Bat­tling un­lim­ited PC power

Try­ing to keep one step ahead of a new com­puter

The Morning Bulletin - - LIFE - BRUCE KERR

IN the last 20 years that we have been build­ing, sup­ply­ing and fix­ing com­put­ers we have seen a 100 fold in­crease in their power and ca­pac­ity.

Along with this we have seen op­er­at­ing sys­tems in­crease in com­plex­ity from the truly ground-break­ing (at the time) Win­dows 95 to the cur­ren­tWin­dows 10.

We are of­ten asked by cus­tomers – “Why do they need to make these things so com­plex?” The an­swer is sim­ple. They are de­signed to be so many things to so many peo­ple. A teenager can pur­chase aWin­dows 10 PC off the shelf and in no time they have all of their mu­sic on it – grouped via artist or genre and in a playlist that can give them a dif­fer­ent song all day ev­ery day for a month.

At the same time a sci­en­tist can buy the same PC, in­stall their own soft­ware and do com­plex com­pu­ta­tional mod­el­ling in 10 min­utes that would take a life­time of but­ton press­ing – even with a good cal­cu­la­tor.

The same PC can also suit a mechanic with a USB adap­tor to di­ag­nose and tune the lat­est petrol or diesel engines and au­to­matic trans­mis­sions.

Un­for­tu­nately and be­cause of mass mar­ket­ing and a grab for re­cur­ring on­line rev­enue all three of the above peo­ple will have trou­ble with trial and per­sis­tent soft­ware prompt­ing them for their hard earned dol­lar. This lat­est annoyance has be­come part and par­cel of the mod­ern com­puter and in­ter­net con­nec­tion.

It is easy to see that for a sin­gle op­er­at­ing sys­tem to be able to cater for such var­ied use it needs to be in­cred­i­bly com­plex and hence it is. Just to de­velop some of the sys­tems and com­mands needed there is a whole swag of tech­ni­cal jar­gon and com­puter terms that the av­er­age lay­man has lit­tle clue about.

In most cases a com­puter user will only need around 10% of the op­tions pro­vided to them by an op­er­at­ing sys­tem and so the ini­tial con­fig­u­ra­tion or setup of the PC be­comes im­por­tant once off task. This is where pro­fes­sional help can save a lot of curs­ing and wasted time at best and a com­plete dis­as­ter at worst.

If you could buy the one car that was able to be con­fig­ured af­ter pur­chase for the same vari­a­tion of dif­fer­ent tasks then it too would need to be able to be con­fig­ured along the lines of the fol­low­ing. Op­tional 4x4, dif­fer­ent lev­els of power and econ­omy, dif­fer­ent colours, dif­fer­ent in­te­ri­ors, left or right hand drive, dif­fer­ent trans­mis­sion modes, power rat­ings, load car­ry­ing ca­pac­i­ties, tow­ing ca­pac­i­ties, max­i­mum speeds, lan­guage, num­ber of seats, con­nec­tions to other cars, con­nec­tions to ser­vice cen­tres, con­nec­tions to the man­u­fac­turer for up­dates and for pro­tec­tion against a range of very smart and so­phis­ti­cated thieves.

Do you think the av­er­age driver could change and con­fig­ure all of these sys­tems them­selves? It is al­most like the mod­ern PC is a tech­ni­cal fac­tory in a box. The num­ber of dig­i­tal uses that it can cope with are nearly lim­it­less.

If you are hav­ing trou­ble with a new PC then don’t be too harsh on your­self as like most things, IT is an ac­quired skill and it is also a skill the even the techs find can quickly be­come out of date if they are not ex­pos­ing them­selves to the lat­est and new­est. It is just lucky that they en­joy work­ing in this field, or where would it leave the rest of us? Fu­ture Byte Me top­ics can be emailed to byte­mearti­cles@gmail.com

Drop in to see Bruce at Kerr So­lu­tions, 205 Mus­grave St, or phone 4922 2400.

PHOTO: POIKE

TECH FA­TIGUE: If you find keep­ing up with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy ex­haust­ing, you’re not alone.

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