A word of thanks to Aseem Kishore at Help Desk Geek

This wouldn’t have been the first time I bought a wifi adapter—the first time was back in NYC, when laptops took PCI cards—so they should be dead simple to install, right? Despite an OAP on Amazon.com saying, in his review, that he had no issue with his Level One WUA-0605, which arrived overnight from Ascent (props to them), naturally, things took four hours here (still an improvement on a day and a half) because, put simply, reading the manual does not work. In fact, it’s a useless manual, which simply rewords what one sees on screen with no attempt to explain the jargon and acronyms—about as helpful as a Macintosh help screen to a layman. Why, oh why, does one need a computer science degree just to deal with basic matters?
   This post, however, is not to complain about the lack of care in manual-writing. It is to publicize the helpfulness of two parties when things got tricky. First, Joe Ruwhiu at Ascent was very helpful in offering to forward any technical issues back to Level One. Secondly, despite a myriad of pages covering the problem of “can connect to my router but not the internet”, offering well meaning advice that was, sadly, ineffective to me (I had a reasonable idea of what I was doing, and that the majority of settings at and to the router, the TCP/IP and security were correct), only one was methodically written and gave step-by-step instructions on what to do. As it turned out, step one was successful. To Aseem Kishore, who wrote his piece in November 2008, I thank you. Now, if only people who wrote manuals did so as clearly as you write your help articles—with an understanding of the regular person.

Keyboard update: I ordered a Manhattan 177528, which appears to be a clone of the Ione Scorpius U2, from Taiwan. It’s not mechanical, but a scissor-switch keyboard, which is the next best thing. I type efficiently on my laptops, which have all had scissor-switch keys, and at US$18 (plus another US$18 for shipping), it seemed too good a price to pass up. My mechanical-keyboard quest, eventually, came up with nothing that fulfilled my requirements, and I wasn’t sure about what type of keys the one Razer that looked right had.
   To top it off, when I emailed Manhattan Products, I actually got a reply from an Emmy Wang in Taiwan, who explained to me the features of he 177528 keyboard. She also noted that if I had a concern over the keys’ noise, there was an alternative. That’s quite a step up from Intopic, to whom I also wrote after buying one of their keyboards, raving about it and suggesting they should look at retailing here in New Zealand. I never received a reply to that, and I was a satisfied customer. How would they treat a dissatisfied one?

PS.: One day later. Aseem’s fix does work—but for me it meant employing it every time that computer rebooted. The adapter would fail each time I started up and required the fix. And since the gadget was for Dad, I didn’t want to subject a man in his 70s to feeding in DOS commands every day. So, after another few hours, I came across the fix at a Microsoft page and downloaded the ‘Fix it’ app. Running that seems to have worked but considering that’s only one of about seven reboots today, the jury’s still out. I still wish these things would work the way the manufacturers claim, but my experience is that there’s always tinkering involved—something I can’t imagine the average user would be bothered doing. Joe at Ascent was willing to give a refund or replacement.—JY

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3 thoughts on “A word of thanks to Aseem Kishore at Help Desk Geek

  1. A-ha. Now I have the full context to your tweets and now I understand better what you were working on.

    Why, oh why, does one need a computer science degree just to deal with basic matters?

    Excellent question- a rhetorical one, yes? Well, my quick answer is “not a good enough abstraction layer”. I’m using that much more broadly that the term technically means, because I think most software engineers would not include a GUI in such considerations. Or, more simply, the engineers don’t really consider the layman and these sorts of situations.

    I think we’re drifting away somewhat from the concept of “user-friendliness” as far as personal computing (wait, is that term obsolete already? personal computer?)

    I think Apple has been most enduringly famous for emphasizing user experience. Not the only one that excelled, but the one most remembered. But Apple has moved on to mobile devices, and when you said

    about as helpful as a Macintosh help screen to a layman

    I think, “oh yeah, Macs have the Darwin kernel, and therefore, a UNIX-like system.” And then I think about your first statement I quoted and I think, “well, gee, that’s my experience with Linux generally.” Always coming back to the command line, or researching something for a long time. Of course, I learned a lot of things about Windows the hard way, too.

    Re: keyboards, I realized I didn’t understand their mechanics, and so I looked up scissor-switch and read all about keyboard tech generally. Yes, Wikipedia. I’ll make a doctorate-level research analysis another day.

    Right now I am using a Saitek Eclipse II. I like the backlit keys, but I was sadly mistaken to think I’d escape a problem with the printed keys wearing out (they’re laser etched on a black coating)– it’s actually worse, now. Oh, and I can’t get all this dust and crumb crap out (yes, I also eat at the desk sometimes). So when Slashdot had a little article on a new keyboard from Logitech that was easily washed, I started paying attention. The quick analysis: the trade-off on the Logitech K310 is rubber dome-switch keys. Specs claim Windows is needed but that might be for features I’ll never use.

    oh, lastly:
    but my experience is that there’s always tinkering involved

    I’m sure I have more time than the average user– and I *am* a tinkerer. Again, that about describes my experience with Linux, but I take the tradeoff because I can’t afford more. I will tinker and tinker because “tinker-free” usually means $$$.

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