COPING WITH YOUR COMPUTER

“Men have become the tools of their tools.”
Henry David Thoreau

Whoever said, "The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts", never owned a computer. For in the land of computers, every "bit" counts. Or so it would seem. In fact, at times, some bits count more than other bits. Bits are a little like people: Though they coexist in the same environment, they associate in larger groups (bytes); and these groups don't always get along. In fact, at times, they simply refuse to cooperate and operate!
Computers that fail to operate properly-- for any of a number of reasons-- render their owners frustrated, bewildered, angry. In fact, computer conflict-- the variety of ways in which a computer can fail to perform-- is one leading stressor of those individuals who have decided to get with the times. 
By and large, the major purpose of computers these days is to crunch cumbersome quantities of data, enabling people to obtain rapid and efficient outcomes in a variety of contexts. A spin-off of this technology has been the creation of high-tech amusement software designed to entertain and provide a pause from the frenetic pace of a demanding society. But behold! There are forces at work that give pause to those seeking pause. A ghost in the machine...and it may be that of Rod Serling. And when it appears, the very instrument designed to streamline and reduce life's frustrations can become its major source. The hardware and software creators are very aware of this. How else can one explain why the term, "user-friendly" was coined? It stands to reason that "user-friendly" presupposes the existence of it's opposite. And as you know, there are some pretty hostile computers out there!
Underlying computer hostility is the software industry, often the source of "user-tension." The colorful, at times compelling packaging of a program entices us with its advantages and capabilities; but often belies the headaches that wait. Some examples to increase your heart rate: (1) A user manual that begins in the middle, as it presupposes fundamental computer knowledge which you may be lacking, yet find necessary to complete an installation. (2) Commands that seem to have been written in a foreign tongue (In foreign countries are computer commands in English?). 3) The ultimate stressor: Following installation, a program fails to operate due to some deep-seeded computer conflict, a sure sign of hostility!
Computer conflict comes in many forms, made known to the confused, frustrated and soon-to-be disappointed human through a series of cryptic, bewildering error messages. These messages inform a person of inner conflicts that must be resolved in order for the program to operate properly.
Does this sound familiar? There you are waiting to run something when suddenly you learn that this very expensive gem you just purchased and installed is fighting with another application over the same address... or something! These are frequently "interrupt" errors. Your computer is having a problem with software "interruption." Moreover, sometimes computer programs can seem passive-aggressive. They begin running properly, only to crash in the middle of some important data collection procedure. Can you imagine suddenly seeing a message on your screen in the classic tongue: "String space corrupt at address...?" "What's a string space", you might ask? And, "How does it become corrupt?" Imagine! Not only can a computer have interruption problems, it may also suffer from corruption! Maybe one software program embezzled bytes from another behind your back...
And the "revision-decision" headache: After having been enticed to buy-- then installing-- an updated version of your favorite application software, you try to run a cherished    program from the previous version and it won't run because it "doesn't do that anymore." And this is considered better! Given these limitations, how can we learn to cope with computer stress? For now, breathe deeply, count to ten...then call your friendly computer engineer, and give him your headache.
But what of the future? Is there any hope for peaceful coexistence among computer parts? What's needed is to "fight fire with fire." The solution of the future: The COMPUTER PSYCHOLOGIST. A highly skilled, empathic, yet directive software program designed to resolve inner conflicts among your internal computer parts. Perhaps it could run through "Windows" identified as an icon of a computer lying on a couch talking to a little guy with a beard, sitting across the room.