“Is your computer a pretty blue colour?”

God bless the computer support technicians, every one.

I've never worked in tech support, but I have filled in for vacationing/ill/hiding supportfolk and, as a "computer person", I've helped my share of friends, family, and coworkers out of their simple problems and into giant, bottomless ones.

In one such instance back in 2000 or so, I was briefly manning a Whitehorse ISP's support desk. A woman called in needing assistance setting up her network connection. I first asked if she was using Windows. She was. I began walking her through the procedure, from the Start menu, to the Control Panel, and then on to the TCP/IP configuration under the Network Connections doohickey.

All seemed to be going well until I asked her what she had displayed in one of the configuration screens. Her answer was completely perplexing; she didn't seem to be looking at anything like the same screen that I had before me.

Since I had Windows 2000 on my desktop, and most customers had Windows 95 at the time, I expected a little bit of difference, but nothing she described sounded like anything I knew from 95, 98, or even 3.1.

I asked her again if her computer was running Windows, Microsoft Windows to be precise. "Oh, yes" she replied, quite certain.

We started from scratch, but the next time through, things got even more confusing. Nothing she described on her screen sounded the least bit familiar.

Then it hit me.

"Is your computer a pretty blue colour?"

"Yes, white and blue. Why?"

"Is the word 'iMac' printed on the front."

"Oh, yes. My computer is a Macintosh."

Silent scream.

"Oh, then I've been giving you all the wrong instructions because I thought you were using Microsoft Windows."

"I am using windows. The windows are all over my screen."

"Yes, I understand. I just thought you were using Microsoft Windows. Windows with a capital W."

"Should I be pressing the shift key when I type?"

I must have some support technician blood in me, because I managed not to lose it at that point. I calmly guided her through the Macintosh setup procedure (with one of the graphic designer's help because I don't know jack 'bout Mac).

The real support guys probably know how to pronounce capital letters over the phone. God bless 'em.