Well me being to busy has had its first casualty. I have decided I can't help anyone with tech support problems anymore. I know it seems like a rude thing to do. I have all this knowledge and I am being selfish and refusing to share. But up to this point I have justified how much I help family, friends, and associates with the idea that I was "teaching a man to fish" but the reality is that what happens is that I teach the person that I have the answer so they instinctively come back to me the next time they have a problem.
Imagine the most boring tedious part of your job; the part you hate the most. Now imagine not getting paid to do it, and that is the only thing that anyone and everyone ever wants to talk to you about. Friends that you could talk to for hours now only enjoy quizzing your knowledge about the hated topic for obscure facts. I say impossible quiz questions because in my case it usually ends up being something like what to do about an error message because a specific version of a driver for a specific item installed in a computer is conflicting with some specific software.
By the rule of association since I know about one computer, I know about all computers, then any electronics. From there it is anything that uses electricity, and for some odd reason from there it is anything with a motor. Yes, I have been told since I know computers, diagnosing a dead lawn mower should be no problem; but I digress. The best case scenario is that I fix the problem so it never comes back. Great, who do think that person is going to ask when the next problem comes up? Worst case scenario is an unrelated problem happens. Because I touched their computer I must have caused it. Now they think I'm obligated to fix a problem I had nothing to do with. It is a no win situation for me, either way leads to an increase of trying to help people. The worst part is that most of the time it seems like such a little request with an easy answer. But multiply that by the number of friends you have.
The reality is that I don't know all the answers, no one does. I have to look stuff up too. But because people have come to me in the past it is what they think of, and it is easier to ask me than to do a search on the Internet. I could be passive aggressive and start using "Let me Google that for you" for every request. (http://lmgtfy.com/. Want to try it? http://lmgtfy.com/?q=technical+support) Instead I am going to be upfront and honest. I am not going to play favourites or start charging people a market rate like some people I know have done. Instead I will just say "Learn to fish".