Monday, May 30, 2011

Arnold knows computers, ask him, to fix it.

It is a tragic story of my life, how much I enjoy computers but don't like fixing them. Let me explain fixing. I enjoy the mechanical side of fixing, hardware. I can tear down a laptop, replace parts, put it back together and it still works. There is a certain thrill factor.

So, where's the tragedy? People's PC's are fine, they have a software problem. Everybody I know has either a Mac or Microsoft PC, I mean everybody. Not wanting to have the problems I've personally encountered with Microsoft products any longer I switched over to Linux. For ten years I have had a new problem base dealing with Linux. Way less problems, yet because I mess with PC's I get asked about fixing their software problems. They, the askers, don't get it, it's a computer, it has Microsoft on it, right?

Ok, there are certain general principals I can apply to fix anything. But knowing how to remedy programming glitches and such requires that you have used the software in question and have a sense of how it works. It does not instill much confidence when I just can't tell them what to do and even less when I must play with it a little bit and if I have to read a manual, I don't know computers very well.

I have worked as a repair technician, fixing Microsoft XP machines, but as I got into Linux, my interest in Microsoft products sort of went away. I didn't think it was a problem till I went to the library to use a PC. Their upgraded patron computer lab had all Win7 machines. I wanted to print a page. I had to figure out MS Word in the office suite. This is why I say, if you don't use it you just don't know it.

I say, "I use Linux." They get that glazed look in their eyes like "I'm savvy, what's Linux?" or I'm trying to avoid helping them. I am used to this but still it is frustrating. Maybe it's me! I use Linux instead of Microsoft, Libre Office not MS Office suite, GIMP instead of Photoshop, the list goes on. When I tell them Open Source stuff has runs on Microsoft versions and they are free, there is a curious ending of this conversation. I'm trying to tear them away from the brand-name they base their PC knowledge and loyalty on. No, no, no!

I'm not a Microsoft user, you can't ask me for Microsoft solutions. I might could figure it out but my experience is with Linux solutions, Open Source solutions. I have to go with what I know.

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