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Archive for October, 2011

Are all Windows Updates really necessary?

October 31, 2011 by nhinkle. 2 comments

We return with a new Question of the Week, this time addressing Windows Updates. Lital maatuk asks,

Which of the Windows updates are really necessary?

I downloaded a lot of Windows updates in the automatic mode. Are they all necessary? Can I remove some of them? How do I know which ones are necessary?

Jens Erat, one of our newest users, gave a very detailed and well thought-out answer about the different types of Windows updates and their relative importance.

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Tell us about your Computing History!

October 10, 2011 by nhinkle. 0 comments

I’m currently taking a college course called “The Evolution of Computing and Its Impacts on History”. Right now we’re learning about the very early days of computing machines – the Jacquard  loom, the Babbage engines, and other non-electronic early computers. Our first assignment was to write about our personal computing history – our first computer, experiences with computers that influenced or changed our lives, etc. In my personal computing history, I mentioned my experiences with Super User and how this community has helped me to learn more about computers. Now I’d like to know more about your experiences with computers.

How did you come to love technology? Do you remember your first computer? What about the first time you used the internet? Submit your computer history as a blog post, or if you don’t have an account on the blog yet, send it in via email or as a Google Doc and we’ll get you set up. I’ll be posting my own essay soon as an example, but there’s no set format. Just tell us about your experiences with computers! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments.

A Super User’s Toolbox

October 5, 2011 by music2myear. 3 comments

For the last 10 years I have been fortunate enough to experience many perspectives on IT support. From the early days cutting my tech teeth on my own first computer running Windows 98 and then Windows 2000 and being too poor to pay somebody else to upgrade the system or repair it for me when my own (or my brother’s) stupidity or clumsiness crashed the thing, to being the on-site technical presence as an office assistant in a small not-for-profit, to getting my first “real” IT job for a large-ish not-for-profit doing end user support for 150 on-site users and another 50 remote users, to fixing computer problems for every Tom, Dick, and Harry who came to the service desk at a large electronics retailor, to the white-collar office jobs of the last few years; it has been an engaging, illuminating, educating, frustrating, and ultimately worthwhile pursuit.

While it’s not the most glamorous position nor the best paid, end-user IT support occurs at the confluence of two great passions of mine: people and computers, For me it is an incredibly fulfilling job.

But I’d be nowhere without my tools.

I assume every geek has a list like mine: a list of tools, utilities, tricks, gimmicks, black- and white-magik spells that allow you to tame the raging beasts threatening to consume users. Like others, probably, I don’t hold my list too tightly. If another tool does a better job, it may easily replace an existing tool. However, even if it does a better job, if it doesn’t work the way I want to work or need to work, whichever the case may be, an arguably superior product is not guaranteed inclusion in my toolbox. more »