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A Bloggers Nemesis: Computer Phobia

Now please don’t laugh at me me because I’m going to tell you something that I’ve never admitted to anyone else before. The Bloke once had a phobia with computers that was so bad that I was afraid to even touch a keyboard.

Amazing for a guy whose career in the computer industry goes back to the 80’s, but I assure you its true!

But please don’t tell anyone else because it could seriously damage my reputation as a geek. It’s also probably why I’m such a super geek now because I made the decision to get over it, and the best way I found to do that is to just jump right in. Get your feet wet. Sink or swim — that’s the spirit.

I suspect that there are a great many others out there who share this same fear. The reason I believe that is because I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked questions about something that is plainly staring them in the face. And I know the reason is because some people are just freakin’ scared of their computer and don’t know where to look for help.

They assume that the answer is beyond their limited brainpower. That it is so inescapably difficult that only a geek could possibly be in the know. Or if they click that mysterious link their computer might go poof up in smoke.

This is not anything new. We live in a word of phobias and technology is no exception. Fear of flying, fear of spiders (I still have that one), killer viruses on the loose, hackers and phishers trying to steal your personal information.

But the simple fact is if you just spend some time to learn a few basic skills and take some simple precautions you can make your computer safe.

The quickest and easiest way to get started is to just install a router. Routers are cheap now and even if you only have one computer, get one because they come with a built-in hardware firewall. But don’t stop there.

Install a software firewall as well. Why you ask? Because hardware firewalls only check for inbound traffic, that’s why. And of course don’t forget the antivirus either, but I bet you already knew that.

But what about losing all your data? No biggy. There is so much backup software out there to choose from. Heck, you could even just drag and drop it into a different location than the original if you want.

Let me tell you what I do. I have a three-pronged attack to the problem. Firstly, I use something called DataKeeper by PowerQuest which constantly runs in my system tray. It makes an automatic backup of any files that are changed to a separate partition.

Secondly, I regularly backup ‘My Documents’ to a another partition. Or even better, install a second hard drive and put your backups there. Put another copy of your operating system on it and add it to your boot menu as well. That way if your original hard drive or operating system goes wonky you can boot into the other drive to fix it.

And thirdly, I also make a backup to a CD. Or if you want you can you save it to a cheap memory stick or a removable hard drive. Or you could even go the whole nine yards and make a clone of your hard drive.

Now the same of course goes for your blog. Don’t just backup your entire blog. Before you play around with your template always make a backup onto your hard drive. Software like w.bloggar makes that really easy to do.

In fact, make many backups. What I do is before I make any changes I rename the previous backup to today’s date. That I way I have a progression of backups that I can go back to. Sometimes that is necessary because I’ve made a mistake that I didn’t notice right away and I need a much older version to figure out where I went wrong.

When you get stuck always remember your best friend. Talk to him, he won’t bite. Send an email if you are having problems. Or check out the help group or the help files.

If you see something in a blog that you like and want to know how they did it, just right-click your mouse in your browser, and choose “view source“. If there is a buzz word you aren’t familiar with, look it up in Wikipedia, ’cause that’s what it’s there for.

So if you just learn to take the right precautions or know where to find information there is nothing really to be afraid of your computer. If you count yourself as one of the many computer scaredy-cats I recommend that you do the following. Just play with your computer. Point and click — click, click, click. There, now that didn’t hurt a bit, did it?

Explore and enjoy the journey. Chances are you’re not going to break anything. And if it does it can be easily fixed. Or if all else fails, you can always ask me… the Blog Bloke.

Trust me when I say I’ve been there and done that. Now what are you waiting for? Get clicking.

Filed under: instabloke, blog, blogging, blog tools, blog resources, computers and internet, technology, tech, security

Written September 10th, 2006 by | 7 Comments | Filed under: Miscellaneous Blog Tips

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There are 7 Comments so far to “A Bloggers Nemesis: Computer Phobia”

  1. Happy to say that in 7 years of owning a computer at home, I’ve never had a virus, trojan, malware, meltdown, or other major problem (knock on wood!)BTW, what’s up with your taglcoud being extremely long and in the middle of your posts? I’m using Firefox.

    Posted by Kirsten to Blog Bloke™ a blog about blogging at 9/10/2006 01:49:33 AM

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  2. Thanks for the heads up Kirsten. Not sure what’s going on but I’ll look into it.

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  3. Well it’s good to see that you have gotten over your computer fears. Though, I never had a fear of diving into a new computer or program, I did used to have a fear of posting my thoughts and opinions on the web. Since that is no longer the case I will say that I enjoyed this entry. I helps us all realize that fears and phobias are common among many of us.

    In regards to backing up your data, I feel that not enough can be said about the topic. Many of our lives and livelihoods are intricately tied to our personal computers and the data that they contain. I for one often create backups of my more important pieces of information. My tool of choice in this area is StompSoft’s PC Backup which for me provides the convenience of setting a schedule, so I don’t have to worry about forgetting to do it.

    I tend to think that the more things you can automate the better off you will be. Of course this means diving head first into lots of new software and peripherals (printers, scanners, external drives, et al). Which in its self is enough to make most people’s heads spin. Anyway, I enjoy the blog, keep up the good work.

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  4. Thanks for the input way2slow. I personally use Genie Backup Manager. It works great for me.

    Yes I got over my initial phobia - but I think I went a little overboard. Now I’m a certified fanatic. Always looking for something new to challenge me. One extreme to the next… that’s my motto.

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  5. LOL..well every cause needs a fanatic; or else nothing would ever progress. Status Quo is so passe.

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  6. Sometimes I think that might happen, but then remember how much I love them. I’m worried about developing an addiction, lol!

    Computer Error Fixs last blog post…5 Ways to Keep Your Computer Happy

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 9:57 pm said...

    @Computer Error Fix .. I’m still in rehab :-)

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