Are you losing time with your computer systems?

Do computers always help to make more work possible?

 The main idea of computer and automated systems is to make it possible to do more work and more precise work.  However, there are circumstances when the use of computers do not only slow work down but even make mistakes and cause loss of data.

Computers are machines that need to be operated by someone that knows how to operate them.  They need to be maintained.

Imagine a copy machine.  It make work easier.  It makes it possible to take copies of documents and you do not need to type it again, print it again, sign it again.

However, what happens if you do not take care of the copy machine?  What happens if you do not replace or refill the cartridge?

It will not print, it will jam the paper, it will break down.  At that point it does not help work but makes it harder and more arduous.

 

Computers are also physical objects

When you use a computer, the programs that run and all the functions are happening in a closed box and not in front of you.  You do not see the excel tables physically in the computer, only see the representation of it on the screen.  It seems that such an excel table, picture or any other file is there forever, it can be copied, deleted, modified, again and again and nothing physically is happening to them.

This is true.  And this mean easy to overlook that computers are also made up of physical objects.  There is nothing in the physical universe that would remain intact forever.  Computers, hard disks, screens, keyboards, mouse and all parts of a computer will break eventually!

Of course you can just take a hammer and smash the screen or any other part, or there can be a fire in the office and all breaks down.

While these are pretty dramatic examples, they show that it can be done.  Computers will also break down even if no such extraordinary event takes place.  Hard disks will fail, screen will stop working, the entire computer will eventually stop working.

 It would be good to know when exactly that would happen, but in the majority of the cases there won't be a clear warning well in advance.

Taking care of your computer comes in play here.  When you have a laptop and you carry it with you, it is a good idea to invest in a rigid computer bag that protects the computer.  Do not drink coffee over your keyboard - even a little amount of liquid can totally ruin the keyboard - or the entire laptop.

Having backup of data comes into play too - as I described in the previous article.  When the time comes and your computer gives off it's last "breaths" it is a good feeling to have a copy of your data somewhere else.

It is also a good idea to actually not wait till your computer dies.  While it sounds silly to replace your computer when it is still functioning, that is the best practice to not only keep up with the latest technology thus keeping up with speed, but also have a better chance that computer won't die on you.

Just make sure you do not pollute the environment with all computer part.  Either sell it to someone who still wants to use it (or just give it away that way) or get rid of it responsibly.

The above principle is even more important in an office.  While an old and dying computer is no fun to use at home, imagine having 10-20-100 of such dying computers in your office!  Catastrophe is looming in the dark, not even talking about the constant IT work hours it takes to keep them operational!

Always have a plan and budget to keep renewing your computers - perhaps one after the other.  That is the best practice to not lose data and time and have an always smoothly running IT infrastructure.

 

Gabor Toth

Gabor Systems