you are, no one backs their stuff up enough. Continue reading “Proactive tech support – further thinking …”