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Do Computers Suck?


Do computers make you more productive, or do you spend so much time struggling that sometimes you wonder if they are worth the trouble?Do you have a questions about computers or the internet and how they work? Post your questions and I'll try to answer some in future posts.


Brent Cagle 10 years, 4 months ago

I'm a certified computer technician, so struggling with computers is a daily occurrence for me. And yes, sometimes they really do suck!

Ronda Miller 10 years, 4 months ago

Okay, David, I am not talking about me of course, but I have a friend who doesn't know how to add links to what he/she writes. Would you please go through this procedure, for my friend - tee hee? Thank you!

zettapixel 10 years, 4 months ago

When did ExpressCard become the new standard for laptops instead of the PC Card (PCMCIA) format? We've got some new laptops here at work and assumed that we could get PCMCIA style wireless network adapters, but instead we found out that the laptops had ExpressCard slots and that they weren't compatible. Thanks!

Alia Ahmed 10 years, 4 months ago

Computers only suck when they aren't working or I can't find an internet connection!

David Klamet 10 years, 4 months ago

Ronda, I will post something on adding links and other formatting to posts in the near future.

zettapixel: I had not heard of ExpressCards either. Two different laptops recently purchased from Dell still had PCMCIA slots.

Whenever I have a question about something technical that I haven't heard of before, I often start at Wikipedia. The accuracy of their technical articles is usually pretty good and it at least gives a place to start.

Here is the link to the appropriate entry.


The article includes info about when manufacturers starting shipping systems with ExpressCards slots.

If the wireless you mention is WiFi, then I would expect that to be built into any new laptop. If it is a card to connect to EDGE or another cellphone data network, then I'm not aware if their are ExpressCards available. .

Larry Powers 10 years, 4 months ago

There was a time when I thought computers were the curse of mankind. Now I use one at work and at home. I am a writer and poet, a member of an international on-line writing community. I use the computer frequently for research. The internet provides an invaluable tool for my purposes. I have learned more about computers as I use them more. They can be a nuisance at times, but for most purposes, the computer has been a great aid for me.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 4 months ago

West of Manus

It's still here this morning. The hand hanging in the eastern sky, soft and dark in the rising sun, a bobbing massif offering to shake with some unseen stranger to the north,

No blood, bone, connective tissue or flesh visible at that place where its wrist should be, only a structure of iridescent smoke trailing off from an unresolved truncation, apparently melting into the ethers. But the hand does not melt. It persists.

It's as it was the day before and the day before when it picked up a monumental, yolk-colored post from beyond the setting and scratched on the hill across the valley, propagating a cloud of dirt which drifted towards me.

From a mile away I could hear roots cut and rocks crack in the muffled plowing of the post's sharp point and by the time some word was finished I could breathe what was torn, see what was left behind, a dirty sap and graphite tang in air, its expression on the hill,

dust drifting up and off to blend in the east with those tailings of wrist, building that atmosphere where a hand abides.

Bring back the PENCIL!~) My computer both sucks and blows. It's the little fan.

New2Lawrence 10 years, 4 months ago

David, Sprint has Express cards that connect you to their EVDO network (currently the fastest mobile network) expect to see new express cards for the emerging WiMax solutions.

average 10 years, 4 months ago

Computers don't necessarily suck. But, no one has made them foolproof. Apple may be the closest, although I think the 'classic' MacOS (7 to 9) was slightly more 'totally-don't-care-about-computers' friendly than even OS X. OS X is still better than any Windows about that.

For someone who has years of computer experience, but no drop-dead 'I have to have exactly software X', Linux can be great. From a bare computer, with Windows I'm chasing down 6 different CDs with apps, and going to 10 different websites to get common add-ons, virus protection, drivers, etc. Ubuntu? One CD gets me going. Plugged into broadband, I just point and click at any of thousands of available free, updated software packages I'd like to try. If I care to, I can actually understand at a pretty basic level what is going on with each program too, unlike Windows where there's always some magical registry key that does whatever.

Linux is pretty useful for my Grandma, too. She wanted: web (Firefox with Flash), mail (Thunderbird), poker, and to write letters (OpenOffice was fine). Since I was going to help her (remotely), anyway, I got to push Linux on her. After six years of regular german-porn popup infections and Bonzai Buddies, she's much happier. And I haven't actually had to do remote assistance once.

oldvet 10 years, 4 months ago

Computers... nah, they can be frustrating at times, but they make a lot of things easier, quicker and more enjoyable, so they do not suck...

Now Fizzou Tigers, on the other hand...

David Lignell 10 years, 4 months ago

I use a laptop to check work emails or write correspondence from a remote location at times, and that's worked well for my schedule. Doing online taxes, banking, shopping, and so on, has all been a plus for me. Still, I probably spend more time that I should scanning the Internet in lieu of reading, and that's a habit I need to break.

Marlo Angell 10 years, 4 months ago

In film school I had to manually cut and paste my films together, but now I do all my editing at home on my mac. So from my perspective, computers don't suck. Having said that, I have had several hard drives crash throughout my career and that can be really frustrating.

gccs14r 10 years, 4 months ago

To err is human. To really foul things up requires a computer.

David Klamet 10 years, 4 months ago


I use Linux regularly and agree with all you've said.

Setting up your grandmother with a Linux machine reminds me of a job I had during the internet boom. I worked for a company who was trying to bring the web and email to senior citizens, especially those in retirement homes. Linux was a big part of what we were working on.

Unfortunately, the boom turned to bust before we could get rolling.

One reason I like Linux is that it reminds me of the days when people would work together to build a barn. The fact that it is the work of volunteers and has not ceased to amaze me and I've been using it since the very early days (1994).

I understand those who like Mac's. It is probably easier to use and it now has Unix under the hood. I don't use a Mac for philosophical reasons. i.e. Apple forces you to buy their hardware. Their reasons are business reasons, and not technical. I see them as wanting to be the next Microsoft. I use Windows, mostly because I'm must. At least MS allows you to use their software on the hardware of your choice. I have no desire to help make another billionaire.

I see Linux as those guys out in the field, building that barn. That is an exaggeration, and I know that businesses are involved and use Linux to make money. Still, like you say, I can download the image, burn a CD and install it for free. And it is cool--very,very cool.

It is still not quite ready for prime time, but it is inching closer.

compmd 10 years, 4 months ago

As many of you know, I work with LOTS of different kinds of computers, everything from very small embedded systems using ATmega and XScale processors all the way up to Sun Enterprise and IBM AS/400 behemoths. I've seen it all.

Do computers suck? I am going to write a long post (or three) on this in the very near future. Stay tuned.

compmd 10 years, 3 months ago

Alright, so its days later. Whatever.

No. Computers are systems of system of billions of discrete components, and they work. Its quite marvelous, especially considering how young they are relative to us. Think of how much information people have access to and think of the ease with which it can be obtained. Consider how much more we can do with the help of computers, and how much we can improve on what we have.

Now I speak of computers in general. In practice, personal computing has become a bit of a joke lately. Technology isn't progressing usefully. Personal computers aren't getting any faster, they are getting bigger, what with this multicore stuff that the chipmakers are feeding us. The scientific computing world has used parallel computing for ages, and it has served science well. Now is the era for parallel computing on the desktop, but it isn't really happening yet. Most consumer software programs are not written to take advantage of parallel computing, nor are they even written in languages suitable for a parallel computing environment. People are force fed bloated crapware from all around that impedes their computing "experience." DRM is a sickness that plagues modern PCs and media, yet somehow millions of people seem to be okay with companies telling them what they can and cannot do with equipment they own outright.

Make the computer companies do some real innovation folks. Stop drinking their koolaid, and stop "upgrading." For the vast majority of people in the US, a 5-6 year old computer is more than sufficient. Personally, I don't own a machine newer than that. I'm posting this from an 8 year old laptop running Windows2000 that I use mostly as my daily PC. In the lab at home and around the apartment are other old machines that do great, useful things. A Dell Precision 733 MHz workstation has been loaded up with hard drives and is a linux based media server. An SGI Octane is used for audio and video recording and editing. An SGI O2 is connected to a TV to watch recorded tv shows or movies. I use a Sun Ultra10 C3D for programming and CAD. A Sun Enterprise 2 with two disk arrays handles data backup for all those machines. Personal data is kept on a pair of IBM AS/400s that are only powered on when necessary. What's sad is that all of this equipment was someone else's junk and was acquired for little to no money. All my needs are quite well met.

So maybe computers do suck. Or maybe its the marketing of the computer companies that sucks. I dunno, they sure don't make computers as well as they used to. If you want a powerful, indestructible computer, go buy a four year old Dell Precision with a Xeon processor. The performance is good, the price is cheap, and they refuse to die.

Okay, that's enough random yelling from me. I'll step down off my soapbox now. Thanks.

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