The Norman Transcript

Business

July 13, 2013

What can you do when good computers suddenly go bad?

NORMAN — What happened to my computer? What made it stop working?”

I hear this sort of question all the time. Sometimes, I have a logical, easy-to-understand answer. Other times, my answer sounds something like this: “I know it sounds crazy, but, sometimes, Microsoft Windows just falls apart. It just does.”

I often wonder if my customers believe this type of explanation, but it is, nonetheless, true. Hardware failures are easy to explain.

“See that burned spot on that circuit board? Do you smell the odor of melting plastic? There’s your problem, right there.”

Brownouts, power surges, cheaply manufactured parts and the law of entropy can all lead to easy-to-understand hardware failures. But an operating system “falling apart?” Really?

“My computer was working just fine and then, suddenly …” Yes, computers are a lot like cars: they run fine until they don’t run fine any more. Replace the broken or worn-out part, and you’re back on the road. Problem solved.

It’s when your Windows operating system starts acting up that things become a bit difficult to explain. Suddenly, without any visible explanation, your computer starts crashing, freezing, locking up, restarting or mysteriously turning itself off. Some programs work fine, while others exhibit bizarre behavior. Confusing and frustrating error messages and “blue screens of death” start popping up.

Sometimes, the solutions are simple. Other times, the solutions are very difficult to discover and time-consuming to implement. The reason for these nonsensical computer problems boils down to one thing: machine language.

Also known as “machine code,” machine language is the language that computers speak. In its most basic form, machine language is nothing more than complex combinations of zeroes and ones. Every bit of information in your computer, every file, every program, every email, every picture, every document, every song and every video is made up thousands, millions, billions and even trillions of zeroes and ones that your computer understands and turns into things that you can use.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business
  • Chamber Banquet During annual banquet, Chamber of Commerce promotes moving Norman forward

    Amidst the backdrop of music, dancing, dinner and fellowship, business leader Mike Fowler announced that the time for a quality-of-life initiative in Norman has come. As incoming Norman Chamber of Commerce board chairman, Fowler and ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Women leaders announced

    The Norman Chamber announced the nominees for the 2014 Women’s Leadership Award, which honors female leaders who actively inspire other women to achieve their full potential.  Past recipients of this honor, formerly known as the ATHENA ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Norman use tax takes a hit while Moore sales tax flounders

    Norman use tax took a hit this month while Moore’s sales tax floundered for the first time since sales picked up in the post-tornado recovery period. For the city of Norman, however, sales tax collections are a bright spot on the revenue ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Nextep moves back to Dillard Building, but this time with much larger presence

    In 1997, entrepreneur Brian Fayak was just getting Nextep Inc., a professional employer service, started. Fayak had been working out of his sister’s house in west Norman and was delighted when the opportunity came to rent an executive ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Spotlight

    Chiropractic award Megan Borne, a chiropractic assistant at Sparks Clinic of Chiropractic in Norman, was recently awarded the title of C.A. counselor with the Pinnacle Chiropractic Management Group. She will assist other chiropractic ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Primrose presents Leadership class grads

    On Tuesday, the Norman Chamber of Commerce graduated both Leadership Norman and Tomorrow’s Leaders. Over the past several months, participants attended interactive sessions covering a variety of topics including communication, education, ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Business and restaurant survey online now

    The city of Norman is seeking input from its residents about retail shopping and restaurant opportunities that they would like to see locate to Norman. On Thursday, the city published a link to an online retail and restaurant survey on ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Norman Nation

    In 1964, when my father was a University of Oklahoma student, he and my mother were in desperation car shopping mode because their vehicle had just died. As the story has been told for nearly 50 years, the Ford dealership had not opened ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Spring cleaning: Time to change passwords again

    Are you in the habit of regularly changing the passwords for your online accounts? You should be — changing passwords regularly is a required part of every wise Internet user’s safety routine....

    April 13, 2014

  • Regional partnerships build prosperity

    Job creators shop for sites, regional marketing professionals told Norman’s Economic Development Advisory Board on Thursday. That makes selling the central Oklahoma region with its diversity of site options and amenities a business savvy ...

    April 6, 2014