Thursday, October 10, 2013

Computer Questions? Bueller? Bueller? Are you there?

I've always wanted to write up explanations about why certain things are the way they are in technology, specifically computers.

But then, I thought, "The only one who cares is a German in Washington who then would disagree with some of my simplistic explanations.  So, umm, no."

Do YOU (non-German reader) have any questions about computers and what we argue about in technology headlines?


Remember, only computer-type questions.  I barely understand the Fed.


  1. Whats the Fed?

    I've a computer support husband who sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown when he talks technology. Infact this is his google id.... if only i kne how to bloody change it

    1. Fed, as in "Federal Reserve". Think "Bank of England"

  2. I'm a 12.5% German and I don't live in Washington so I don't think that counts. I only know my computer doesn't ever do what I want it to but exactly what I tell it to as in - I say and when I mean or. Any idea when a computer is going to understand what I mean - or is that just inviting skynet?

    1. If soft-and-squishy people can't get their points across to each other, and these are the same people who program computers, then computers can never get to the point of reading your mind.

      When I was in grad school, I was somewhat interested in artificial intelligence. And then as I started taking courses in it, I discovered that many of the major concepts in AI were discussed in the 1930's....the problem was they didn't have enough computer power to test out their theories.

      At that point, I bailed. The logic was that if they had to wait 80+ years to even test out their theories...then what if they said, "Hunh, these theories don't work. Okay, we'll have to wait another 40+ years to try out the next theories."

      I decided that maybe making the computers for those theorists to try out the theories was more fun.

      And yes, Skynet is coming. It's just you thought it was a cute little function on your iPhone.

  3. Do all the security patches and firewalls really help? At my Big Pharma workplace, we are constantly getting patches and updates that then mess up important programs we actually use. Is it worth it?

    1. Yes and No. About 14 years ago, the Mega-lo-corp's internal networks were brought down to it's knees because someone downloaded a file and it had a hidden virus in there. Then, the company made us go to firewalls so that one lab or one floor that gets infected can't spread easily to another lab. Since then, it has worked, but it is a pain in the rear end having to step through fiirewalls just to do your daily work. Firewalls don't prevent infections, the slow down the spread of them like dikes in a flood zone.

      As for security patches, they need to be applied because if certain companies (cough, cough) are such lazy asses and never admit that their product is actually vulnerable to a virus actually get off the fat lazy asses to put together a security patch, you know it's gotta be bad. The thing is you are never told if those patches prevented a potential infection - thus making you think that it was pointless. It's like the flu shot every year. You don't think you need it and you may never have needed it...until you're laying in bed, miserable and then you say, "Why did I not do it this year!?!"

      BTW, it's totally not a surprise that putting on patches makes your stuff stop working. There is no way they (the patch makers) can test all the various combinations of their own software and other software (each at a different version level) to see if their patch break things. They would go broke trying to make sure the patches work for everyone.