I know a lot.

It’s true.  In fact, until recently I didn’t really realize it myself.  And I am not trying to sound arrogant or anything, but, in all reality, I do.  I’m not sure what the reason is, but things just seem to make sense to me the first time I learn them, as far as technology is concerned.  I’ve started noticing myself trying to explain simple tasks to inexperienced computer users beginning with, “It’s very simple, let me show you.”  After about the 2nd click, most people seem to be completely lost with the the concept of pressing buttons or making a decision given options on the screen.  Whoever is reading this, please understand that I am by no means calling any in-experienced user stupid or anything (hence why I refer to them as inexperienced users and not stupid).

I am frequently asked about my knowledge and from where I learned what I know.  The plain and true answer is Google.  Actually, I have to also give credit to my cousin Rob.  Had it not been for the fundamental things I learned from him, I would probably not be where I am now.  In fact, one of the very first things I remember learning about computers from him was when we were tearing apart a computer at his house.  Ribbon cables, which are now seen less in computers than when I entered the PC world, always have a red stripe down one edge of the cable indicating that that side should be attached to pin 1.  Anyways, enough reminiscing.  Quite a while after Rob got me into the tech world, he cut me off.  My questions of how to do things were answered with, “Look it up like I did.”  I quickly learned how to use Google and sift through the results to find, and interpret, what I needed to know.  Notice I included interpret, not just find.  As it is easy to find answers, knowing what they mean or what they are instructing you to do is totally different.

Trial and error has been the second greatest learning tool of mine in addition to Google.  Finding the answers doesn’t always mean you have found the right answer.  The only way to know for sure is to try it and see what happens.  Which leads me to mention backups.  I am so paranoid when dealing with unfamiliars that I like to make a copy of whatever I am modifying before I apply any changes.  That way if something else breaks or I get an even more undesirable outcome, I can easily revert back.  Not to mention accidental data/settings loss.

After having typed all this out, I’ve kind of answered my own internally repeated question which is why computers are so difficult for people.  Overall it comes down to intimidation, I think.  Unlike myself, and many other techs, most people are afraid of their computer, or at least afraid of breaking their computer.  In addition to this personal blog, I am going to try and keep an up-to-date tech blog (over at http://blog.jecal22.com update: http://tech.jecal22.com).  I’ll try and keep my extremely technical blogs over there for this one to be for more personal and average reader content.

Anyways, this makes for a rather awkward ending, but I really don’t have much more to add at the moment.  Check out a PC repair flowchart I ran across recently which pretty much sums up how I handle unfamiliar problems on the computer.  It does look simple, but as I said above it’s about being able to find and interpret answers based on what you already know.  At any rate, the flowchart is good for a little chuckle, especially any other tech people out there. Enjoy.

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