Grumpy Tales – I could do without computers

francois3Really, although I’ve been in the ‘computing business’ since 1978 and involved with PC’s (or microcomputers as they were called back then) before that, I could very often well do without the bloody things.
We’ve all been there. A perfectly fine and proper working (Windows) PC suddenly won’t start in the morning. Eerie DOS error messages on a black or blue screen and that’s it. Go make coffee and sulk. And if you haven’t been there yet, believe me, one day you will.

Now, I have friends who stubbornly maintain that this is ONLY happening to ME and that I must be the cause of all the trouble. Me and my questionable PC skills. Well, maybe so.
Fact remains that after 30 years of tinkering with these things I would think I have built a reputable knowledge and experience in doing so. Seen every brand model and make, and had every operating system from good old CP/M, through PC-DOS, MS-DOS, OS/2 and a few hundred I forgot already. I even programmed them. From the old IBM mainframes and HP mini’s, through all sorts of microcomputers and PC’s. In all sorts of languages too, although having started with clean and modular PL-1 wasn’t really helpful in debugging Z-80 and 6502 ‘machine code’. Or spaghetti Cobol source for that matter !
Just to show you… been there, done that. Admittedly I was a lousy programmer. I guess that’s why I soon wound up in management, and I am sure my former employees would agree.

But think about it. What tool that you have in your house NEEDS you to ‘tinker’ with it for more than 30 years and still not get it right?
Just sayin’.

So no wonder then that there are literally hundreds of Flight Simulator support forums full of posts by bewildered users, asking the weirdest questions about the most baffling problems. And many thousands of PC support forums to add to it.
There are just way too many variables I any PC system. The hardware already presents us with a couple billion varieties, add to that the many (versions of)  (MS!) operating systems, all the software people acquire. And oh yes, for some reason most PC users are real packrats ! ANY customer I go to these days has stuff on his/her PC that he/she has never ever used ! But I digress. Much like your PC does on a daily basis, and much as you do browsing the Internet every day. Right?

The final touch to the misery of not-working PC systems comes from Flight Simulator add-ons of course. That’s what you wanted to hear, didn’t you? Got to stay on topic here !
Yes, FS add-ons come in all sorts, sizes, flavors and (non-)qualities. And they can really f..k your PC, beyond repair and beyond belief! But truth be told, a lot of the blame goes to Windows and its dark inners. Oh, and FS itself… I don’t think anybody at Microsoft really knew all that went on inside anymore… and now certainly there’s nobody left to know. So how can you blame add-on makers for the mess they sometimes create on your desk ?

I mean, even reputable add-on programmers and publishers regularly blow up my FS installation and sometimes even the PC! It happens when two bits of program apparently don’t want to live together.
And NO, there is NO WAY you can find every problem through beta testing. See for WHY above. Just too many ‘options’. But it makes life of the ‘support departments’ hell. Especially when you know that most of these ‘departments’ are usually made up of only one person and his dog, no matter how many different email addresses you receive from them!

Finally, did I mention the PC owners? *cough*. I think about 80% of the global support time is spent on problems that find their origin between the back of the chair and the front of the keyboard.
But as much as I would urge people to NOT TOUCH ANYTHING, because I know they will mess things up, how can you credibly tell them with a 30-year tinkering industry behind you?

Oh, and yes, I hear you… the ‘Mac fans’. “Never a problem, no need to tinker, always works out of the box…”. Yeah, yeah.
Well, if Steve Jobs had done a decent job, he’d have bought X-Plane and made a good flightsim out of it running on a Mac. Capice?!

Yes, on a clear day, I could very well do without my PC’s………

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  2. But look out of the window – is there a clear day in sight?

    Since my history with computers goes back to 1975 with an IBM 360 main frame ( and punch cards ) and 1977 on a PDP11 Minicomputer under RT11 and then RSX11 ( Multiuser!!!!) – there is a lot of truth in this. But – the total numbers of severe problems tend to diminish over time. I would estimate that the the ratio of problems over features goes down by a factor of 2 per year, unfortunatly the number of options increases by 95% in the same time, that is why it will take a few hundred years still until computers become usable.

  3. Yeah, Burkhard I remember those punch cards from people working in the computer lab in Reutlingen Germany at my college where I attended there in the early 70’s. One opps dropping them and that turned into a oh $hit 2 sec later.

  4. in the computer world what you did on past count nothing if you are not always on new system program’s etc…i have seen your problems happening very often…seems to much…i have a friend with same problems with computers and often…after have used his computers i have seen that he is the problem…most of problems usually are from electricity if you don’t use a protection syste or from malware if you have not adequate protection…i know of people formatting his system for each single problem…on 14 years i have never formatted one..just sitting and studying the problem and find solution…only in a few hardware problem i just had to change one hd. Also i have seen some very unlucky people with computers…seems that all world pc problems happens to them..bytheway now i have 3 desktops and two notebooks + three external hd with backups so…also if one fails i think i can survive.

  5. Ya know come to think of it….my old Commodore 64 never once got a virus….LOL 🙂
    Doug Zabizewski

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