Tips To Solve The PC Problems That Drive You Nuts

30 Years Of PCs & This Stuff Still Doesn't Work!

This is the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Xerox PARC project. In case you're not up on your PC history, that was the first prototype personal computer with a graphical interface. Prior to that paradigm buster, all we had to do to get our computers to do anything at all was by typing things like COMMAND [d:][path] [device] [/P][/E:(size)] [/MSG][/Y [/C (command)|/K (command)] or COPY [/Y|-Y][/A][/B] [d:][path]filename+[d:][path]filename[...][d:][path][filename] [/V]. Wonderful if you live in your parents' basement and never see the light of day, but a little impractical for real humans.

The Xerox PARC was ripped off wholesale by the young team of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak who "Xeroxed" it into the Apple Lisa, which was the precursor to the Macintosh that debuted in 1984 and changed the world in ways that George Orwell could never have dreamed.

30 Years Of PCs & This Stuff Still Doesn't Work!

This is the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Xerox PARC project. In case you're not up on your PC history, that was the first prototype personal computer with a graphical interface. Prior to that paradigm buster, all we had to do to get our computers to do anything at all was by typing things like COMMAND [d:][path] [device] [/P][/E:(size)] [/MSG][/Y [/C (command)|/K (command)] or COPY [/Y|-Y][/A][/B] [d:][path]filename+[d:][path]filename[...][d:][path][filename] [/V]. Wonderful if you live in your parents' basement and never see the light of day, but a little impractical for real humans.

The Xerox PARC was ripped off wholesale by the young team of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak who "Xeroxed" it into the Apple Lisa, which was the precursor to the Macintosh that debuted in 1984 and changed the world in ways that George Orwell could never have dreamed.

Let's look back from 1977. Thirty years earlier the War had just ended, and a computer was a multimillion dollar mass of metal and wiring that filled up a specially-constructed building, was programmed by punching little holes in cards, and could perform the functions of your typical 2007 pocket calculator. So here we are thirty years forward from 1977 and any one of us could easily sit in front of the original Xerox PARC or Apple Lisa and find ourselves right at home. Look! It does "Windows!"

The bottom line (that was proven in my Mac Plus vs. DualCore) is that the amount of progress in personal computing from a typical office user's standpoint between 1947 and 1977 completely dwarfs that which has occurred from 1977 to 2007. There really isn't much that the normal clerical worker in an office couldn't do on a Mac Plus that they are doing today on their megawhizzybang superfast PC powerhouses.

I'm not the average clerical worker, so I use a variety of software that take full advantage of my dual-core PC. That's why I'm so surprised that going into the fourth decade of personal computer, there are still some things that drive me so crazy and that no one seems to be able to fix. Here is my personal list of top PC peeves:

Insert, Caps Lock, Num Key, etc. Must Die: I type at 90 wpm, so I'm always hitting the Insert instead of the Backspace and end up wiping out a sentence before I realize what I've done. The standard PC keyboard is full of keys that no one has used in decades, including Home, Page Up, Page Down, Scroll Lock, Pause-Break, etc. And I don't know about you, but I haven't touched an F-key in years. By the way what the #$%& does the Windows Key do other than get in the way between the Control and Alt? However, there are ways of remapping your keyboard so that hitting these nasty useless stupid keys does nothing to mess you up. Use the next-to-incomprehensible instructions on this Microsoft page, and beware, you have to get into regedit (gasp!) which leads me to the next peeve:

Regedit Must Die: Most users would rather have intestinal surgery sans anaesthetic than edit their registries. This mysterious code-laden treasury is filled with characters and numbers that no one really understands. Change the wrong number and blow up your Windows. There are some registry editors that make this horrific task somewhat easier, but even the editors on this page don't resolve the basic problem that the registry needs a comprehensible GUI and it needs it now.

PC Connector Manufacturers Must Die: This autumn I plan to dump my dual-core on eBay and upgrade to a twin socket quad-core 8GB RAM system which will give me close-to-supercomputing capacities. I expect to keep that for at least four years. Let's see obsolescence crawl up on that PC! However, my incredible new octo-core system that will be able to fold proteins while I run a virus scan and watch full-screen HD video without even breathing hard will still be hooked together by balky, ill-fitting, fragile connectors pulled right out of a 1961 Soviet tank. Not only do these connectors require ridiculous amounts of force to be applied to sensitive electronic components but they can't be attached/detached by anyone without fingers as long as Nosferatu. I've broken motherboards in half just by trying to pull off the power supply connector. There is no cure for the power supply connector, but by all means go with SATA with your new system: Not only because of the higher transfer rates and better performance, but because it doesn't have IDE's idiotic "put it in upside down and break your hard drive's pins" connector from hell. Talking about upside down, why is the USB connector symmetrical so you can put it in the wrong way and wonder why it doesn't work? And could there be a more damage-inspiring way imagined by Satan himself to install a CPU?

Idiot Programmers Must Die: I may be stubborn but I use Adobe GoLive even though it's been dropped in Creative Suite 3 in favour of Dreamweaver. I'm one of the rare few who actually likes GoLive, and I've built some fun websites with it. Most GoLive users uninstall the program as soon as they encounter the most troubling and puzzling problem in Adobe history: You've built your website, tested it thoroughly, published it onto the web, and now your rollovers (the things that change colour or image when your mouse goes over them, commonly used in navigation buttons) don't work. So you go back to check everything and find that on your PC the rollovers do work, but they only work in Firefox, not in Internet Explorer 6 or 7. So you load the site again, check it with Firefox and the rollovers work fine. Then you have your buddy check the site from his PC with Firefox and the rollovers don't work. After pulling out what little hair you have left, you realize that the rollovers only work on the PC that created the file, and only in Firefox. You search the Adobe Help, you check the forums on the web, and all you find is no solutions. People apparently get to this point, scream, and install Dreamweaver. The solution is very simple. Open the page in GoLive. Go to Layout view. Look at the top right hand corner of that window. Click the little page icon next to Properties. Change the radio button from "Import GoLive Script Library" to "Write Code into Page." Voila! Everything works everywhere now! However, you'll have to do this for every single page you have. And the most interesting thing is that you can't find this out from anywhere! You have to just divine it yourself! Why the #$%& is this not Adobe's Default setting?

A tip to system and software designers. Wake up and smell the #$%& coffee! Duh!

 

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Comments 2 comments

George Kosinski 9 years ago

Bless you for the rollover solution!!!!Now I'll try it - I was just about to shave my head.ThanksGeorge


kundan  6 years ago

there is a problem in my pc .i buy a new motherboard it runs softly in other hard disk .but in mime is problem there

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