The IT Guy: A look back

mbonner@islandpacket.comNovember 5, 2011 

This is my 26th column, which means I've officially been writing it for a year now. If you'll allow me a self-indulgent look back, I'd like to share some of the highlights.

I asked to write this column so that I could contribute beyond my day job -- these are trying times for the newspaper industry, and I wanted to do more to help, in my own way.

By far the most gratifying thing for me has been helping readers with their tech questions. I have received more than 200 questions in the past year -- everything from running Windows 98 on a virtual machine to Active Shutter glasses for 3D TVs.

Our community is home to some very tech-savvy people, and thankfully, I was able to assist just about everyone who wrote. (To the gentleman who couldn't get his Internet Explorer to stay in full-screen mode even with changing the registry setting, I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help.)

I've been thrilled by the response to the column and am gratified that our readers have taken advantage of the opportunity to ask technical questions and get a helpful response in return. That was the idea.

Now, it hasn't all been wine and roses. By far the lowlight of this year was the column I wrote about the best apps for Android. Despite the entire point of the column being about helping Android owners to make their lives easier, the column wasn't sufficiently "pro-Android," and so I earned the wrath of Android fanboys. I was called "stupid" and a "moron," and was told that I "didn't know what I was talking about."

Arguing over the Internet is, of course, a complete waste of time, but my poor mother was horrified reading the comments online, so I did feel the need to respond, which I normally wouldn't do.

To be sure, the iPhone/Android holy war is every bit as intense -- if not more so -- than the Mac/Windows fights of the past decade, in which I also participated.

My theory is that while we view the computer as a tool, the smartphone is a much more personal device -- almost an extension of our arms.

After all, you don't often see people risking their lives crossing the street while typing on their laptop.

People are sensitive to any attack -- real or perceived -- on something that is so important to them.

Beyond that, another unexpected bonus was the new friends I've made within the Sun City Hilton Head and Hilton Head Island computer clubs. I was invited to speak to their groups, which was a great experience for me. I'm by no means a public speaker, and feel much more comfortable talking to my iPhone than a large room full of people, but it was a lot of fun. I spoke about the impact the iPad has had on my 2-year-old son and how it's helped him to learn so much at such an early age, and was happy to pass on his experience.

Several people approached me after to share that they had small children with learning disabilities in their families, and that they would try out the iPad immediately.

There's no better feeling than to know you've helped someone. I look forward to year two of this column, and please keep sending in those questions.

Morgan Bonner is Pre-Press Manager and a systems administrator for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette

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