A man's got to know his limitations…

An interesting coincidence happened to me this week: two women both e-mailed me for advice on matters computer-related. The irony is, they both know me to be proficient in related fields, but not in the precise field they sought my opinion.

The first was an ex-girlfriend. (We parted ways after discovering we had too much in common. For example, we both preferred the company of women.) I had helped her obtain her last computer, and it recently gave up the ghost. She is looking to replace her late-and-lamented Pentium 166 (yes, it WAS that long ago), and is looking at laptops. All she wants is something that can run Word, Acrobat, and browsing. She’s looking at rebuilt Dells for around 800 and Wal-Mart has ECS for 6-700s. There’s also these guys, who have used laptops starting at 300 and whom I have been a loyal customer for several years.

I built my own computer. It’s a full tower, with ZIP drive, CD-RW, DVD-RW (dual format), DVD-ROM, and four hard drives. I have a fifth hard drive in a USB enclosure, and I still think I’m running out of space. I know squat about laptops. I’ve always sneered at them as too puny to suit me. Now this dear friend wants MY opinion on them. All i know is the MicroSeconds guys are pretty decent, ECS makes motherboards that I’ve used in the past, and Dell seems to have a pretty solid reputation. Anyone want to help my friend?

The second woman to e-mail me for help is a regular commenter here who is considering starting her own blog, and is intimidated by the technical aspects. She wants my help and advice in getting started. After all, I AM one of the three regular contributors to a top-20 blog, so I must know a hell of a lot about that, right?

What the hell do I know about blogging? I was a wise-ass who kept scoring high in Caption Contests and cranked out a rant or two, and the next thing I know Kevin’s given me a spare key to his palatial estate! We will now pause briefly while Kevin and Paul recall the several times I completely and utterly broke the site and left a huge mess for them to clean up after me. Here and here are two of the more egregious examples.

OK, I think they’ve had time to regain their composure.

One of my mantras in life is that I have many flaws and weaknesses, but self-deception is not one of them. Both these women have come to me for my advice, and I am so far out of my depth I’m looking up at whalecrap. However, I do have a few resources to get them the info they required — namely, all you kind folks. I still have a few GMail invitations lying around collecting dust, so I’ll toss up to four of them out to people who give my friends the best advice they can about their dilemmas.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled Kerry roast…

J.

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