Do you sometimes have trouble turning your computer into a useful tool?
Recent studies report that expressing your anger won't relieve your stress, but only make you angrier. So when a computer hardware or software product fails you, before you pick up the phone and complain to some guiltless, under-trained call centre agent, prepare a checklist:
- Compose a problem description that's concise, but detailed enough to help zero in on possible causes. (E.g. "In Microsoft Excel when I select the File menu's Open command, the next thing I see is the message PLEASE INSERT A DISKETTE INTO THE A-DRIVE".)
- List your system's major hardware/software/netware components, and (if you remember) how they were acquired. (E.g. Did you buy your Dell Inspiron 9400 Notebook online, or at the corner PC shop? Are you using Sympatico DSL?)
- Record what "operating system" you are using. (Windows 8? XP Home? Macintosh System 10? Ubuntu Linux?)
- List any other software that you think might be involved. (Microsoft Office? Norton Anti-virus? Netscape Instant Messenger?)
To help you decide who to contact first prepare a checklist:
You don't want to waste time (after listening to endless repetitions of "you're call is important to us" before you can even describe your symptoms to a human being), only to be told to call someone else. Of course they may try to deflect you anyway, but you will do much better if you call the most likely culprit and show confidence in reporting a carefully prepared problem description.
- Where did you buy it? (e.g. Radio Shack, 123 Main St, Anytown, USA)
- Who built the computer? (e.g. Dell, HP, Apple)
- Who created the software manufacturer (e.g. Microsoft, Apple, Norton)
Following my advice won't guarantee you success at quickly resolving your problems with computers, but it will improve your odds. And the more you use computers, the more likely it is that they will cause you problems.
As I've written elsewhere, an element of chance seems to have entered into what had previously been the straightforward yes/no, on/off world of computers, to the point where I think that the worldwide system of interconnected computers may have moved beyond human understanding.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to use your home computer to things like prepare and print colourful invitations for your daughter's birthday party, or or exchange email with your nephew in Tokyo, or download digital music and install it on your MP3 player.
Click here to learn how I've helped others.
Instructional Designer and Softsmith