Saturday, July 03, 2004

Technology Shyer

Well im rapidly becoming part of the technological underclass, technology seems to have passed me by when i wasnt looking. Was there some sort of big technological training course one week when i was on holiday? Did the whole world manage to go on this course or have an implant in their brain except me in this week? Its most technology as well - im having trouble using my new digital camera, i cant programme the address book on my mobile phone and my PC must joke about me with its friends when im not near it.

My brother and i have fairly similar tastes in most things, so i use him to tell me what things i should be having - its a fairly lazy way of operating but it works to keep me updated, i'd still be buying head cleaning tapes for my walkman or using whiskey and cotton buds if i didnt have this help. The problem is that i cant use this new technology to its full extent when i get it home after purchasing it, recently ive bought an IPod - ive got as far as putting all my CD's on my PC, ive even rated a few tracks. Thats your lot. I cant go any further.

So anyway, 3 months after purchasing my own PC im now starting to investigate things other than my hotmail and Stagsnet. I got broadband around the same time because my brother has it and it looks the kind of thing that i might utilise - and i didnt want to be the dial up poor relation. One of the things i do know is that dial up is rubbish and broadband is better - or so ive been brainwashed to believe. So anyway tonight I downloaded a firewall, i had to ask my brother whether i had one already, and i also asked him if i needed one. Apparently i do need it, so i download one that a magazine im reading suggests and now i keep getting pop-ups telling me that something is trying to access my PC. They pop-up quite a lot too. I think i was far happier in blissful ignorance, now im concerned about burglars. I get the impression of the house being surrounded by spotty teenagers with screwdrivers.

Is this serious? And were people trying to access my PC before? And if they were and succeeded then why is it there no difference in performance pre vs post firewall. Is it all a big scam and im the only one thats noticed? I think im on to something you know.

As an aside and by way of a little break - i know this blog is getting long: Is 'PC' the right term to be using too? - or does the use of the word 'PC' single me to out to those in the know that i am a technology pauper and that they can use words i dont understand to confuse me even more or a signal to extort money from me for changing a printer cartridge?

Whilst trying to educate myself to this new technology language i read in a magazine that adware, spyware and even intrusive cookies can monitor your online activity. This didnt sound like something i wanted to happen, but i wasnt really sure to be honest so i took the magazines advice and investigated downloading a suggested file. I read a few reviews when i got to where this file was located, this one for example:

" I think Spybot is working fine. However, it adds about 1000+ keys and 1600+ values into my Windows registry. After uninstall, contact Spybot support and use their reg clean script, there are still close to 1000 registry values left. Had to do manual system restore and registry edit and delete. I wish they can come up with a cleaner way to detect spyware without taxing the registry this much"

I recognise the words, but not in their current order. Its not English is it? There must be aliens on the planet and this is their code for contacting each other.

So i didnt bother downloading it because as much as i dont like the sound of cookies attacking me, it seemt far more attractive than having to do find out how to do a manual system restore.

My point is that there seems to be some language developed over the last few years that only the 'comfortable with computers' understand, it cant just be me that needs help and cant find a translation book. Or is it? Is it just job creation by the computer literate, if they confuse the hell out of everybody else then customers will just throw their hands up in the air and say 'i dont understand you - just fix it for me and send me the bill, i'll be in a dark room'. Im turning into my Dad with the way he used to mess around with the video recorder, i dont want to become a source of amusement to any future offspring i might have.

Im reading a magazine that kind of helps but they then go off into the language again and i turn the page and read the article telling me that i ought to visit, so i do and im far happier. I did want to put that bit as link but i cant get it to work, even though ive managed to do it in a previous blog, which kind of proves the whole argument.

Where can i find out more about what i need to do? Do i need to know more? Do i know enough already? Is there some magazine or tutorial out there that doesnt assume i know enough to get by? I know how to switch my PC on in the morning, how to connect to the internet and that typewriter is the longest word you can get from the top row of a keyboard. Thats it.