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"Can Your Computer or the Internet Kill You?"

"There I was . . ." rolling out after landing in a Canadian Harvard (AT-6 Texan).  I had landed the airplane on the runway and began rolling out.  During the landing there was a steady breeze from the right. Because of my lack of correcting for the wind the airplane's right wing started to rise, creating a very dangerous predicament. I was but a few seconds from wrecking a beautiful vintage World War II airplane. The stick abruptly moved on it's own to the right to correct the extremely dangerous situation. 

A second later a very stern voice came into my headset, "I just saved your ass! NEVER let that happen again!"  The quick control correction and stern voice was my Instructor Pilot, "Holiday," from the back seat.  In flying it's really easy to make a simple mistake that leads to a life threatening situation.  In retrospect, too many people approach their personal use of computers and the Internet as though they were piloting an airplane on their own for the first time. I don't know of anyone who has ever been injured or killed using a computer, trying to create a web page, or accessing the Internet from their home or office.  The biggest challenge to getting computer phobics to use a computer is their fear of "breaking it." There are things in this world we all do that can easily hurt us, using a computer isn't one of them.

Why Fear of Something That Can't Hurt You?
One of the best ways to overcome the fear of computers or the Internet is by immersing yourself in the experience. "I'm afraid that I'll mess something up" is a statement repeated by novice computer users on a regular basis. The irony is that in today's world computers have never been easier to operate.  It's perfectly fine to make simple mistakes on the computer. Gone are the days of DOS when all you had to do was delete a critical file sending the whole computer into a tizzy. Thomas Edison would agree that the more mistakes we make the more we learn.  The great Babe Ruth had 1,330 strike outs on his way to 741 home runs. Is he remembered for his strike outs (mistakes) or home runs?

Good SA Makes for An Easy Recovery
After years of wrecking my own computers and crashing perfectly good web sites, there is one technique that has assisted me in correcting more issues than any other technique: having good SA.  In the piloting world it's called SA (Situational Awareness).  The best pilots know exactly what is going on around them at all times.  If good pilot gets into a dicey situation, he or she quickly corrects the action based on knowing what just happened. You can apply good SA to dealing with computer problems. It is very important to be conscious of what you are doing at all times. Don't forget the standards like frequently saving the file(s) you are working on and having good anti-virus software. 

If your computer, or a web site your working on breaks, try to retrace your steps. The biggest challenge and frustration to anyone who's trying to troubleshoot a problem web page or problematic computer is figuring out what caused the problem in the first place.  "I don't know what I did!" Those words create more frustration for computer repair techs or your guardian angel computer geek trying to help solve a problem. The easiest solutions are those where the problem is easily identified and quickly retraced to the source. If the cause of the problem isn't known it could take hours to correct.

Provided the problem with your computer or web site isn't so bad as to knock out your Internet, you can find a solution on your own.  Go to Google and type in the problem in the search box.  In almost every instance you will be able to quickly find a solution. Goto a resident computer geek if you don't feel comfortable trying to solve the solution on your own.

Fear Not!
Computers can open up an amazing world of information and communication for anyone who is willing to try something new. There is no need to fear something that can't really hurt you. There are plenty of geeks around to help you out.

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