Really, 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?
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)Â (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………