John Dvorak’s column in PC Magazine today lists ten axioms of modern computing. He recommends simply accepting them; fighting them will make your life miserable. Although tongue is planted firmly in cheek, you will likely recognize more than a few things on the list.

  • “USE DEFAULTS. Always let the program choose the default during installation. Give up on the idea that you’re in charge of the machine. While many programs give you the option of choosing a different destination for all those installation files, forget it. These offers are not serious. You can be certain that by choosing an installation location that is anywhere other than the default location, you’ll suffer in some way someday.
  • RESTART NOW. When asked if you want to restart, always restart immediately. Sure, you are given the option to restart later. You can do it right away, or you can do it in a week. The restart-later option only exists to trick you into seeing what happens if you delay restarting. If you ever call customer support it is the first thing they will ask you about. Then if you tell them you did not restart immediately they will laugh and put you on the speakerphone. Don’t be fooled, restart now.
  • MINIMUM DOES NOT WORK. Don’t be cheap with memory. While you can buy machines with the minimum memory required to run Windows, this is actually a marketing gimmick. Get twice the minimum or you’ll be sorry. Four times the minimum is even better.
  • WIZARDS ARE A HOAX. Wizards are not wizards, they are attempts to waste your time and frustrate you. Once in a while they work, but not intentionally. Installation wizards, troubleshooting wizards–none of them work. When you call customer support in Bombay you get someone there running the same wizards only with an Indian accent. The better solution is to throw out the computer and buy a new one.
  • UPGRADES DO NOT HELP. When you upgrade software nothing good happens. The software just gets prettier, maybe. In many cases the software vendor has studied the usefulness of the product and then added useless features while often eliminating or changing the one good feature, the specific feature that you used a lot. This is done on purpose because software companies hate you.
  • CUSTOM INSTALLS ARE NOT CUSTOM. When installing software you are often given two options, a “typical install” or a “custom (advanced)” install. There is no difference. This option is to give you the illusion that you are smart and in control when you pick the advanced option.
  • WHEN YOUR NET CONNECTION IS DOWN, NOBODY WILL KNOW WHY. Nobody knows why your Net connection is down, ever. Most ISPs, especially if they are owned by a phone company, will not even know that your connection is down until you tell them and then they will act flabbergasted. If you ask them to look into it they will start a trouble ticket which is then thrown into a waste bin. The connection eventually returns on its own for unknown reasons.
  • Wi-Fi BRAND INTEROPERABILITY DOESN’T WORK. Oh, it works sometimes, but generally if you begin to mix too many different Wi-Fi brands you’ll discover that they don’t work well together, if at all. These companies are too busy making money to care. Get over it.
  • OLD BURNED CDs FAIL. They don’t fail immediately, but those old backups and files you burned onto CDs (and now DVDs) will stop working any minute. Go check some of the old ones you did. You’ll see. You’ll discover that you can’t read a few of them already. So sorry.
  • COMPUTERS CRASH MORE AS THEY GET OLDER.This is part of a scheme hatched by the hardware and software companies to get you to buy new machines. It’s a slow degenerative process that you can do nothing about it. Nobody is really sure how it works. We’re studying it.”
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