NORMAN — I do not trust computers.
Let me rephrase that; I trust computers, but only to do one thing: fail. Computers of all types, whether desktop, laptop, iPhone, tablet, PC, Mac, Android, iPad, cellphone or TV (yes, Virginia, most modern televisions are computers), are imperfect devices, built by imperfect people in an imperfect world, and they all, somehow, some day, some way, will fail.
Another seemingly immutable law of the universe is that computers always fail at the wrong time; that is, they fail right as we are trying to get something done.
This makes sense, as we never use our computers unless we are trying to do something, and that is when they fail. Right as you are trying to send an important email, or finish a tax return, or print your homework, or process the company payroll, or watch that funny YouTube video, that's when your computer will roll over and give up.
When the inevitable happens, and your computer lets you down, what will you do? Will you have to close the doors of your business until your computer is fixed? Will you have to beg for more time to turn in your homework? Will you have to tell the IRS that your computer ate your tax return?
The solution to these problems is simple: you need another computer. As dependent as we are in this day and age on computers and our connection to the Internet, it makes sense to own at least two computers.
When one computer goes down, you simply fire up another one and get back to work. If you value your time and your ability to interface with the rest of the world, you need another computer to use while your "main" computer is being repaired.
I know some folks will ignore this advice, because they will think, "Oh, I'll just take my computer to Dave and he'll fix it lickity-split, no problem." I'm fast at what I do, but what if it can't be fixed "lickity-split?"
Sometimes, computer parts are needed that you can't just go over to Radio Shack and buy; they have to be ordered, and then, you have to wait for them to arrive.
What if your computer is super-messed up and requires extended repair time? Can you make it without your computer for a day, or days? Can you get by without your computer for a week, or longer?
If you have another computer to use, then these potential problems are not problems at all and the low cost of having a second computer might surprise you. Good, used computers can be had for not much money, and may be all you need to get you through until your main machine is fixed.
I sell them, eBay sells them, lots of people sell used computers. Depending on your needs, a used computer standing by to be used when needed is cheap insurance.
Along the same lines, if you use a laptop or tablet computer, have you thought about what you would do if your power supply/battery charger failed (you know, the cord that goes from the laptop and plugs in the wall)? When your laptop battery runs down, what will you do?
Think about buying a "backup" charger to use. The best prices for laptop battery chargers can be found online; Amazon is a good source for these items.
For example, go to Amazon.com and type the name and model number of your laptop (i.e., "Dell M1530" or "Macbook Pro A1260") into the search box, followed by the words "battery charger," and see what you can find. I just found one for my laptop, and it's only $10. What a deal!
Dave Moore has been performing computer consulting, repairs, security and networking in Oklahoma since 1984. He also teaches computer safety workshops for public and private organizations. He can be reached at 405-919-9901 or www.davemoorecomputers.com.