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ATPM 16.05
May 2010




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by Mark Tennent,

“Something” in the Way We Work

Week 33 of hell for a Mac user working in XP purgatory. The last seven days have been mainly trojan time, along with forgetting the Windows password on a seldom-used but important PC.

There’s a certain tone to the voices as they shout my name down the corridor. One knows instinctively it’s because “something” is wrong with their computer. Usually I find a screen full of dialogue boxes stating “something” dire has happened, and the whole thing needs throwing in the dustbin. That is my usual suggested solution. After all, I am employed for my skills and judgements, not to fix PCs.

On Thursday, somehow one of my colleagues had picked up a nasty dose of “something” while innocently looking up a recipe. This was from the same Web site I had found for her with my Mac at home via LogMeIn from my work PC. My Mac browsed with no problem, but my colleague’s computer’s built-in XP security went into hyper-stupidity and kept throwing up warnings and dread announcements of what would happen if she didn’t click on the Accept button. Only to throw up another similar warning when she did. Why is Windows so stupidly and uselessly super-helpfully unhelpful?

It took a rigid digit on the restart button to correct the situation. This is not easy for me since breaking my index finger on the last day of my recent foray into France. Then I booted the infected PC as an administrator to delete the nasties infecting the machine. Goodness knows why the computer’s usual operator doesn’t have the privileges to delete the files. She was out visiting a client, so I couldn’t get back her lost work because I didn’t know her password.

Have You Got a Light Mac…?

Which was exactly the same situation when we tried to use the PC in the meeting room for the monthly Panel Meeting of the “independents” who approve our decisions. The PC starts with no difficulty. F2 or F12 can bypass some of the initialisation, but then it just sits there, blinking at you. No one knew the Windows XP password, so it is effectively just a power-absorbing pile of junk. I didn’t know if there was any easy way to get around this because I am not a Windows familiar.

With a Mac, it is dead easy. Insert the installation DVD and select the Reset Password command. Not that we had any copies of XP to hand anyway. This is exactly the same for all the copies of Microsoft Office in the building, where every installation is stuck in 2003. We cannot update them because we don’t know their registration numbers. Similarly, our IT help desk—a term which is surely the world’s biggest oxymoron (and often staffed by the same)—didn’t know the password or Office registration numbers.

…No, I’ve got a dark brown overcoat.

And what is the worst thing I heard this week? Two of my colleagues agreeing they didn’t like Apple Macintoshes because they didn’t know how to use them.

“Have you ever tried to use a Mac?,” I asked.

”No,” they replied.

Arrrrgggghhhhh! I’m a Mac user, get me out of here!

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Reader Comments (3)

aka Graybyrd · May 2, 2010 - 17:37 EST #1
Of course no one will use Mac. (grin)
Everyone knows everyone uses Windows and Windows is the most successful computer system in the world!

Seriously, from your company experience, it begins to look as if much of the small-business computer infrastructure in this country is degrading, i.e., to upgrade to Windows 7 you must replace the existing hardware (most older XP machines cannot run well under Windows 7); then upgrade or replace the office software; then retrain the users and the support staff. I'd guess this is a time and financial burden most small businesses will not opt into, but eventually will be forced into.
Patrick · May 2, 2010 - 21:06 EST #2
Dude, I'm a Mac guy since 1985 and I'm trying to help you when I say "don't be 'that guy'".
Edward W. Baptist · May 3, 2010 - 15:22 EST #3
Go here:
Download the ISO image and burn a CD.
Boot the Windows machine with the CD, select offline password editing and reset the password.

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