June 14, 2003
Computer woes

Not me mind you, but many people are having them recently.

Several of our family friends are having trouble with computers (1 Mac and 1 PC) and people like Ernie and Dave are having them too.

Almost inevitably the question of switching operating systems raises it's head in these times. PC people consider Macs and Mac people consider PCs.

The truth is that all computers have trouble. I'm a trained engineer and run a damn IT department and I still have trouble with things. How non-techical people manage is beyond me.

I get calls all the time to help with friend and family computers when problems pop up. Usually the problem is PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair), but I can't really blame people for problems.

Computers are confusing. Someone is always trying to see you something or take over your computer. It's difficult for people to know what's safe and what's not. Whay software will solve my problem? What to believe?

When ever I look at someone else's computer, they almost always have stuff installed that cripples their computer. Spyware, unnecessary apps, inappropriate settings, no anti-virus, no firewall, etc.

The truth is to run a computer that has good performance, reliablity and security, it takes a bit of knowledge and work. It's a constant struggle for me to maintain good working condition on the computers in the house. Updates, patches, scans, they all need to be done.

Most people simply don't want to do this. Mac, linux, or Windows, you need to be vigilant to maintain the computer. Most people don't want to be vigilant and with good reason. It's a pain in the ass.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. The truth is that every lawn has problems. Switching operating systems isn't going to solve the fundemental issue that computers are still not household appliances.

The fault lies in two places. The people that make invasive web pages that hijack your computer, and the operating system makers. Switching brand of computers won't solve the issues about computer reliability. Linux, Mac, and Windows users all encounter problems regularly and I hear about it. They all get the job done, but there is no 'best' solution.

Switch computers if you want to try something new or like the hardware, but don't expect the world of computing to get easier just because you buy a different brand.

Posted by michael at June 14, 2003 12:07 PM