Zero? Really? Zero?

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This morning I had no Likes and no comments waiting for me here. I don’t think that’s happened since we first started this blog, ten years ago. How does it happen? Did WordPress do something damaging? (They’ll deny it.)

And of course my stats page is all bollixed up for no reason, and can’t be fixed, and just looks horrible.

Well, things sort of have to get better from here… don’t they?

24 comments on “Zero? Really? Zero?

  1. I’m here, maybe I am a zero. I do feel like one. I have noticed things have been different at least on my computer. I have no idea how to fix anything computer since I lot my little mac mini. Nothing else works
    worth beans. Sorry about the mess.

    1. Well, I’m relieved to hear from you, Erlene!
      I’m on the laptop at the moment, where my pages still display normally. Betcha there just ain’t no way to fix the main computer.

    2. There are Macs, and there is everything else. I just got a new MacBook, even though my old 2014 model is still stunningly good. I figured that my tax refund will repay me the cost, and I got an excellent deal on this computer. The 2014 will, hopefully, not be retiring, but I’m actually hoping to “promote” it to my work computer, which is to say that a 2014 MacBook, IMHO, is at least as good as the 2019 Windows laptop my employer provides.

      What happened to your Mac Mini? I had one myself, and it was, likewise, an excellent piece of hardware. The power supply failed in mine, and I had to perform some delicate surgery, but I got it going again and, to the best of my knowledge, it’s still chugging along. I gave it to someone that needed a computer and haven’t seen it in a few years, but that’s ok, so long as it’s doing some good.

      It may be possible to fix your Mini. They are not built like a normal PC, and I wouldn’t trust one to the PC repair guy on the corner, but they can be worked on.

    3. I don’t have a Mac Mini. I don’t even know what a Mac Mini is. All I know is that somehow my stats page–AND my home page–got debauched. And when the WP happiness engineer tries to examine it, all he sees is the normal page. That suggests the problem is the computer itself. *sigh*

    4. That sounds like a cop out, on their part.

      A Mac Mini is the least expensive Macintosh computer, and a truly wonderful tool. You can buy a refurbished Mac Mini for under $300 and new ones start around $700. Beyond being well constructed, and built of quality components, the Macintosh Operating System is something I find appealing. It’s designed to be easy to use, but it’s capable of some very complex tasks, being based not upon Windows, but instead upon Unix, which is a very serious operating system, which has been used for many years in all sorts of crucial roles, such as operating much of the phone system.

      In my humble opinion, Windows trips over its own feet in trying to be user-friendly, while making access to the nuts and bolts of the systems unbelievably complex. For someone in my position, access to the underlying structure of the operating system is essential, and while Windows provides command-line access with PowerShell (which I refer to as Powers-Hell), Unix uses BASH, which has been around for a long time and is much simpler to work with. The Unix/Linux command-line environment is also much more similar to the Cisco networking hardware I work with, so using BASH to access a Cisco router or switch is seamless. I know that none of this has much relevance to what you do, on a day to day basis, but when someone needs to diagnose a problem, a Unix or Linux environment is a lot more straightforward.

      If anyone ever thinks of switching to a Mac, it does take some adaptation, and I spent the first week or so asking Google how to do things, but after that period of adaptation, I never looked back. There’s also the Linux world, which is accessible for very little cost. The Raspberry Pi is a computer you can build yourself for around $100, and they function quite well. I recently bought a used Pi, in exchange for a fast-food hamburger (no, I’m not kidding), spent $10 on a new case and $10 on a new power supply, and sent it off as a gift to a relative, that now uses this as his day-to-day computer. That’s really amazing, to think that for the price of a dinner for two at a typical restaurant, I was able to buy, refurbish and ship a tiny little computer across the country and have it be useable.

    5. One of my chief problems is an inability to master the vocabulary. So when I try to follow any kind of computer instructional, it’s like high school chemistry–none of it sticks to my brain and in no time at all, I’m lost.

    6. The problem, which is not of your making, is that modern computer operating systems are designed to be accessible to someone with zero background knowledge, but this never works well. Keeping in mind that I live in this world all day long, but I still have to study, in order to use the products I use, and I have to study even harder to support some of the more complex equipment. I find that learning the nouns is the biggest challenge.

      There are conventions which make life much easier. Ctrl + v copies selected text, while Ctrl + v pastes it. Alt + F4 closes most programs; things like that. I learned these years ago. The Dummies series of books, by IDG is a good starting point. Windows 10 for Dummies, or Windows 10 for Dummies Senior’s edition would be a good idea. That’s sort of my point. The “simplicity” built into Windows is designed to make it feasible to buy a computer at Walmart, take it home and use it without any instruction, but that’s simply not realistic. People can’t be expected to intuitively pick all of this up, anymore than you could buy an airplane and be expected to safely fly it, without any instruction.

      The good news is that it is possible to learn this, and you don’t have to be deeply interested in technology, in order to make it work. It really comes down to a few basics, which keep you oriented. You’re in the same boat that any number of other people find themselves in. As some of these tech companies have sought to lower the bar, in order to attract new customers, they have inadvertently created a legit of users that send most of their time befuddled, because they have never learned the basics. Amazingly, one Dummies book can make a huge difference.

      A number of years ago, a professor in computer sciences realized that new students coming into his classes had no idea of the concepts involved in programming and administering computers. Home computers had become bland appliances, which remanded no basic skills or understanding of programming logic, of their users. The result was the Raspberry Pi project, which made simple computers available at such low prices that it was feasible to have a full-on Linux computer for each child in a family. They are simple to use, but allow children to learn some programming and to develop good computer skills.

      If you can keep track of the threads of of the characters in your books, you can certainly handle anything, any computer can throw at you. I don’t mean this as a criticism of you, or any other person that struggles with computers, because it is NOT your fault, but the problem is almost completely one of language. If you were deposited into a country which spoke a language which is unfamiliar to you, it’s only natural that you would be disoriented. There would be little, if anything, to which you could anchor, as a way of orienting yourself. Even after years of living in such a situation, one would always be playing a game of catchup, because the underlying rules of the language could never be gained from intuition alone. However, if you were to be given language instruction which taught you the ground rules, and that instruction was even by someone that spoke your native language well, then you would be able to see the conventions of the language in context and it would make much more sense.

      I speak from experience. I live an hour’s drive from a country where everyone speaks Spanish and my Spanish is limited to what little I remember from Jr. High Spanish classes. In a Spanish speaking environment, my perceived IQ is, at best, 10-15% of what it is in English. If I were to end up in a situation where I had to communicate in Spanish, I would start with a Dummies book, and try to understand, not the language, but the rules and conventions which govern the language. Once I had those under my belt, understanding the language would be a much simpler task.

      Computers are exactly the same problem. Working with computers requires language skills that are not part of the English either of us grew up with, but it can be learned. The frustration you experience is simply a byproduct of trying to feel your way through, without knowing the language. The heck of it is, that the words may seem familiar, because they are based upon English, but the application of those words is quite different, and quite specific. For example, a “virtual computer” uses two familiar words, but unless you are exposed to the way this phrase is used in the world of computing, one probably would not understand that a “virtual computer” is a computer that exists as a program running on a host computer. In other words, I can have a virtual computer running as a program inside my computer and it exists and can be programmed to perform tasks, just like a standalone computer. These are actually very useful and you benefit from them every day, but it’s a perfect example of familiar words being used in specific ways, to describe something unfamiliar.

      I think that a Dummies book might make life a lot better and make your computer more comprehensible.

    1. I’ve just visited your blog–it’s beautiful! I hope some of my readers see this and visit you today. I do wish I still had Reblog!

  2. To paraphrase a ’60s ad campaign; maybe it’s your mouthwash. 🙂 Just kidding, Lee. I don’t know why that happened, but such are the vagaries of life on the Web.

    1. It made me fear something else was broken.

      And if we replace this computer, I’ll have to return to a state of total ignorance… because we’ll have Windows 10 and I have only just barely learned to work with Windows 7.

    2. Win 10 was not an easy adaptation for me. I resisted for as long as possible, but these days, businesses have to use 10. I did, eventually, adapt, but I think that Windows 10 is a perfect example of Windows tripping over its own feet in an attempt to be user-friendly. Microsoft is always trying to build a better mousetrap and Windows 10 is their idea of perfection. Every operating system has its limitations and compromises, but Windows 10 strikes me as erring in the direction of making things too simple.

      I learned computers in the DOS era, and had to read a phone-book thick manual, in order to master DOS 5. But oncer I had paid that price, the knowledge stuck, and I learned my way around. When windows 95 came out, they took away access to a lot of behind the scenes configuration tasks, and tried to incorporate them in such a way that we couldn’t access these settings. Suddenly, the horse and the rider had switched roles. I hated that era of the Windows OS. I learned 95, and was fairly skilled with it, but Microsoft saw fit to make it nearly impossible to administrate. It wasn’t until Windows 2000 that some degree of sanity returned.

      Windows XP was inspired; as good as any OS to date, but it had been designed in a less sophisticated era and lacked some internal security which prevented unauthorized access to memory and processes by malicious software, so it had to be replaced. For some inexplicable reason, Microsoft seems to think that they have to reinvent the wheel, every time they upgrade a core operating system. I have nearly thirty years of experience in micro computers and think the the Windows XP user interface was the best I ever saw, but Microsoft decided to try to improve upon it, which, IMHO, is a study in failure. Every release since has been rough for users to learn. I was once handed a Windows 8 machine that a user had purchased, and they were unable to make it do anything. Only because of know some shortcuts, I was able to make it do somethings, but it was miserable, to say the least. Windows 10 is better than that, but still a study if how to make even the simplest of tasks more complex.

      I do not own any Microsoft products, and I have no intention of ever owning any. Mac OS and Debian Linux are where I put my money (and Debian Linux is free).

  3. my little buddy, the Mac mini was wonderfully simple, and had features no other computer has ever shown me. It operated exactly as I thought a computer should, and I did some very good things with it. When I
    moved from Wa. to Id. to live with my son, everything was fine for a few days, then my mac died of a sudden heart attack in the middle of a sentence. Since it had been a gift from my grandson, he had me
    mail it to him, and he tried to fix it. This time, it didn’t work even though he is a computer whiz, but sadly, not this time. Now, this windows 10 is driving me bonkers. grrr

    1. A refurbished Mac mini can be obtained for not a lot of dough. I agree completely that a Mac is like having a friend. It is, at its very essence, a simple, straightforward computer that operates logically, instead of the simpering, patronizing way that Windows assumes that the user has no sense and attempts to do your thinking for you.

    2. Maybe I’ll just keep this laptop until it falls apart. You have no idea how daunted I am by the prospect of any new computer. This is not my thing at all.

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