Computer Dependency

Computers – and their software – you’ve got to love and hate them at the same time.

Last week’s challenges included being hit by the McAfee issue on one computer. Luckily, we have access to more than one computer, and the others were not damaged by their “false positive” on a critical Windows operating system file. When McAfee deleted the critical file, the system was crippled.

But, we were able to research the problem on a second computer and fix the faulted machine. However, this took time. The first few hours were spent trying to fix an unknown problem on the damaged system. Too many blue screens in the past made us think this was an operating system crash. Only later did we learn that McAfee’s “protection” had severely impacted the system by erasing an important file.

Even more of an issue, the “fixes” noted on the internet required you to have internet access to identify the solutions to the problem. Unfortunately, removing the critical file also removed the ability to access the internet from the damaged system.

We were fortunate to have another computer, not damaged by the McAfee file removal, that provided the ability to research the problem and identify the appropriate steps for repairing the system.

If that wasn’t character building enough, over the weekend, the weather impacted the cable modem on another computer.  That took out a second system. Again, we were fortunate to have a separate computer with wireless access to the internet allowing us to research the problem and the suggested solutions.

Various steps were taken to recover the cable modem and repair the various files. Still no internet access.

After time spent in e-chats and on phone calls to customer service, someone at the cable vendor noticed that we had an internet outage in our area.

Hopefully, the cable modem will be operational soon.

But, these sagas illustrate how dependent we are on the internet. We use it for business and for research. These problems show how important it is to have alternative ways to access the internet when issues like this occur.

After many hours on computer repair duty, I certainly feel sympathy for those folks who only have one computer that is adversely impacted either by the McAfee Security problem or by the internet outages.

That sympathy is especially warranted for the computer problems of today. They require access to the internet to research and solve when inability to get to the internet is one of the fundamental problems.

This certainly sounds similar to the chicken and egg problem.

How do you get an egg without a chicken? Or, how do you get a chicken without an egg?

In our case, how do you get to the internet without software network connectivity? Or, how do you get software network connectivity without the solutions found on the internet?

Lessons learned. Diversify computer equipment, operating systems and internet access just like you diversify your numismatic collections and your investments!