Monday, August 10, 2009


Standing in for Fr Roy Doxsey at his lunchtime Eucharist today was the only thing in my diary, so I had free time to start commissioning my new computer this afternoon. First stage of tidying it up and getting it working my way, six hours. There'll be more to do, when I realise things I've not remembered to do, but that can wait. I'll need to spend a few hours tomorrow de-commissioning my old computer, for my son to take over. The machine he uses is horribly noisy and a few years older than the one he'll be getting. I'll be surprised if he doesn't find the switchover traumatic. He's a creature of habit, who only came to computer usage as a young adult. I'm amazed that over the past year he's taken to using Linux and open source tools on his computer, possibly because they are so much more stable and don't break down as often.

Sadly, many home computer users have become used to putting with the nightmare of instability and unpredictability, caused either by faulty broadband or poorly set up computer systems, and not being able to work out where the problem lies. This leaves them dependent on others, and never fully in charge of something they have invested lots of time and money acquiring and learning. I've seen that at close hand with my sister's problems, and wonder what could be done to make computers easier. They are so confusing when you come to them from scratch, and don't even have the vocabulary to describe components of the system. How confusing you learn when you try to do a problem diagnosis on the phone. The guys in the call centres certainly earn their keep, but better designed secure stable systems with learning processes to match would eliminate the need for half the crisis calls and the work they require in the first place.

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