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View Full Version : The Devolution of the Computer Expert


MBHockey
05-27-2005, 12:42 PM
I grew up using PCs. My first ISP was AOL, and there were always vulnerabilities with running that software. So, I got good at removing any kind of "trojan horse" program that would steal your AOL passwords and email them back the program's author. I knew my way around the registry, and could locate all the malicious programs trying to start up with the computer in a flash.

By the time i was around 15 or 16, I thought I was pretty good at computers.

After switching to a Mac, and now using it to actually be productive rather than learn how to fix a bunch of problems with Windows, I no longer know how to fix the seemingly never ending string of new problems that come into existence in the Windows world every day. I find it kind of sad that, since I no longer am on the cutting edge of "how to fix the latest problems with Windows" my peers think I am "worse at computers."

It occurred to me that in a day and age where 95% of the personal computing world is inundated with spyware, viruses, and other obstinate programs, being a "computer expert" has devolved into "being able to fix a bunch of problems inherent to a Windows PC", and I began to think of what a shame that is.

It's a shame because the primary focus of the PC expert has seemingly shifted to knowing how to fix it when it breaks, rather than using it for anything useful.

I could just see all the brilliant minds of the past who wished they had the access to the plethora of resources of 2005; to see the look on their faces when they ask The Computer Expert to show them a computation that would have taken 6 months to do by hand, but they hear that it only takes a few seconds on a computer, and he tells them...

"Well, I don't know how to do anything like that, but I can get rid of DealHelper.exe in under 15 minutes!"

hayne
05-27-2005, 12:50 PM
since I no longer am on the cutting edge of "how to fix the latest problems with Windows" my peers think I am "worse at computers."

Ah - but in fact you do know how to fix the problems with Windows. In order to not give away all the mystique, I'll leave you to fill in the blanks:
"G_t a M_c!"

guardian34
05-27-2005, 12:51 PM
I've had similar feeling before…

CAlvarez
05-27-2005, 04:58 PM
Where do you guys find so many people with unprotected Windows machines and so many issues? I do this for a living and don't see them.

guardian34
05-27-2005, 07:14 PM
School, mostly.

lostduck
05-27-2005, 09:45 PM
Thank you for the initial post, it's a feeling I share. A year away from Windows, has removed me from being involved in its problems, but in the meantime I have burned beautiful -compared to those I never burned before - DVD's with thousands of pictures, edited videos, learnt to focus on the things I am doing more, and yes forgotten how to deal with the registry. I spend hours every day on a wintel laptop, but it's corporate and I couldn't care less. It crashes a lot, they say they have fixed it, and two days later it starts again. I work in the legal field, and every time I select a file in Word and select 'send to email recipient' Notes freezes completely and then crashes the entire stupid box. Can you believe that?

Looking at it from a different perspective, Windows has a distinctive advantage though: job security for a lot of people, IT departments must simply love it. We have some much IT Security that we could be the KGB. Not completely a bad deal.

______

Calvarez, in the past I have helped friends/neighbours/relatives often with viruses, spyware and the like. In New England, you find them in funny-looking wood structures called 'colonial' or 'dutch-colonial' or variations thereof. They sleep and eat there, but at dusk you can catch them outside walking the labradoodle if you are into pictures. Bring a sweater, even in the summer, you never know. Good hunting.

cwtnospam
05-27-2005, 10:23 PM
Where do you guys find so many people with unprotected Windows machines and so many issues? I do this for a living and don't see them.
Leave your office! Go to a party. Talk to people who don't get paid to solve computer problems. Honestly, I don't know anyone who has a PC that doesn't have problems.

I know you're thinking I'm just Windoze bashing, but seriously, if you just listen to end-users, you can't miss the problems.

It's a shame because the primary focus of the PC expert has seemingly shifted to knowing how to fix it when it breaks, rather than using it for anything useful.

What do you think it shifted from? The computer expert is only needed to take care of problems. Even a programmer can't do much if he/she doesn't have a problem to solve. You're right though, it is a shame that many of the computer problems today are man made.

saint.duo
05-28-2005, 02:53 AM
I find that about half of the things I encounter on a mac are fixing problems, conflicts, or corruption, and the other half is showing people something new because they want to do "x" that they've never done before.

obtix
05-28-2005, 11:41 AM
Honestly... think of it more as the fact that you advanced. Windows is the bottom of the barrel OS. I was a Linux (Debian) user and still am... though I am using my PowerBook more and more daily. I switched from Windows to Linux 100% around the days of Windows 98. I am still good with Windows because really nothing ever changes you just need to realize that all NT based systems (so newer) runs still really do run the same.

cameranerd74
06-01-2005, 08:50 AM
Where do you guys find so many people with unprotected Windows machines and so many issues? I do this for a living and don't see them.

Your users must actually follow company policy... or you're forcing them to. ;)


Seriously though, I agree with MBHockey, it seems like at least 70% of service calls deal with spyware, viruses, or other malicious software.

Twelve Motion
06-01-2005, 11:45 AM
Yeah if you want to find people with problems, go to a college dorm. Only about 20% of people know how to do anyting past running symantac. My roommate spent half his time trying to get rid of adware.

Oh, there is also this cool new virus or something that takes control of your AIM and IMs something stupid to all your friends like this "Hey these are my pictures from Cali! Check them out!!!" and there is a link. If you click on the link it downloads an .exe file that puts that virus on your computer. So I get about 4 of those IMs a day from my PC friends. Poeple really don't know how to deal with this stuff, even what to watch out for.

Then there are us mac users :D. Spyware? whats that?

Interesting point about the computer expert. But that is what computer experts are for...