Subtitle: How your local computer repair company sees the world of computer professionals.

I thought I would share this email exchange with you as a demonstration of the potential calibre of your local computer repair company... It could have gone into Computer Humor but I have the feeling that it isn't really all that funny.

Introduction: My organization puts out a quarterly magazine mostly for PR purposes in the metropolitan area. They have a section called "Ask the Experts" and the latest edition contained an editorialized version of my "How to protect your home computer". It contained a misquote but that was inconsequential to the subsequent "discussion". In the piece, listed numerically, were the usual go to <insert web site here> and download the free version of <insert security application here> stuff.

A local lady who received the magazine and manages a local computer repair company wrote the following to the head of PR that she forwarded to me:-

Note: Italicized comments in square brackets are mine and the names of the "innocent" are protected.

I want to thank you for sending to us your latest magazine. I found it to look great. [This sentence should have been my first warning. But I'm dumb....]

Being as though we are a computer repair company I of course took a look at the "Expert advice" you were giving your readers. I do not wish to cause any problems [Uh Oh, that's always a sign that someone is stirring the pot] but #1 is inaccurate plus #2,3,4 & 5 (although these exact sites & are reputable for the moment) it is not a good idea to tell people to download anything free.

Again we service a variety of business & personal computers therefore have the luxury of really seeing how users use their units.
Well.... I'm afraid I found that all a little much and certainly thought it required a response:-

I am the MIS for XXX Company and was forwarded a copy of your email to PR Person.

While the first item on the list isn't _exactly_ what I said, (the word "more" is missing), when I was asked for this information I can assure you that by far the highest number of worm infections seem to happen through dial up services. Probably due to the fact these services tend to have the lowest level of users.

As to your comment regarding "it's not a good idea to tell people to download anything free" I would tend to agree with you in general. However, when the advice comes from a person who first entered the computer field in 1982, (yes, 1982, where I began by teaching myself Assembly), who is a 13 year veteran of the Agency, that built the Agency's network from scratch into an 18 location WAN spread across three counties, (all without the need for consultants or contractors), has kept the Agency's 650 nodes free of viruses and worms for almost 8 years, and has reduced the incidence of spyware/malware to the point that occurrences are negligible and has yet to have an incident of system compromise even though he runs 5 web sites, 4 mail servers, FTP servers, 3 DNS servers amongst other things that are all publicly available then the items he suggests are quite probably acceptable to download.

While you are obviously trying to expand your business you should probably do it without critiquing things by people you know nothing about, it comes across as most arrogant.

Thank you for your time
Not to pass up an opportunity to tell me how little I know about computers in the "real world" the dear lady responded:-

How dare you be so rude?

Your credentials are impressive although you have little exposure or a disregard for what the common computer user is doing. My background is not even technical it is human behavior and your suggestions are dangerous to the common computer user.

I was just trying to be helpful, though all things said and done, your advise brings in more business for us.

I am sure you have done a wonderful job at XXX Company.
She really did say I have had little exposure to the "real world"...

Well, you know me.... That absolutely required a respose:-

I was not being rude at all. Your message implied, regardles of the fact that my experience was delineated at the bottom of the article, that _my_ advice to people is not trustable. Now, in your reply, you state that I don't know what the common computer users are doing. On what grounds are you basing that assumption? Just in the last 13 years I have seen thousands upon thousands of "common computer users" both in the course of my employment and outside it.

You accuse me of being rude yet the entire thread of your conversation has been to imply that I am ignorant of the real world with no facts on which to base that assumption. Placed in my situation you would probably consider that rude and resent it too.

The simple fact that, based on a non-technical background, you chose to contradict the advice of an experienced person with a technical background to further your business absolutely smacks of arrogance. You are taking the position that you know better simply because you _think_ you should.

Furthermore, if you wished to question my advice you could have simply requested my email address from PR Person or Other PR Person and dealt with me directly. Had PR Person chosen to forward your initial email to all my users you would have undermined my ability to protect my users in a way that works in the future.

Please, if you have any questions about computer security advice I give in the future feel free to deal with me directly.

Again, thank you for your time.
Well.... Apparently nothing can quench her arrogant, "I know better than you" attitude:-

First of all I apologize for referring to you in the feminine context, PR Person alerted me to this error. [LOL, I guess she's chit-chatting behind my back with PR Person. I wonder if she thought she could win the cat fight with the "female technician"]

I laugh at you calling me arrogant but hey I can take it. FYI my partner built his first computer when he was in the 5th grade (10 years) and he too is self learned primarily that teachers cannot keep up with technology. [Does anyone here understand that sentence?] He alone has 35 years of experience and we have been running a business since 1993 together.

My background is psychology I therefore take a special interest in the customers.

We have become so respected that we service the CEO's that retired from Compuware, FBI, Royal Oak Police & Fire, GM employees, Ford employees, professors from Oakland U, WSU & OCC. My technicians have been interviews by channel 4 & 7. These are just a few to impress you. We deal with individuals and small businesses. In other words we deal with the people reading the XXX Company magazine and I understand human behavior with regard to your suggestions.

I will only make one more suggestion to you. Technicians are a dime a dozen these days, lashing out at your companies customer base will not be helpful to your career.
OMG.... I'm a "Dime a dozen technician" and my career is in jeopardy.... The funny thing is she doesn't even realize that we are her customer - she is the _vendor_ of graphic arts to our PR department.... How dumb can she be?

Add to that the awful grammar/spelling, (yeah, ok, I have a typo too, coming up in my response), she is really coming across as a "professional".

Well.... I decide to run a google search on her company and find they don't even have their own web site. Did I mention her email address is an AOL address? Oops, silly me.... I find a single reference to the "interviews" by the local media she was so proud of.... It appears that Mike Wendland, in a piece about online stalkers of underage girls called them and asked if they ever find pornographic material that might have been downloaded by the kids on home machines. The single line in his report indicated that the technician did.... WOW!!!!!

I'd also love to know which PC her partner built at the age of ten some thirty five years ago..... (Yes, it's possible... But it's unlikely(?)... Which makes me question her veracity).

Now I'm fed up with her and respond:-

Ah, now you threaten me......

Ms. X's Name, you began this "incident" by stating that I give bad advice. You continued it by stating that I don't know what happens in the "real world" and now you tell me that I am a "dime a dozen techinician" [There's my typo... Damn....] and that you could threaten my career. I am not one of your technicians..... you couldn't afford me, trust me.


1. Having or displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance.
2. Marked by or arising from a feeling or assumption of one's superiority toward others: an arrogant contempt for the weak. See Synonyms at proud.

It seems that the cap fits you rather well......

All this coming from a representative of a company that has no web site of it's own and still uses AOL as their email provider...... your list of "credentials" don't impress me either I'm afraid - Mike Wendland asking a technician if he ever finds smut on home computers hardly demonstrates the pinnacle of technical prowess.

This conversation is closed, I don't have time to waste dealing with you any further.
I'm not sure this is over yet but it is a wonderful example of how your local computer repair people may turn out to be a little less adept than they will tell you they are. To be honest I would rather you trust your neighbor's 12 year old.....

Hopefully the saga is closed.... Why do I have the horrible feeling it isn't.

Edited: A bloody Typo.... <LOL>