Golden rule of Computing

R.T.F.S.

If we keep this foremost in our mind, all the time we are using a computer, we will generally be able to resolve most issues or problems.

If to need to ask … it means “Read the f……. screen”.

Ah you say but the language computers use is impossible to understand. However we mean a lot more than just reading the screen … we mean being observant. It is important to notice changes … when something behaves in a different way from usual, you should try and understand “why”. Did you do something differently or were different things running in the background.

You might say I have changed nothing on the computer … yes maybe conciously you changed nothing … but your computer is constantly updating itself. Once upon a time it was only your anti-virus definitions that did auto updates … but now it is Windows … acrobat reader … and a myriad of other software packages that people have loaded on the computer. Alas! we have reached the point in computing, where software vendors sell their software without adequate testing! They have all learnt from Microsoft, who have historically released software that most would consider beta (trial), but simply put an update facility into the software. Since XP, they have made it automatic, whereas, before you had to conciously run the update and therefor were aware that something had changed. Now you are usually unaware of a change … and alas every change can have an effect on some other software.

I have recently attended several computers with serious issues … all relating to updates …

example 1 … AOL put out a connectivity update mainly to deal with the move to a variable broadband connection … the so called “broadband max” (up to 8mbs) … it was accompanied with a warning that it might cause the computer to crash! Well it did for several people I know because … alas there is no facility to roll back in safe mode … the only way the computers would work. So, alas! format and reinstall is the only option open to the poor user. Yes the warning was there … but equally insistent was the fact that you had to do the update otherwise your broadband might not work! A Hobsons choice if ever there was one!

example 2 … Microsoft update to IE7 (Internet Explorer to those who dont know what IE stands for) … most computer specialists tend to see this as another piece of bloatware … the user is told by Microsoft that it is essential, it improves his security etc etc … but they then have to accept a new license agreement that once again absolves Microsoft from any problems! Yet if the unsuspecting user had already had his security breached by certain spyware that had taken advantage of the holes in IE6 the computer would only boot in safe mode!! Only cure was to roll back the update then disable all the add ons in IE6 then run the update again! Surely it would have taken very little effort by Microsoft to make sure that the add ons were disabled before starting the update?

I could go on with several other pieces of software that have updates that cause problems … not least … Symantec (Norton Internet Security) and McAfee Internet Security 2007. Both pieces of software have ground many once viable PC’s to a virtual halt.

Oh! I feel sorry for the poor computer owner … he has absolutely no hope against the giants that control his life … they constantly re-write law making him sign agreements that are invalid in law! Yes! when you click “I agree” you have signed a contract … and if you dont click “I agree” Windows will never work for you regardless if you paid for it without being told the conditions of use!

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