falling down on the good fight
Yesterday, our computer developed some crippling problem, which Mike says was not a virus (don't know what it was, but it wasn't a virus. He says.). No IM, no email, no internet - incommunicado, other than the telephone. To eliminate the problem, he reformatted the hard drive - again. I have yet to reset my email and IM clients, though obviously I'm online...
I don't have a place to stand and criticize him, really. I've had just as much opportunity to learn about how this all works as he has, and I've chosen other interests instead every time. I know more than an absolute layman, but in terms of actually getting anything done, I'm firmly (and somewhat sheepishly, because I ought to know better) in the position of absolute end user. So, I can't just condemn his actions as being dumb.
That being said, though, there are still some observations I feel that I can fairly make. Reformatting is an extreme measure. More than one person who knows that he does this is shocked by the frequency with which we reformat. Mike has said that he likes the effect of having a clean hard drive, and it's easier to wipe clean than to keep clean - and I can even see the logic of this... but I'd rather we did it when we choose to rather than when we have to in order to retain functionality. It is not the normal method of removal of unwanted software - among our circle of friends, certainly - and it is glaringly clear to me from this that he is doing something wrong, even though I don't know enough to figure out what it is. He just gets agitated when I try to discuss it with him and help figure out the problem from my plateau of ignorance, but he's taken advice from more than one friend with more technical acumen than he, and claims that he follows it and it doesn't work for him.
The fact that the experts' advice "doesn't work" strikes me as bogus in and of itself - but the part that bothers me most about this is that Mike, frustrated by the fact that the measures he took last time didn't work forever, doesn't even take those measures the next time. He said this morning, "go ahead and use it," when there is no virus protection software set up, nor a firewall - and I don't even know where the discs with the software are. So here I am, on my naked computer, knowing that very soon, it will be reformatted again. *sigh*
I know that fighting viruses, adware and spyware is a widespread problem. I also know that most of the people I know are handling it much better than we. I'm convinced that the problem is something Mike supposedly "knows" is not the problem. I carry enough ignorance on the subject, though, that I can't really even tell if the suggestions I have to offer are real possibilities or just evidence of how limited my understanding is.
What we really need is for someone else to look at the setup and processes we are using, and tell us what it is that we're doing wrong. I have friends who would do this for me if I asked, but I don't really want to ask a friend to do something that involved, especially those who do that for a living - bad enough that they have to do it all day (which is a line of thought that always makes one wonder about the sex lives of gynecologists). I'm tempted to find someone to pay for the service anyway - if it hits us in the wallet, I think Mike's more likely to keep following the instructions, and he would have someone to turn to when something went wrong without straining the bonds of friendship.
My big sister abilities are not meeting this challenge too well...