Mar 032010
 
Authors: Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer

Here’s some relevant college geek news to start us off: Ole Miss students recently voted for a new mascot to replace the controversial Colonel Reb. In a movement that was no doubt propelled forward courtesy of the Interwebz, the student body chose Admiral Ackbar as their new mascot.

You hardcore “Star Wars” nerds know what we’re talking about. The original “Star Wars” trilogy will always remain near and dear to our hearts.

If you aren’t sure who he his, Admiral Ackbar was the giant fish from the planet Mon Calamari who commanded the rebel fleet, making his most notable appearance in “Return of the Jedi” (Really George Lucas? A giant fish from the planet Calamari? And we call you a serious filmmaker). 

We hope that’s a good intro to a rather touchy subject that we’d like to tackle today: everyone’s seemingly love/hate relationship with technology. We would categorize ourselves as firmly feeling the love, all the time, even when the frustration sets in. But our powers of observation say something different about the masses out there. 

Not a day goes by that we don’t witness a fellow student or Facebook friend exclaim “I hate technology!” or “Technology and I just don’t get along!”
We have some bad news for you. It’s not the technologies’ fault. It’s you. All those little ones and zeros, fortunately, act in a very predictable manner. And the better you know how to manipulate them, the easier it is to make the technology do your bidding. 

Thusly, we become annoyed when we hear people around us shouting these outlandish statements. So this column is dedicated to ending that practice. 

Unfortunately we can’t convey our lifetimes’ worth of knowledge about computers to you in 600 words, so we’ll give you some simple and effective steps that we like to use when we’re stuck –– you know, that moment of frustration when the technology just isn’t working like it’s supposed to, but more often than not you just forgot where the proper button was.

And then there are worse times. Glen recently ended a several day battle with the Apple program Compressor, which would freeze every time he tried to send a batch of videos to be compressed. But Glen is always feeling the technological love and did not blaspheme his technological religion. Here are some techniques he successfully employed to solve the problem, which can be used for almost any computer troubles you may run into. 

Were going to turn to a handy flowchart we were once sent as a joke for the step-by-step fix. Most people these days are pretty good at the first step, hitting any and all the buttons that look remotely relevant.

This sounds pretty haphazard, but often you can find what you’re looking for. Just stay clear of red “X” shaped ones and avoid hitting “Alt F4.” Many of the answers to that myriad of iTunes questions people always post on Facebook lie in the realm of Preferences.

Of course, it’s rarely that easy, but the next place you can turn are forums. Those of you who’ve never seen a forum should think of it like a bunch of Facebook wall conversations where one person asks a question and then everyone else talks about their experiences with said problem.

In theory its the best thing since sliced bread, but in reality you’ll have to wade though a bit of muck before you get your answer. There are many very knowledgeable people inside that screen of yours. Just remember your find function “Ctrl f,” or “Command f” for Mac users, and look for some key terms to narrow down your results. 

For Mac questions, we’d recommend forums at Macrumors.com, Apple.com and Macforums.com. For those of you rocking the Windows, head over to your PC manufacturers site or CNET.com. We’ve found these sites usually do a great job of keeping the forums clean and to the point. 

Searching is enabled on most forums, but we’d recommend starting with a Google search and then looking for hits on the sites mentioned above. You’ll usually get better results.

If all else fails sure, you can always turn to the nearest nerd, but nothing beats that sense of independence that comes from figuring it out yourself.  Plus we geeks need a bit of rest. Spring Break is coming up, and our bleached skin isn’t going to tan itself.

Columnists Glen Pfeiffer and Ryan Gibbons want to break the bad news to you. You DID NOT chatroulette with the Jonas Brothers. But you could chat for real with the Binary Boys instead. E-mail verve@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:21 pm

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