Why can't computers just do their jobs?
This column originally ran in ComputorEdge on August 25, 2000
If you use a computer, sooner or later you're going to need help.. It's been true since the very beginning, when Adm. Grace Hopper was pulling a dead moth out from between the two contacts on a electromechanical switch in the Mark I computer that prevented a connection from occurring. (Yes, that moth was the first computer "bug.")
Of course, things are considerably easier now. When Hopper was helping the Navy use its first computers, the computer manufacturers didn't generally supply an operating system you wrote your own as well as any applications you wanted to run on it and if it didn't work right, you fixed it.
Still, today computers are also exponentially more powerful, and thus complicated; your average Mac G-4 or Pentium III has far more computing power than those massive mainframes that Hopper and her generation had.
So, yes, if you use a computer, at some point something will go wrong or not work right or you'll want to either fix it or upgrade and when you do, you'll have questions.
Under the operating systems section, Help.com contains pages about Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, OS/2, BeOS, PalmOS even DOS and NeXT. (And their Windows section includes subsections on Windows 3.x, 95, 98, Millennium, NT, 2000 and CE.) You'll also find pages on various applications from word processors to photo editors to a whole section on games. The hardware section includes printers, scanners, modems, motherboards, disk drives and more.
Each individual page includes how-to guides, Q&A, online courses, and interactive help desks where you can type in a question and wait for professionals to submit bids on answering your question and/or fixing your problem. There is also a list of recommended books on each topic (whether printers or building Web pages), links to other useful Web pages, and a selection of Usenet FAQs about that particular topic.
Whatever help you're looking for, this is as good a starting point as any.
Still, it can be a good starting point for finding answers to your questions.
Windows 95 Tips and Tweaks
Windows 2000 FAQ
Yahoo!'s Personal Computers page
© Copyright Jim Trageser
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