For most of my adult life, I made my living working on communications devices, electrical stuff, some mechanical, but mostly repairing things that moved electronic signals from point A to point B; 2-way radios, walkie-talkies, point to point microwave, things like that. Once you got the theory of electronics in your head, it made sense. Even though the movement of gillions of little electrons racing around a circuit board could be puzzling to figure out, it was logical. If a signal goes in one end of a box and doesn't come out the other, by logic, the trouble is in the box. Well, most of the time. There are exceptions, the most common being the home computer. Computers are not, repeat, not, logical. My most recent event with this invention of the devil is a good example.
It started when a friend sent me a link via e-mail to a tutorial featuring a neat trick with Photoshop. But when I clicked the link, a message popped up saying I needed the latest version of something called Real Player to view the video. I hate downloading new stuff to my computer. Illogical things happen. Sure enough, Real Player downloaded and installed just fine but, and there's always one of those buts, a new little icon pops up on my desktop, Google Chrome it says. If there was a check mark to omit Google Chrome from the Real Player download, it had gotten past me. Google Chrome, for the uninitiated, is a browser allegedly faster and better than Internet Explorer, but I wanted none of it. As I said, I detest making changes in the computer, bad things happen. That's why I was so pleased to see an "un-install" option when I clicked the icon. In a matter of seconds, Zap, it was gone.
The next day I get a complaint from the Missus that she can no longer click on a link in e-mail. All she gets is a message that says something like "This computer is not authorized to go there" or something to that effect. I immediately put in a call to son Mark, my personal computer guru. Mark loves it when I call him when he's in the middle of a huge corporate computer problem where the company is losing money by the minute, to cry about my own insignificant electronic miseries. "I got to call you back," he says. End of conversation.
Undeterred, I copy and paste the offending message into Google Search for a look around. Surely someone has seen this problem before. Yes, there it was at the top of the list, my exact problem. The remedy, it said, was to go into the computer's registry and make some changes. Hmmm. I vaguely recalled Mark warning me to never, never go in to the registry. "It's not for the faint of heart," was his quote. Actually, I'm not at all sure what the "registry" is but it sounds foreboding. Like maybe a place where all the sinners of the world are tracked and filed. But the solution seemed so simple, a click here, a click there, replace that with this, and your problems are over. Hey, I"m a fixer guy. I understand logical things. What could possibly go wrong?
Brimming with confidence, I ignored Mark's warning, and typed in the changes to "fix" the registry. I ain't skeered.
Basically, the registry bit me in the ass.
The original warning flag had disappeared only to be replaced by another one, "You stupid SOB, what have you done?" or words to that effect. I tried e-mailing Mark with the subject of the mail being a single word in all caps: PANIC. Time passed with no reply. Damn kids got no sympathy for old people anymore.
Desperate, I decided to copy and paste the new warning into Google Search. Sure nuff, another solution, this time something to do with Internet Options. Click, click, click and Thank You Jesus, the warning flags waved bye-bye and all was normal. How had everything gotten so screwed up with a simple download? It made no sense. Definitely not logical.