When “Just Works” Just Doesn’t Work Well Enough

Computer Issues

I’ve been having computer issues this week, and I’m not sure what the problem is. During my iTunes debacle last week, one of the steps suggested by the Senior Apple Tech I was speaking to was to make sure my Windows Updates were, well, up-to-date. I updated video drivers for my NVIDIA card, functionality drivers for my Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse and about a dozen non-essential Microsoft odds and ends.

In the past few days, though, I’ve had weird lock-ups and glitches and freezes, and I’ve had to hard shutdown or hard restart my desktop more times than I’ve had to since I got it at the start of 2010. (And while that’s a long time for a computer to last, the hardware in here should last at least that much longer still.) I’ve run anti-virus programs and spyware removers, I’ve un-installed and re-installed both drivers and programs, and I’m still running into issues. They’re not frequent enough to consider it a major problem, but they still happen more often than I’d like.

It’s times like these that I realize just how little I know about technology and the way things interact with one another. I can do more things on a computer than most people I know, but when I need to troubleshoot an unknown issue, I don’t have the faintest idea where to start.

Other times, there’s just about nothing you CAN do. On Tuesday, my sister woke up to an iPhone 4s with a non-responsive touchscreen. She could turn her screen on, but couldn’t swipe to unlock and gain access to her phone. While troubleshooting, we kind of figured the phone was a lost cause, but she wanted to back up her data (which she hadn’t done since September 24) just in case. When she plugged it into iTunes, though, she got this message:

Passcode Problems

iTunes could not back up the iPhone because it is locked with a passcode. You must enter your passcode on the iPhone before it can be backed up.

Yep, that’s right. She couldn’t back up her data because her phone was locked. When trying to make the best of a bad situation, that bad situation rose up and smacked her in the face. When she just tried to restore her phone (without backing it up), she got another slap in the face:

Find My iPhone Problems

Find My iPhone must be turned off before the iPhone can be restored.

Again, she was helpless to do anything. One problem completely destroyed any and all hope of salvaging what was on her phone. When Apple says its products “just work,” I guess they don’t mean all the time. Just, you know, sometimes. When it’s convenient.

She went to the Apple Store, forked over $199 for a refurb’d replacement, and once again has a working phone. My computer only locked up once today, so I guess you could say things were almost “good as new.” Except they’re not, because when the next issue arises, we’ll be once again helpless against the vaunted world of tech.

That’s why I wish I had spent time in school learning more about computers. When I see stories about things like ‘Hour of Code’ or when I hear very smart people like Brian David Johnson say, “Everyone should learn to code,” I realize I’ve missed out on a vital part of my education. I’m more educated with computers than most of my friends and most people my age or older, but in a few short years, even I’m going to look helpless in comparison to many high schoolers who have several years more experience with the internet, coding and tech in general. Don’t be me. Learn to code.

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Author:

Joey Lewandowski

Joey is the Manager of Content and Community at ShellyPalmer. With a journalism degree from Ramapo College of New Jersey, he's a die-hard Minnesota Vikings fan, enjoys watching movies and loves all most things tech. You can follow him on Twitter @soulpopped. He's also the co-host of the award-winning* podcast "Sports 4 Starters." (*Note*: No awards actually won.)

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