Of course, this title might sound so correct in the Christmas time of the year, but actually, it has nothing to do with it. It is actually true, there issnow in my computer. True, it is almost Christmas, but I can guarantee you that at the moment that I found out that there was snow in my computer, it were no jingle-bells that sounded, but less Christmassy words filled the attic. And that brings me, to an article I have been waiting to write for a little while; the 10 things I hate about computers.
When you read the Ebenezered part 1 article you will see that I actually have a fond memory of computers during the years. Well, that is because I of course very gracefully left the nasty pieces out of there, but this time… this time this is serious. I will tell the truth to the world! The word needs to be spread! Computers are crap (don’t die on my now sweet-sweet laptop, I am not talking about you!)!
1. No matter if it runs Fallout 3, they are still glorified calculators
No matter how much intelligence we like to assign to computers, they are really not that intelligent. Like what I wrote in the article about the 6th-sense technology, computers are not able to handle un-absolute things. If you don’t spell things out very carefully, a computer will have no clue what you are talking about. Worse, even when you try to make a computer handle something in one way, its functionality depends on so many other factors, like drivers, operating systems, browsers and even your power outlet, that if one of these things has a tiny error, the computer can go haywire. I am talking really about a stupid machine here. Even the largest Quantum computer has a less active brain-count then, well, the average inbred portrayed in Deliverance. There is one thing they can do quick, and rather well; calculating.
2. It cannot do anything on its own
Why is it so that a computer really needs to have my permission for anything. I mean, I need to tell it things, using the horrible interface of a keyboard or a mouse. Please. And I know as no other that security threats and the endless possibilities on a computer require the user to tell the computer what to do, but it might show a little bit of intelligence. We are now about 25 years into the popular use of the home computer, and HURRAY! It finally ‘sees’ when I plug in some hardware in the USB port. Believe me, my daughter recognized something that was handed to her in about 2 months of her life with no prior experience before that. Tsssss.
3. It is the proof of Murphy’s Law
If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. And with a computer add the following to it: When you can claim that it cannot go wrong, well, that means that it will go wrong. Having a bug in the system is so ‘okay’ these days. Nobody cares anymore. But not even that, handling a computer now on a hardware level is like a major heart-transplant. It is not difficult, but chances are you mess things up horribly.
4. They out-date faster than you can say ‘outdated’
This is not completely true I have to admit. I bought my Quad-Core 4GB computer 3 years ago and it still, even in Windows 7 reaches a 7.1 score out of 7.8. But still, it slows down so quickly. This is by-the-way by no means the computers fault, but the programmers’. I remember a long, long time ago when Test-Drive 4 was released. That was the first Test-Drive game that became a real racing game. It actually started out with full-screen full-framed video in the introduction, with sound, perfect, especially if you know that this was in the early nine-tees. It took suddenly almost 5 years before you could do such a performance in video in Windows. So, I still measure my standards by that, and somehow I feel that we are paying mostly for our new computers because programmer’s are lacking good solid computer knowledge. Ah, let me not blame allthe programmers here, because there are some true wizards of code out there. I need to blame a lot of project- and team-managers here, who want to push the deadline, not caring about the final product, as long as it hits the shelves before Christmas.
5. They cost money. A lot of money!
They say that if you check the average cost of a child until the age of 18, it is about $200,000. I think it is more, but alright. A computer might be actually quite high too if you check all the costs, including electricity, software (assuming that you buy it), internet, upgrades, new computer etc. I think in total the average computer costs about $1,500 a year, including write-off, and a $40 per month internet connection. So, that means in 18 years, to compare it with a child, a computer will cost you $27,000. And that is not even counting software licenses. And for that, you don’t get any love in return. Tssssss. True, also no adolescence, which saves again.
6. They cannot protect themselves
Alright, so we have to be afraid for identity theft, and for people just getting into our networks. But to be honest, your computer is not really helping. The average computer has about 25,000 open ports. A port is one, say, door to get inside the computer. Yes, picture your computer as your house. Now, let’s say it always has 25,000 open doors. Is it so weird that thieves get in? So, the first thing you have to do is close those doors, then install software that makes sure those doors stay closed, for which you usually pay money. And even that is not a guarantee.
Now, gladly, monopolist or not, companies like Microsoft are offering that software now for free. Nice. But still. Why do I need software for something that can be handled on the hardware side? Most people have no clue how security works on a computer, and they are sitting ducks. Tsssss. And court after court is handling lawsuits of companies trying to avoid this from being handled automatically. Unbelievable.
So we have here a hardware system. Hmnm. I can take a look at my car now. It came installed with a lock on all the doors. One push of the button, it is locked. If a thief then wants to break in, I can sue him. If a thief comes into your computer, you can’t. And there isn’t a lock on your computer. Isn’t this nice.
7. They overheat
One of the reasons I had snow in my computer was because I had to take it apart completely and clean it all up. I have my computer running day and night, so I can also reach it easily with remote access. But because it overheats easily, even in an custom developed aluminum casing with 7 fans, a giant CPU-fan and 4 Graphic-card fans, it still overheats. Why? One of the reasons; dust. When you look into your computer, really, usually it works with simple fans. The same one on your ceiling, but then smaller. But, blowing warm air in your casing, well, doesn’t really work. Blowing it out of your casing, doesn’t work either because it is replaced with, well, warm air. Ah, water-cooling, a lot better, but even then, think of it. It cannot cool. As long as there is no real cooling mechanism available in the thing, it is only helping a bit.
For me, one of the best things usually is leaving one side of the computer open, and putting a fan to it. I mean, a real fan, a not-yet-wind-tunnel fan. But the sound doesn’t really work, but at least the computer keeps running. The other problem is, when it is open, there is a lot more dust in it, causing, well, overheating. I can never win!
8. It delivers porn
No, not an anti-pornography rant here. I am a guy, I have seen my share of things. In Ebenezered part III I described porn to be one of the two elements that almost guarantees success in a new production. But that is also the problem. There is an overkill of porn everywhere. When I surf at work for a really normal site, it might be that porn-ads fly around. Worse if you knowthe url you have to go to but you mistype it. Somehow porn is everywhere. And I come from the Netherlands, and believe me, sex is there a major part of normal life. But this is even killing me! Porn here, porn there…
…and only 24 hours in a day!
9. We are depending too much on them
Even I have most of my work done on the computer, but have two in case that one, well, collects snow. Somehow it seems that I need to be able to reach my email every day, have my finances set up on it, have all my projects running on them. True, I make back-ups, and even back-ups of the back-ups. But, let’s be honest. Talk to someone who has a lot of money and ask if they keep all their money with one bank. Tadaaaaaah. Most people have one computer at home, and have a lot of their things handled by them. If that one breaks down, and in this economy not everyone can afford a new one, there might be quite some trouble. Somehow, that kind of thing was not around 15 years ago. It is just like with my wife, who had a GPS in the car from the moment she passed her driving tests. When the GPS breaks down, she breaks down and rather stand still besides the road waiting for the police to come to help her. For a lot of people it is the same way with computers right now. Geez. A lot of facebook or myspace users might actually have to hold a real conversation if their computer breaks down. Or think about an active Twitterer, having to talk to one person at a time. Eeeeeew.
10. Never, ever, ever open a computer
I like to quote Hugh Grant in Notting Hill: “It seems like I’ve opened Pandora’s box, and there is trouble inside!”. No matter how it begs, how it screams… never open a computer up. Please, take it from me, and I am a person who has been taking apart and rebuilding computers the majority of my life, there can come no good from it. Just like that you do not want to take a look in the kitchen in that restaurant you like the food so much about. Or, and I know this from experience, you don’t want to meet the model you see in the pictures you like because she looks so smart. Ignorance is bliss. If your computer begs for attention, always get someone you know in there, you know, the geek, and let him/her take a look. If he/she decides it is time for the Geek Squad, well, then, be my guest, but never bring it in yourself. But never unscrew those screws in the back.
Well, allright, another thing is that you never should have a computer guy working on the insulation of the attic. Because, well, they can miss a spot that you will only notice during the first blizzard of the year. That concludes how I got snow in my computer, and you know what, my computer did not like that. Point 11: Computers do not like water, no matter in what state it is in.