Friday, December 14, 2012

The 5 Harshest Truths For Computer Users

True story. This morning someone woke me up at 5AM for tech support. This is what inspired this entry today. It'll come up. Watch for it.

Me doing tech stuff
 1.  You Will Get A Virus

I'm famous for telling people that if you don't install antivirus and/or anti-malware software that they'll get a virus.  I often compare being online without such software to having sex without protection.  The harsh truth is even condoms are only effective 98% of the time (and that's for perfect use; typical use is around 85% effective). 
So make sure you pick up the ones with Nonoxynol-9 ok.

The even harsher truth is that if a virus threat is new enough there's a really good chance that your antivirus will initially fail to detect it.  But hey, any percentage of not catching a virus is better than 0% and most current antivirus packages come equipped to handle older viruses that are still floating around the web.

2.  You Will Make A Silly Email Mistake

Even the most seasoned users will eventually make a mistake with email.  The most common ones are:
  • Clicking the send command before you're actually ready to send the email
  • Using Reply-All without checking to see who "All" is
  • Forgetting to add an attachment
  • Not adding a subject
And that's only the short list.  You can get a more comprehensive one here.  This brings me to the subject of the 5AM tech support.  Someone asked me if there's any way to retrieve an email they sent.  The harsh truth is no.  Once you hit send it's gone (unless of course you have the cat-like reflexes to cut your Internet connection before it goes anywhere or you have an email client that queues your email forcing you to hit a different send button).

Oh and by the way, if you ever get an email and your address is in the BCC spot DON'T REPLY ALL!

3.  You Won't Make A Backup

People like to think that once they save something they'll have it forever.  The harsh truth is nothing is forever.  The average hard drive has a life expectancy of about 5 years.  The life expectancy of a usb flash drive depends on usage.  If you're constantly writing and erasing stuff to a flash drive it'll wear out pretty fast.
Hey babe.  Got an available port for my USB drive? ;)

I feel your pain.  I've had an external drive crap out on me and I was lucky there was a backup out there.  Unfortunately it was an older backup so I lost a lot of my newer files.  Point is get yourself an external backup and make it a habit to keep it updated maybe on a monthly basis.  Even if you're backing up files to a set of DVDs or CDs it's SOMETHING (by the way they don't last forever either).

4.  Your Computer Will Someday Stop Working

This is more of an expansion on the previous point.  I've seen some resilient computers in my day.  Right now there's a few of them running around here that have been in operation for going on 10 years (it's a damn shame I can remember being here that long).  However the harsh truth is your computer will most likely crap out much sooner than that.  Even worse it'll be for something you can't swap out or easily replace.  Let's not forget environmental factors like dust, salt air, power surges, etc.  There will come a time when you have to dump it and get a new one.

It's the circle of liiiiiiife

5.  You're A Dummy

So there you are: surfing, emailing, making documents and spreadsheets.  You're a machine.  Nothing can stop you now.  PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER in an itty bitty living space.
Ok, that's my last Disney reference.  I promise.

Then you hit that block.  Oh no, I don't know how to make these three cells calculate the geometric mean! Now you have to Google it or bug the IT guy.

There's a reason the For Dummies series of books are so popular.  The harsh truth is there's always going to be something new to learn.  In that sense we're ALL dummies (yes, me too).  Question is are you going to let someone else do it or are you gonna learn how.  I'm not one to judge here, but I am a geek so I'm gonna keep learning. ;)

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