A few times a day – every day – I get somebody asking me why their computer or phone won’t perform some basic task that it usually performs with no problems. Seriously. People take time out of their day to phone me with this. Friends, co-workers, clients, parents, even my dog Zeke Andrew Pancakes.

So here is my advice to you before you bother your favourite geek with any computer problem; try a reboot. That will be the first thing he/she will suggest to you most of the time.

If a reboot doesn’t work, then turn the machine off for at least 60 seconds (you need to give your hard drive time to spin all the way down to a complete stop). Power it back up and if it’s still misbehaving, carefully note any error messages you see and call your nerd. Make sure those error messages are copied precisely, right down to the punctuation and the correct case. In nerdspeak, “BLig” is very different from “blig” or “BLIG”.

My personal preference is that once we are talking, I will ask the questions. Spending time telling me a bunch of information that you believe to be important, but I know to be unimportant is irritating and a waste of both of our time. Tell me the problem you’re having. Tell me you have already tried a reboot and a restart. Tell me the exact error message you are getting. Then shut the hell up until I ask you to speak.

We’ll both be happier.

– BLig (AKA Mordac)