This summer I spent more time with my camera than my computer. As a camp photographer up in the mountains of White County, I shot more than 20,000 photos. To make them look good, I had to edit them quickly and judiciously -- good enough for parental scrutiny.
My dad was into gadgets. He liked to be on the cutting edge of electronics. OK, this was the late 1960s so nothing was really small or cheap yet. But when pocket calculators initially arrived on the market, they were about three-quarters of an inch thick and about the size of a cellphone.
Every few weeks I hear a panicky plea from across the house, "Honey, the printer's not working." So I bellow back, " Did you try rebooting the computer?"
Windows 8 is great, if you are used to it or if you have a touch-screen laptop or tablet. But more and more of my clients are complaining that they just got a new PC with Win 8 installed - and they hate it. What they really want is that new computer loaded with their old operating system, Windows 7.
Since the early 1990s, I've had half a dozen desktop computers, five laptops, various printers, a couple of faxes, a plethora of dumb phones and a couple of smartphones. But just this week I got my first tablet computer. As I once initially thought, I had no need for a computer (my dedicated Smith Corona Word Processor was just fine for a writer), I also thought I didn't need a tablet. I was wrong.
Today's smartphones allow us mobile access to so much more information than ever before. We can take charge of our schedule, email, texts, social networking, computing, Web browsing, banking and more. But what if you weren't the only one that had control of all that sensitive information in your mobile phone?
I have been a fan of the Windows operating system since its inception. With Windows XP back near the turn of this century, things started getting better. Wireless and USB support were introduced and many enhancements were added with that edition. Improvements were made to the computer hardware, the operating system and software; it all began to run faster than ever before.
Too many computers that I've worked on recently have had insufficient protection. Some had anti-virus apps or Internet security suites installed, but they were not properly configured. Some were so outdated they were completely ineffective.
While recently attempting to print a document on a printer I've had installed for over a year, Windows suddenly advised me that I in fact, had no printer installed. I could see the Officejet across the room; I just used it the night before and my wife had printed something on it earlier that morning, so I knew it worked.
There are good places to go on the Internet for downloads and there are not-so-good places. Often when you think you are navigating to a certain website, you end up somewhere else, possibly on a rogue site. You have been redirected.
Some routes are quicker than others. From our house, I use the Ledan Road shortcut to Ga. 53 and the Wild Smith shortcut to U.S. 129 North. On my laptop, I use keyboard shortcuts.
Anyone who uses a computer eventually gets error messages. These annoying pop-ups can often be intimidating, leaving the user frustrated. Google, at least has a sense of humor with their, "Aw snap, Google has crashed" and "Jim, I think he's dead." Most messages though, leave you exasperated, wondering what to do next.
The cloud is up there somewhere on the Internet, out in an intangible place you can't put your finger on, and although it can't be seen, has become a popular locale for computer data storage.
Attempting to create an image of my hard drive to DVDs recently, I discovered I had a nonfunctional optical drive. So I ran it through all the tests I could think of and came to the conclusion that is was in fact a hardware issue. What was so unsettling is the fact that my laptop is only four months old.
My wife logged on to her eBay account early one morning this week to discover she had sold two Wii units to someone in South Carolina. Normally this would have been a good thing, except for the fact the she sells clothes online, not electronics.