Articles in Category: Editorials

While much of Ask Leo! contains my opinions on various matters relating to computers and technology as I answer various questions, these items are less about the answer, and more about what I think. Or in some cases, how I rant.

A photorealistic 16:9 image showing a diverse group of average computer users, each representing different ages and backgrounds, gathered around a modern, user-friendly computer setup. They are displaying a range of emotions from confusion to relief, illustrating their journey with technology over 20 years. The scene highlights the evolution from complex, intimidating technology to simple, intuitive interfaces, emphasizing the users' desire for straightforward, functional technology. The environment should look like a comfortable, everyday setting, reflecting the everyday struggles and victories of average computer users.

The Plight of the Average User

Most folks “in the industry” don’t have a sense of the average computer user. After 20 years of Ask Leo!, I’ve formed an opinion.

The Unexpected Clash: How One Program Can Impact Another

Interactions between software can cause unexpected side effects. If you’re experiencing a problem, it’s one more thing to look into.

Why Can’t I Talk to a Real Person?

There are many reasons you’re more likely to be directed to online and self-help resources than talk to a real person.

Why Shouldn’t I “Forward to Everyone You Know”?

We often get forwarded email warning us about everything from lost children to free money to crooked politicians. They’re mostly bogus, and they’re known as urban legends. Here’s how to tell.

What Information Should I Provide When Asking for Help?

When you ask someone for help, stack the deck in your favor by painting a clear picture of the problem you’re experiencing.

You Are Not Too Old for Technology

I keep hearing from people who consider themselves too old. They’re not. Don’t be like them.

Should I Buy a New Computer to Fix Malware?

Buying a new machine is a common knee-jerk reaction to a bad malware infestation. And it’s wrong. Not just a little wrong — it’s completely unnecessary.

My Most Frequently Asked Question

Some things never change.

WHY IS EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET SO GRUMPY?

Using all uppercase characters is the internet form of shouting, and is considered rude.

Stop Spreading Manure

Believing and spreading manure — lies, falsehoods, and misleading implications — makes you look bad and makes the internet a dumber place.

When AI Isn’t AI

The term “AI” is easily misused. I’ll describe what’s really being discussed.

How Do I Preserve My Online Content?

Without attention, digital information decays over time. I’ll review what I think needs to happen if you want your legacy to last.

When Tech Drives You Crazy, Don’t Make the Problem Worse

Impatience leads to frustration. Frustration leads to desperation. Desperation often leads to more problems than you started with.

How Tech Mistakes in Media Harm Us All

Please don’t base your understanding of technology on what you see in TV and movies.

Don’t Be Afraid of Your Computer

Are you afraid of your computer? I’ll look at some ways to become less fearful and more adventuresome.

Never Blindly Trust an Online Recommendation (Even Mine)

A snide remark about one of my recommendations raises an important point about any recommendation you find online: there are many opportunities for abuse.

If I Had to Do It Over

I never planned to be a writer. And yet here I am. I kinda wish I’d approached a few things differently along the way.

“Is It Possible” Is the Wrong Question

Yes, it’s possible. But you might want to ask a different question that will result in a more helpful answer.

The 40-year Takeaway

Feeling reflective, I look back on my career path to see what we might learn from it that could apply to today’s youth.

Never Attribute to Malice . . .

Malicious intent is commonly understood to be the cause of technological trials and tribulations. It’s usually the wrong assumption to make.

3 Important Life Lessons from a 99-year-old Blogger

Feeling like you’re “too old”? I’d like to introduce you to someone who inspires me.

Am I Too Old to Start a Career in IT?

Technical careers are for people with passion. If you love it, you will be good at it. I give my recommendations for a career change. Spoiler: start by doing!

What are the Internet’s Rules about Free Speech?

Often, when people find their posts or comments removed or altered from websites they visit, they’re quick to claim their right to free speech has been violated. That’s rarely the case.

Are Human Relations Skills Important in Tech?

Technical aptitude and skills are important, of course. But the ability to relate to and work with the people around you is just as crucial.

The Most Important Skill

The most important life skill, for everything from getting your computer fixed to becoming a highly-paid professional, may not be what you think it is.

How Hard Is It to Learn Programming?

Programming relies on skills and talents you have, and information and techniques you can learn. If you have one, the rest often comes naturally.

OK, Boomer: Why Computer Literacy Matters to You

Computer literacy is no longer a choice, no matter how old you are. Embracing it is an important part of participating in society today.

Embracing the Most Important Attitude

There is one approach to life — one setting in your psyche — that affects your experience with technology much more than any lack of skill or knowledge.

How the Internet Is Breaking Journalism (and What It Means to You)

When it comes to journalism and other information you read online, there’s a very strong argument that things are seriously broken. We all need to be more vigilant than ever to separate truth from falsehood and recognize what’s important over what’s popular.

How To Reduce Your Frustration with Technology

Believe it or not, there’s one change you can make that can dramatically impact how well your technology works for you.

Microsoft, We Deserve Better

Updates to Windows seemingly can’t be trusted, and yet they’re forced on us. Something must change.

Why Can’t You Give a Straight Answer?

I can’t always give a straight answer, mostly because every computer is unique. My most common answer? “It depends.”

So Just Why Are Manhole Covers Round?

Manhole covers? Really? Interviewing for technical positions can be tricky, but it can also be fun, if you know what interviewers are looking for.

How Do I Become a Computer Programmer?

Being a computer programmer can be a fun and rewarding profession. Here’s my take on what it takes to get there; some aspects are obvious, and others are not.

Is the Internet Directly Responsible for Our Economic Problems?

Economic change is actually nothing new. I feel pretty strongly that you can’t blame the internet for the economy – find out why!

How can I make a computer “Crash Proof?”

Do I have to say it? The only crash-proof technology is a good and recent backup!

Shouldn’t Everyone Have Internet Access?

Nearly 20% of people in the United States don’t have internet access. In my opinion, that’s a big problem that needs solving. I’ll explain why.

On Steve Ballmer leaving Microsoft

The end of an era. I share some of my thoughts on Steve Ballmer’s impending departure from Microsoft, and why it’s the right thing and the right time to shake things up.

Are Humans Getting More Stupid Because of Computers?

Computers make many things easier. Personally, I can do and be more than ever before. It’s because I allow the technology to help with many of the things that I used to have to remember or know… freeing up my time for other things.

Do Desktop or Laptop Platforms Really Matter any More?

As platforms like Windows, Mac, and Linux have all matured, the differences in fundamental capabilities are getting smaller – in many cases, small enough that which one you choose can often boil down to simple personal preference.

Why Shouldn’t I use TAB Characters in My Source Files?

<Shudder> No, this has nothing to do with platforms. All use hex 0x09 to represent a tab character. The problem is much, much deeper than that. This is about programmers, religion, and the meaning of that lowly little character we call “tab”.

Are email newsletters dead?

Did RSS kill the email star? Hardly … and I finally jump on the bandwagon.

Know what your kids are up to?

In this podcast episode I talk about some of the common questions that seem to be coming from kids, and wonder … do the parents know?