Respect the Computer

When I got my first car at age 20, I didn’t know much about vehicles or how they worked. I bought the car from an older man friend, and when, six months later, the car wasn’t running well and leaked black smoke, I asked him what might be wrong.

“Well, have you changed the oil?”

“Um, oil?”

He gave me a funny look. “Yeah, you need to change the oil every three months,” he explained patiently.

“Oh.” Well, no, I hadn’t. I didn’t know, and the poor beast was running on fumes. My friend was kind enough to help me find a decent shop to bring the car to for much-needed maintenance. But ever since then, I’ve hated dealing with car maintenance. What a pain in the butt. I just want the darn thing to go.

Even now, my husband, through a tacit agreement, deals with most of the car needs. Not that he likes it, either, but like cooking, it’s become his unofficial provenance. “I’ll deal with everything else,” I promised, and for the most part, we’ve kept that agreement.

One thing he can’t help me with, however, is computer maintenance. Jay is one of those rare folk who barely knows how to turn the computer on, and he’s unapologetic about it. As a writer, I obviously need to be on the computer, sometimes more than I’d like to be. Unfortunately, I bring my lazy and irresponsible attitude toward cars to this other piece of important machinery in my life. I know very little about how it works. I don’t really care. I just want the darn thing to work.

computer virus

Over the years, I’ve been smart enough to purchase and install anti-virus software on the various computers I’ve owned, and that’s about the extent of it. Once or twice I was foolish enough to let my subscription lapse, and then complained-loudly-about problems and weird tics the computer picked up. Since I’ve started blogging, this fairly new computer I’m working on has become extremely important, and I’ve made sure the software is up to date.

However, I got into the habit of bringing the computer with me to various coffee shops and using their free wi-fi to go online. Bad, bad, bad idea. I’m only just realizing how unsafe and unsecure these connections are. For the past few months, my computer had been giving me a frightening amount of grief: scam pop-up warnings, mostly, that wouldn’t go away unless I restarted the computer, or my screen freezing up. I knew my computer had bugs, and I knew I had to do something about it, before something really bad happened. Like a total crash. As it was, my computer was becoming virtually unusable.

I finally broke down and spent $70 for some PC repair software. I lost several hours of precious computer time installing and running this software. I also poked around in my Windows messages and installed long-overdue Window updates, which also took several hours.

The good news is, my computer is running much better now. It was abominably slow at first, but it’s sped up in the days since installing the software. So luckily, I averted disaster. The bad news is, I’m still running on Windows 7, and I know that someday I’ll have to upgrade. I hate the new Windows format, but as I’m finding in the world of technology, you must keep up or keep out.

Moral of the story: no more wi-fi in strange places; and respect your technological partner. Let’s keep it safe, people!

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