Friday, August 22, 2008

When technology goes wrong

I'm a techie. I like technology and I'm pretty comfortable with lots of different technology. I like talking about it and most of the time, I like to use it.

Except when it fails.

I've had three incidents recently that have been driving me up the wall.

The first one is work related so I can't go into a lot of detail, let's just say that we had a niggly
problem that was holding us up for a few days. We're over it now, but it was adding a lot of extra stress this week. I've worked with our technology for almost 4 years now, and our technology installs easily, performs well, is well supported by our great support team in Ottawa and is mostly a joy to work with. So when things go a little wrong, you're reminded just how complex computer systems are.

The second has been a really beast to resolve. I've been using CA's internet Security Suite (because it was pretty good value) for a few years, but it began reporting errors a few weeks ago that have been very hard to diagnose. The Personal Firewall component was attempting to apply an update, but either the download was continually failing or the install of the update had a problem. The symptoms were annoying errors messages popping up on a very regular basis and more seriously, the firewall remaining disabled. The very nature of firewalls, puts then in the middle of a lot of core computer functions, so they are very difficult to uninstall (especially this CA product). Just look at the number of hits when you google
uninstall CA security. So I began using some weird uninstall applications from CA and thought I had it solved. I actually got it uninstalled, but when I tried to re-install it (with the latest download from CA) I began getting the same problems again. So drastic measures came into play, I looked a little closer and found out that CA had upgraded their product to a 2008 version that was incompatible with earlier versions. But to install, this newer version, I had to upgrade by license keys. So I did that, and duh, the entire current CA install stopped working, anti-virus and all - ouch. So last night, I finally got the new version in place and everything is safe and secure again.

The third one is with a trial version of Photoshop Elements I've been playing with for a few weeks on my laptop. There have been a few niggly issues that I wasn't able to resolve, including a non-functioning help system, failure of auto correction features and disk failures. My wife and I have decided it is the best photo management and editing product, so I bought the CD packaged product and have installed it on our home PC. So far, things look good, help system works, but the resources it's consuming is up and down - a little mysterious. Lots more time to spend with it and I'm keeping my fingers crossed it is worth the investment.

1 comment:

Eco said...

Did you turn it off and then on again? 8)

Seriously, problems with security software are often very difficult to deal with - I had a friend that used Norton 360 and had some major problems - so much so that Norton had to take over his notebook with Webex, and do configuration changes on the fly - and what was the problem? Licensing! Arg - they further complicate the whole thing by imbedding all kinds of code to ensure that the software is installed at most twice (which caused a whole bunch of network chatter as the software 'talked' back and forth between two PC's continuously verifying the license!)

FYI - I use and have been recommending AVG software for many years now (From Grisoft). They have always had a free version of their antivirus software (although it is getting tricky to find the free one now, just keep looking through the site, it's there!). I have the latest free version installed with Vista and it's been working well.