Saturday, January 23, 2016

Computer Woes: The Un-Googleable Computer Problem That Only Affects YOU

This happens to me all the time (and I'm barely exaggerating): I have a computer problem. It can be a common, irritating problem that occurs on more than one computer (work PC, home PC, laptop), on more than one platform (PC, Mac), on more than one browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari), using more than one internet app (Facebook comments, Twitter, Disqus). I seek out help, via Google or elsewhere, and nobody else seems likewise afflicted.

Oh, other "computer gurus" will try to help, always with the same "well, what were you trying to do when it happened?" or "what programs/services/apps are running?" They're fishing. They don't know the problem or the solution at this point. If they did--if they had any idea what my problem really was--they'd start with a list of solutions, and not be trolling for more information.

By far, my biggest pet peeve with my usual surfing/blogging and other online activities is with what has got to be the simplest, most basic computer function: typing. I'm a touch-typist, and have been for over 30 years. I type almost as fast as I can think. But I'm constantly thwarted by a typing delay. The cursor suddenly stops moving. Sometimes, it will catch up, and everything I have typed will just appear in an instant. Other times, random letters will have been skipped. Still other times, everything between the initial pause in typing, and when it "catches up" will have been lost, and the typing will resume.

This happens most often when typing in comments via Disqus or Facebook commenting (either within Facebook, or on a site that uses their system). It also can happen in Blogger (a blogging platform), or in any other internet area that might require typing, such as a petition or any other form requiring input. As previously stated, it happens to me fairly regularly irrespective of platform, browser or system. It happens more often on a PC than a Mac, more often in Internet Explorer than any other browser, but it can actually happen anywhere.

The only thing that I do on computers that maybe a usual user might not, that I can think of, is that I commonly have more than one browser open at a time, and it's not uncommon for me to have several tabs open at once. I realize this uses processor power. But I'm not using bargain basement Celeron PCs with 1 GB of RAM either. My home PC has a high-mid-range AMD quad processor, with 16 GB of RAM! My laptop is a MacBook Pro Intel i5 with 8 GB of RAM. Not top-of-the-line, but not hand-me-down Tandy TRS-80s either.

Typing is just about the most basic thing a computer should have to do. Processor power should never be so bogged down that something that basic gets caught in a time warp. And if it does? If there is so much processor power being hogged by something, that it's causing this much drag? Shouldn't--by now--there be a friggen' E-Stop button, program, or notification that let's you just DUMP whatever is causing the problem?

If I could beg a programmer to come up with a new feature for the next version of any operating system, I think that would be it. A big, red E-Stop button, like on an amusement ride panel, whether hardware or software. A button that just dumps you out of whatever a processor hog is doing. Something better than CTRL+ALT+DEL or the Apple equivalent. Something that looks at the thing that is causing soooo much drain, and asks you in plain English: "Stop [level 3 diagnostic, or whatever] to free processor?" Something better than "Service Host: Local System (Network Restricted) (12)." Something that gets you out cleanly. Even if it includes the option, "Exit all running, non-system required processes and programs."

In the meantime, I'd love an answer to what's going on with my specific typing pet peeve. I'd love an answer that doesn't start with fishing. Something that starts with a solution, or a list of possible solutions. Anyone?

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