March, 2009 Archives

Keeping on Truckin’

dirinda89 bus A great many of FixYa’s Experts are self-taught. It’s something that never fails to impress us. But some of our Experts’ tales of how they got started as technicians are truly amazing. Dirinda89’s is one such story, and we were lucky enough to get her to share it with us.

Five years ago, dirinda89 was on chemotherapy. The effects of the chemo were turning her mind to mush, as she puts it. Rather than passively accept this consequence of her situation, she started looking for something new to learn in order to keep her brain active. She had never used a computer before, and she decided to buy a system and start from square one. Every day during the next three years, while she soldiered through chemotherapy treatments, dirinda89 learned more and more about PCs and electronics. She first learned through trial and error, but eventually started taking college courses in Computer Management, then went on to earn her degree in the field.

Her strength and ability to create a positive from a negative experience is inspiring, but it fits right in with her character- dirinda89 is no shrinking violet. Until October of 2008, she drove an armored truck for Brinks and she considers her favorite hobby to be shooting her various firearms. Let that be a warning to anyone made jealous by her status as a Guru at FixYa, and tempted to do a little down-rating! Dirinda89 can obviously handle all comers- she can even take them for a ride on her 40-foot charter bus.

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Is your Icebox on Fire?

Fridge Fire smIs your refrigerator feeling a little hot? Is your kitchen slowly filling with smoke? If so, step away from the computer, call the fire department, then go to a friend’s house and continue reading this.

Maytag is recalling about 1.6 million refrigerators due to an electrical failure in the relay (for any non-fridge Experts out there, that’s the part that turns on your fridge’s compressor) that can cause overheating and potentially catch fire.

Recalled models were either side-by-side or top freezer, and have been sold under a number of brands including Maytag, Jenn-Air, Admiral, Magic-Chef, Performa by Maytag, and Crosley. You should go to the CPSC site to find out which model/serial numbers are involved in this recall.

Here is a list of the most popular models on FixYa affected by this recall. Please note, this only applies to your refrigerator if it starts with the prefix mentioned on the CPSC site and ends with the serial number also mentioned there.

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Dear Tech Support, we are NOT morons

I’m reading Donald A. Norman’s The Design of Future Things and in the first 30 pages I’ve already found a literary gem:
“As technology became more powerful and complex, we became less able to understand how it worked, less able to predict its actions…Now our machines are taking over. They act as if they have intelligence and volition, even though they don’t. “

The author came to this conclusion after his friend retold a story about forgetting to turn off cruise control and speeding up on a highway exit ramp. Naturally, as we become used to trusting in machines, we are more likely to fail to give direction. And here’s the problem…why is it our failure to give the direction?

After waiting on hold for 40 min, why does a condescending kid on the other end of the line get to make me feel like a moron for a “mistake” that hundreds of thousands of other people have also made?

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An Expert with Real Focus

welcomejeesmIf FixYa’s company camera ever breaks, we know exactly who we’re turning to for advice- FixYa’s own camera Guru, welcomejee. Welcomejee is closing out his first year on the site, but his ever-expanding portfolio of over 3400 solutions makes him a seasoned pro. Not to mention the fact that he’s a Sony-authorized repair specialist with training in TV, camera, CD, LD and DVD players, and Hi-Fi audio systems. He’s also experienced with transistor radios and tape recorders, but his favorites remain camcorder, digital camera, and television repair, and he focuses closely on those categories.

The story of how this Expert came to be would sound familiar to the parents of many of those who frequent FixYa. It was welcomejee’s childhood hobby to tear apart the home electronics to see what was inside. Of course, he destroyed many possessions during such “inspections” as he calls them. But these destructive forays led to the formation of a top-notch Expert who has chalked up an amazing 432 FixYas during his time here.

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