One of the things that I struggle with is treading lightly when I use other people's computers. The term "treading lightly" came out of backwoods hiking, where you leave the trail in exactly the same shape as when you came in. During this trip, I have used computers of friends, relatives and some semi-public use (bed and breakfast) computers. The temptation to fix things that I feel are askew is always there. It's all I can do to resist downloading and installing an upgrade; fix monitors that are set to display only sixteen colours; to remove the three or four autoloading, memory-hogging, virus-like messaging programs; empty caches that are full; organize bookmarks/favorites that are stored in one continuous, long list ....
I've decided that I will only fiddle with the knobs (so to speak) if requested. If the owner is two or less relative-levels away (aunt, brother-in-law, etc.) I will inquire if they are aware of the issue. If they aren't, I'll offer to fix. It's the least I can do, and also the most (if you catch my drift).
When I landed at my brother-in-law's place, my eleven-year-old nephew set upon me almost as soon as I had come through the door.
"Uncle Sean, can you help us get the Internet? We got Shaw, but it doesn't work."
He is the heaviest computer user in the family and they had moved into this new house about two weeks ago. He has been dying to get his Internet connection working, and after a full system clean, a missing operating system CD, several re-installs, opening the system box for a look to see what was physically there and then searching for and loading drivers from my trusty laptop, I think I have it working (obviously, if you can read this blog entry).
Who says computer guys can't be superheroes? I'll bet he carries me around on his shoulders tomorrow morning.