I'm known among friends, family, and co-workers as somewhat of an amateur computer expert. I'd venture to say that I get way more "please help me fix this!" requests than your average non-professional.
I've developed this interest not only because I enjoy it and have a natural affinity for it, but also because in today's high-tech world, it helps me (and helps me help others) avoid a great deal of grief caused by those who DO get paid to do it for a living.
(Note to my brother-in-law and professional computer tech Mike - I didn't mean you!)
Here's an example: a friend's son came home from college during break with the sad tale that his laptop could no longer connect to the internet. His school - being a modern, up-to-date university, provides campus wide Wi-Fi connections, along with a guarantee that you'll be able to connect to the internet anywhere on campus. If you can't, they'll send a tech out to troubleshoot the issue.
According to my friend's son (who is not prone to exaggeration), the tech guy came out, took a quick look, and told him to wipe out his entire hard drive and reinstall Windows.
Now, I'm not saying that wouldn't work. I also know that if my living room develops a loose floorboard, and I bulldoze the house and rebuild it, that will solve the problem. I'm just saying that maybe, just maybe, there's an easier solution!
I'm proud to say I DID solve his problem without wiping out his hard drive - by replacing a corrupt Windows system file. Now, if I knew how to do this, why didn't the professional?
I called this the "scorched earth" approach to tech support. It may destroy everything in its path, but it will certainly solve the problem.
While not all examples are this extreme, I've found this type of thinking rampant when I've needed to call on tech support for various consumer and electronics products I own.
The folks at one software company were sure that my computer was the problem when the installation of their product cut off my internet access. It wasn't, but I had to troubleshoot and solve the problem on my own.
I've had to call the support people on two different occasions to solve a problem with my GPS unit. The only useful suggestion was: return the unit and get a new one.
And .. then of course, there's "did you try rebooting?"
I'm not totally unsympathetic to the poor folks on the other end of the phone who have to deal with the masses. (Especially since they're often in another country and don't speak English all that well, but that's a subject for another time.) Tech support is a huge expense for those who need to provide it, and finding qualified people is difficult. But one-size-fits-all solutions don't do it for me. I suspect they don't do it for anyone else, either.