When Rebooting Isn’t Enough: Issues to Take to the Experts

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Admit it: your heart sinks a little bit every time you see it—the legendary blue screen of death. After all, it involves the word ‘death,’ which is never reassuring. The most pressing question in the moment, however, is not what funeral arrangements are called for, but what you should do with your device. Rebooting always seems like a good call, but when faced with the specter of technological mortality, can that possibly be enough?

Luckily, we are here to help you determine whether your computer problem (blue screen of death or other) is worthy of expert assistance.

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

When you see one of these in a PC (or the gray screen/kernel panic equivalent in a Mac), it means that your system encountered such a serious issue, usually involving hardware or drivers, that it had to stop forcefully . If you have the presence of mind, you can note down the STOP code that will appear on the screen so you can look up the cause of the BSOD. If, however, you are lacking the superhuman calmness that would allow you to record this code, it’s always a good idea to bring your computer to a technician who can run diagnostics on your device to determine the exact cause of the BSOD.

Blank Monitors, Jumbled Graphics

Another set of heart-stopping issues you may encounter involve your device’s display. If you turn on a desktop or laptop, only to discover that the monitor remains blank or fills with jumbled graphics, you may have a problem on your hands. Experts recommend connecting your computer to another monitor to see if the problem persists. If the new display remains dark or jumbled, you know the problem is with the computer itself; if it lights up just fine, then you know your problem is with the monitor or screen of your device. Armed with this information, you can take your computer to an expert to ask for advice and support on repairs. 

Eternal Troubleshooting

Not every hardware problem is easy to pinpoint. Hardware problems with the motherboard or power supply may only manifest through odd quirks in other components. Sure you can spend hours switching out different components in an attempt to determine which one is faulty, but not everyone has boxes of spare components sitting around and purchasing new ones can get pricey. That’s why the best solution can be to bring your device to an expert service provide like ComputerCare. Computer repair technicians do have the necessary tools and components to diagnose the exact problem with your computer and replace hardware as necessary. Save yourself the headache of figuring it out by contacting ComputerCare today.

It’s true that plenty of computer problems can be solved with a judicious combination of persistence and Google searches, but sometimes you really do need an expert. If that’s the case, feel free to submit a service ticket to ComputerCare. We’re always here to conduct BSOD post-mortems and even perform a little wizardry to bring your computer back to life. 

Some Key Words on Keyboards

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I’m willing to bet you don’t give your computer’s keyboard much thought (beyond the occasional cleaning of all those muffin crumbs). Typing is so second nature to most people, they probably don’t stop to think, “Why are keyboards arranged this way?”

That’s a good question, especially as we move farther away from physical keyboards.

The History of QWERTY

There are a lot of myths surrounding the development of the QWERTY keyboard. The most common story goes like this: Christopher Latham Sholes, a printer and newspaper man in Milwaukee, WI, wanted to make his business more efficient, so he developed an early version of the typewriter in 1868. This 28-key version arranged everything alphabetically, because, why wouldn’t you? It was thought to be easiest and most familiar way to arrange the keys, resulting in the least amount of hunting and pecking.

The most common theory explains that Sholes moved away from this arrangement because of mechanical failings. If typed on too quickly, the mechanisms would get jammed. The QWERTY keyboard was supposedly designed to separate common sequences of letters to slow typists down, and reduce the number of malfunctions.

By 1878, Sholes was issued a U.S. Patent with the first documented appearance of the QWERTY layout, entered into a business arrangement with gun-maker Remington the same year, and by 1890, sold more than 100,000 QWERTY-based typewriters across the country.

There’s another theory that basically boils down to the monetization of the proprietary system: Along with selling typewriters, the company also sold training courses, creating brand loyalty and QWERTY-trained typists.

Other keyboard arrangements have been developed since (the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, for example), but the prevalence of QWERTY since its inception 140 years ago has remained beyond its mechanical necessity.

Keyboards Today

Through the advent of personal computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and more, the QWERTY keyboard remains. Even though we interact with it differently (texting with one hand, say, or typing with your thumbs) the familiar pattern is still there.

Even so, the next wave of college graduates set to join the workforce were raised with touch devices, and as those new workers replace those who are retiring, the reliance on physical keyboards may see a shift.

So is QWERTY going to die out? Probably not (right away).

In a recent report on consumer trends, the sales of tablets are trending down, but the market for 2-in-1 laptops (tablets with detachable keyboards) is expected to grow at 21.2%, suggesting the desire for a typing device is still strong.

Still, that mechanical keyboard might eventually become obsolete. The technology developing around touchscreen keyboards (and maybe even VR keyboards) is getting better all the time, with the use of next-generation haptics to simulate the experience of typing on a physical, push-button keyboard. Other developments in technologies such as AI and voice recognition may also lessen the need for physical keyboards.

Any maybe, as this article suggests, for technology to truly take the next big leap, we need to rethink the way we interact with computers – through a keyboard, mouse, or touch screen – all together.

via GIPHY

Either way, if you’re still able to drop it, we’ll still try to fix it. 🙂

Georgia Rittenberg discusses the value of training in Network Computing

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For some interesting insight into how a small company like ComputerCare tackles the chronic shortage for skilled workers, check out this article by our president, Georgia Rittenberg. The story, which focuses on the value of ongoing training in the workplace, was published recently in Network Computing.

Here’s an excerpt:

“With companies spending so much time and energy searching for the right talent, it’s imperative that they work hard to keep employees once they’re in the door. But offering a competitive salary and benefits is just a starting point. By establishing a robust training process that gives employees upward mobility and broadens their skill sets, companies can not only improve retention, but increase the quality and productivity of their staff…

… We’ve built a nimble team with transferrable skills, a quality that I often see mirrored in other successful small companies. Technicians can handle device repairs for every device across all of our OEMs, and customer service representatives are able to handle tasks like verification of device warranty status prior to the diagnostics phase with a technician. We’ve learned that teaching new skills to people is far easier than correcting bad habits picked up elsewhere. It may take more time, but it creates a higher quality employee who is engaged and worth his or her weight in gold.”

Enjoy!