Information Technology (I.T.) should be All Technology (A.T.)

As I sit in the lulls that buffer the crisis that always loom on the horizon and read Slashdot or one of the millions of other sites that provide information online, I usually find someone coming to me with a problem that they’re having with technology. These days these are not usually computer-related problems though, they’re with something else because it seems and as time goes on, the term ‘I.T.’ has taken on broader meanings, seeming to cover anything that gets plugged in around the office.
For instance, the latest one has been cellphones. People (or their kids) will accidentally press some button that makes the phone do something weird and they come to us to figure out what that was. I suppose it’s our fault as we usually always solve the problem, but let’s face it, going through the grpahic menus on a phone is a whole lot easier than trying to figure out what module dependency is making your kernel not compile properly in Linux.
For the most part, I don’t really mind it as it gives a break from the status quo computer crashes that always seem to happen and gives me a chance to play with something new. In the case of upper management, I often get the chance to play with something very new, which can be fun, but is also something of a curse because these are the guys (yeah, it’s pretty much always the guys) who buy some new toy that is way overpowered for what they need and after buying it, they discover the horrid evils of being on the bleeding edge. So, it comes to us and we have to figure out why it won’t work, which in the case of the Treo line of smartphones is because the damned things were released before fully tested. “Soft reset… and there ya go, your Treo 650 is just great now.”
For general questions about general office equipment my favorites have to be the fax and copy machines. People always ask questions about those mystery boxes and I really have only three solutions for them. The first is turn it off and turn it back one which solves around 90% of the problems. The second is to call in a technician because I’m not about to go at those things with a screwdriver. The third is to replace it. The last is very true in the fax machines, since it is just not worth repairing a $100 fax machine when repair rates are $75 an hour.
Looking over all of this, I guess I understand why people keep coming to us, but it’s really weird how IT has come to be known as this repository for wisdom of all that is electrical and digital.