Editorial – June 2015 : What and who do you trust?

May 31, 2015 | By | Reply More

Hello everyone

Ever had one of those months? Meet mine. One day happily typing on my laptop, the next an inability to save files. Oops! Some things I knew but didn’t have to consider came to the fore. When the files directory is there in name only and the recycle bin doesn’t have them, run Disk Check because that made them visible even if I still couldn’t save to them.

After a lot of Net searching directed at why Word wouldn’t save because I tend to work out from the assumption that I’m never the first with a computer problem, I eventually turned to Microsoft. What appeared to be a fault with my Microsoft Office software eventually turned out to a fault with the partitions format and would need a wipe. Luckily, I had the sense to back everything I could onto a back-up hard-drive as quickly as possible, a worthwhile cost if you have a lot of valuable files. The returned files appear to work so it was a good assessment so far.

For those of you who don’t know, if you have to reinstall Windows 7, it wipes the contents of your hard drive. If you partition, then the files have a chance of surviving. I have to say that as a chance because some Windows CDs can also erase the entire hard drive than do a repair, as I discovered with my back-up computer a few months ago. None of which is helped by the fact that my main computer’s Windows CD, which can do a repair, is in such a safe place that even I can’t remember where I put it but that’s a different story. The basic rule is back-up important files regularly, especially your Net favourites and anything important on the Windows partition, assuming you made one. Microsoft’s support team worked through my laptop and checked that was the only problem and I decided that there might be a deity.

Things got a little more complicated a couple days later when the new Norton Securities did an odd thing and turned off the screen after insisting I update the video drivers. I was getting used to doing a button hard reboot, which at no time caused Windows to scan for faults oddly enough, and they had to have a look and do their own re-install. I’m still sorting out the link-ups after thinking changing the letters associated with the partitions was a good idea, so a little shorter in the editorial this month. It could be worse. It could have been malware or something else, especially as yesterday, Norton saw something suspicious and promptly wanted to wipe it. Me, too, because it wasn’t something I recognised.

If you’ve ever had problems with your own computer then it’s a sharp reminder how fragile our digital existence is when something goes wrong with it. Even looking for solutions on the Net wasn’t particularly helpful and watching UTube remedies and not seeing them work because various commands didn’t work stopped me in my tracks. After all, it might not be the actual problem I had, which turns out might have been right. However, the novice would be equally frustrated for solutions and even the most savvy of us can only guess at.

However, this did make me think about how much trust we put in potential remedies by people we don’t know, let alone by those who voice their recommendations. Not helped by the fact that few computers are alike in their use of software. People on the Net are willing to voice when something works for them but should we get suspicious when no one says that wasn’t the problem they had? It is amazing how much we reply on opinion that can’t be sourced to think its right. In fact, I would go as far to say that much of computer problem solving on the Net is more to do with patching up a problem than devising a solution from the on-set. This is even more we get to the malicious software that is out there.

Call me paranoid but if I wanted to perpetuate a dilemma and frustration about a problem or even a malware or virus, then show a solution that looks like it could work but won’t can only compound the problem. Not throwing aspersions, because I’m sure some of these remedies are done with the best of intentions, but things become a real eye-opener on the level of trust and frustration that is out there. People less computer savvy are going to be left not knowing what to think until it goes wrong. So much so, it became a little rusty on how accurate things could be.

In many respects, the Net is full of strangers and that involves a lot of trust that someone has the right solution let alone the people who say it worked are real people. It makes playing Russian roulette easy and I’m supposed to be computer savvy.

The most telling message is if there’s a software problem, then go to the manufacturer and see what they can do, even if you have to pay a fee which they will refund if they can’t solve it. Most of the time they know what to do but it does make for an argument to have physical disks than downloads and I wonder if Windows 10 will have both options even if it’s free in a October. I mean, how can you download it to your computer if you can’t get on-line, which happened when I tried to get Google Chrome off the computer and ultimately used a restore point to get out of the problem. All hail restore points, one of the better remedies next to a reboot.

Do I need to say again, make regular back-ups but the same could also be said for making partitions which many people still don’t know how to do. Help screens really do need to show both the good and bad points for some decision making and work better off-line. With my partitions, I always used to choose ex-FAT rather than NFTL because the notes said that they could make it easier to get into if Windows crashed and that’s apparently changed. Also, always remember if you do a total reinstall, it takes three hours to download all the updates and nearly an hour for them to be all installed. It’ll be interesting to see how Windows 10 gets around these problems.


Thank you, take care, good night and look very hard at your existence through your computer, because it could be gone in a flash.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk


Question: If the blue aliens in ‘Prometheus’ were making biological weapons of such magnitude, who or what was their enemy?


Observation: Has anyone else noticed how odd it is that while comicbook companies like DC Comics are changing their super-hero costumes, the toy manufacturers are resurrecting the older costumes? What does the latter know that the former doesn’t?


A Zen thought: Life is only as fair as you can make it.



Category: Computers, Culture

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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