Sunday, August 26, 2007

Two clicks and away.

This computer is my simple reading and writing machine. I switch the power on at the monitor, then I switch the power on at the system box and walk into my kitchen to make a cup of tea. When I return to my dining room this computer has booted up into Windows XP service pack 2 and I simply double click on the Mozilla Firefox icon and I am away reading and writing on the internet. This is simple, two clicks and away - there is no thought about the technology involved or the software running in the background. Just two clicks and away, I get used to this and like most internet users can take these processes for granted.

A friend of ours has bought herself a laptop computer and has signed up for Sky Broadband and asked me to set it up for her. The modem comes with instructions and an installation CD. All should be easy for me to do, read the instructions, run the CD and everything should work.

From experience of other broadband service providers I know that things do not always work first time. The nature of the beast is that one size does not fit all. Also although many computers run Windows XP there are differences from one computer manufacturer to another.

I poked around but the installation CD did not appear to gain an internet connection. The modem with it's well documented flashing lights appeared to be working correctly. I tried to make a manual internet connection using the wizards offered with Windows XP but this did not work. I was stumped and could not figure out how to get it working. She decided to telephone the helpline and they talked me through it. They talked me through a logical process and by making a few changes that did not appear to make sense the internet connection suddenly went live. Success but I do not know how much our friend paid in telephone call charges. Now her laptop is working she can now have a simple two click internet experience like I enjoy without considering what is happening behind the scenes.

It is at times like these that you realize just how involved computers are but that they are very user friendly once they are running properly. For all the claims of ease of use and software that is machine independent, in the real world the beast behaves very differently.

Thankfully computer users do not need much knowledge about software and various settings. Once a computer and it's internet connection is set up it is simply two clicks and away on your tamed beast. The nature of a tamed beast is far better than a new beast that may not obey regardless what the salesperson will claim.

Many thanks to the staff on the Sky Broadband helpdesk for being able to resolve problems with software which should be universal but in reality has quite a few differences between versions and machines.
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