The tech support generation calls the help desk

I call my parents’ house the Museum of Technological Dereliction so I naturally chuckled when I read this piece about the “tech support generation” — people who return to their parents at the holidays and whose time is mostly occupied with debugging technology issues. Until I showed up at my in-laws, that is. Not funny anymore. It isn’t that I’m asked to fix things, but that I am incapable of not doing so. For example I can’t not intervene when my father-in-law is cursing his all-in-one remote because its interface complexity rivals a CAD program. Similarly I can’t sit by idly while my in-laws watch a standard-def football game on their 61″ High-Def LCOS TV completely oblivious to the fact that a perfectly good high-def version of the same show is on another channel. This isn’t their fault.

I have a specific suggestion on this point. Why not build HD receivers/televisions such that they can alert the viewer when standard-def programming is being watched that also is currently being broadcast in high-def? All the data is there; cable and satellite high-def receivers obviously have all the programming information stored. And most people don’t know when a show has a high-def counterpart. In addition, it would be great if high-def televisions automatically sensed the type of input — DVD, high-def, or standard-def — and changed the aspect ratio accordingly. It pains me to see my in-laws watching standard-def programming warped all over the screen in order to fill it. This is an easy technical problem to solve, it seems to me. Perhaps it has been?

Happy Thanksgiving, America.

One response to “The tech support generation calls the help desk”

  1. michael says :

    The urge to fix people technology haunts me as well. It is also funny that our parents house is where we send our technology to die as well.