How Do You Deal With It?

I like Noah Finz, our sports guy at the TV station. I like his wife, Kendra, too. I’ve known her a lot longer than I’ve known Noah. They are both technophobes.

Actually, being a little skittish in the face of technology puts them in step with most everyone, which leads me to what happened today.

Noah’s laptop was old. He wanted to upgrade to faster hardware, especially with a two year old, infant and very nice camera for picture taking.

Most people would have unplugged the old machine, plugged in the new and then forgotten what was left on the laptop. Sure, they’re networked together, but how many people know how that works? Few!

I popped in the car and headed to Fairfield County.

His Dell desktop machine was the most quiet PC I’ve ever heard – startling, since the trend has been in the opposite direction. It needed a Firewire and wireless network card. No sweat, except it only had two slots, one of which was already filled by a dial-up modem.

“Put this away,” I told Noah as I handed it to him in an anti-static bag. Truthfully, it will never be used.

The Firewire card was effortlessly installed suing native Windows drivers. The wireless card was more trouble. It didn’t conform to Belkin’s instructions!

It finally installed because I ad libbed. How do they sell and support these things when the installation process isn’t remotely connected to what’s in the instructions?

As with Helaine’s computer, this Dell came loaded with ‘nagware.’ I don’t want programs bugging me. Some are difficult to remove. Others are confusingly described. Most have limited lifespans, meaning you’re later expected to shell out more money for the software that came on your PC!

Hats off to Cablevision, Noah’s ISP. Their Optonline cable modem service has an automated configuration tool which set up Outlook Express correctly on the first try.

We installed Picasa, MS Office, the new free AOL anti-virus suite and a few others. Then it was time to move photos and documents. I couldn’t get his computers to speak to each other. I have no idea why, nor do I know how I finally encouraged them to have limited access to each other.

It just happened.

You never accomplish 100% on a mission of mercy like this, but we came close. Again, I have no idea how Noah or Kendra could have done this themselves, and they can’t be alone.

What do most people do? Or do people like me just drive around on weekends helping out and playing with little kids – they couldn’t have been cuter.

3 thoughts on “How Do You Deal With It?”

  1. “Long time watcher, first time commenter”. 🙂

    I helped my mom swap out her old Dell for a new Dell last year and I was amazed at how much crap is preloaded onto her new PC.

    The last two computers in our home were custom built and purchased from local retailers. The first one I just had Windows NT Workstation 4.0 preloaded on the hard drive – and onto the second one I just moved the hard drive from the first one.

    I bet Dell and other major OEM computer companies would argue that preloading software allows them to sell their PCs for a lower price – I’m guessing many of these companies that have deals with the software makers that provide said preloaded software to the OEM companies.

    As for installing hardware, I tend to “wing it” on the first attempt and then resort to the instructions if the first attempt fails. I’d say about 90 percent of the time, “winging it” does the trick…

  2. My point is, not everyone is prepared to wing it. In fact most people have no idea why the do anything they do on a PC?

    In the ‘good old days’ only mechanics could own cars. We’re still not far from that situation with computers.

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