Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Unwritten Laws of Technology

You Must Obey: The Unwritten Laws of Technology
By PC World Staff

Gordon Moore has one law but we've got him beat. Here at the (unofficial) Tech Law Brain Trust, we maintain a definitive, ever-expanding archive of the laws that govern your technology experiences--whether you know it or not. Please scan these lists to ensure that you are in compliance.

Basic PC Laws

Let's start with Nerve Central--the computer.

Law 1: For every fix that a Windows Update patches, the update will break two more things on your PC. --Darren Gladstone, PC World

Law 2: The likelihood that Windows will automatically install time-sucking critical updates is directly proportional to your need to get your PC started. --Steve Fox, PC World

Law 3: The hard drive always fails just before you were going to back it up. --Denise Paolucci, Dreamwidth Studios via Help A Reporter Out (HARO)

Law 4: Your data will get corrupted just before you plug in your new backup external drive. --Darren Gladstone, PC World

Law 5: Your backup plan is only as good as your last successful restore. --Michael Fisher, ElephantDrive.com via HARO

Law 6: The number of USB ports on your Mac will always be one less than you need at any given time. --Blair Hanley Frank, Macworld

Law 7: Feeling time pressure to make a computer fix quickly will cause you to take longer. --David Marshak, via PC World Facebook page

Law 8: If you close the PC case with screws before testing, it won't work; If you test before closing, it will. --Harry Liebman via HARO

Tech Support Rules

Now that you've mastered the basics, you're ready to move on to Tech Support.

Law 1: Fix a computer for a friend or family member, and you'll be tech support for life. --Danny Allen, PC World

Law 2: Build a computer for someone, and he/she owns you! --Louis Farbstein, via PC World's Facebook page

Law 3: Recommend a product that you've used with no problems, and the friend/family member who buys it will immediately descend into RMA [product return] hell. --Scott Keck, via PC World's Facebook page

Law 4: Show any handy IT skills at work, and your company's IT department will start referring difficult coworkers to you. --Lars Jacobsen, via PC World's Facebook page

Law 5: If it's broken and you call tech support, it will fix itself while you're on hold. --Brenda Christensen, Public Relations, Servoy.com via HARO

Internet Ordinances

You can find a world of trouble online. For instance...

Law 1: Within a month of agreeing to be "friends" with your boss on Facebook you will regret it, big time. --Tom Spring, PC World

Law 2: The crappier the Web site, the sleazier (and sketchier) the ads. --Tom Spring, PC World

Law 3: When entering "Captcha" verification codes on a Web site, you'll always type in the numeral 1 when the site wants a lowercase L, and a capital O when the site wants the number 0. --Steve Fox, PC World

Law 4: Just before taking out the boss in a WoW raid, your Internet connection will die. --Nick Mediati, PC World

Law 5: The difficulty involved in redeeming a rebate is directly proportional to the dollar value of the rebate. --Tom Spring, PC World

Law 6: A nasty draft e-mail will always find its way to the (unintended) recipient. --Brian X. Chen

Precepts of Mobile Tech

Desktop technology isn't the only source of inevitable woe in your life. All those shiny mobile devices can cause pain, too, since the freedom of untethered technology doesn't extend to immunity from rank on rank of frustrating unalterable laws. We report 10 master Mobile Laws here.

Law 1: The charger for your current cell phone will not work with the next cell phone you buy. --Kimberly Brinson, PC World

Law 2: Your laptop's charger weighs half of what your laptop weighs. --Darren Gladstone, PC World

Law 3: A laptop battery will drain at twice its normal rate whenever you leave home without your power cord. --Kimberly Brinson, PC World

Corollary: Your laptop's battery life is inversely proportional to the amount of work you need to get done on a single charge. --Blair Hanley Frank, Macworld

Law 4: Your iPod or iPhone will be on its last burst of power just as the plane door shuts. --Anne B. McDonald, PC World

Law 5: A replacement battery charger will cost 70 percent of the original purchase price of the device. For phones, the figure is 140 percent! --Robert Strohmeyer, PC World

Law 6: Your cell phone will inevitably break before your two-year contract is up, forcing you to overpay for a new, less-cool model. --Lauren Barnard, PC World

Law 7: The proprietary charging plug (cost to produce: 50 cents) for your device will disappear within two weeks and will cost you $40 to replace. --Darren Gladstone, PC World

Law 8: On any vacation, the memory card for your digital camera will be safely lodged in the card reader on your desk at home. (And the camera's proprietary battery will be dead, with the charger sitting next to the card reader.) --Anne B. McDonald, PC World

Law 9: A cup of coffee on your desk is guaranteed to render your laptop utterly useless. --Nick Mediati, PC World

Law 10: Your MagSafe adapter will always come unplugged precisely when you need to charge your Mac laptop's battery. --Nick Mediati, PC World

Software Statutes

Finally, if entanglements with hardware principles don't leave you bound and gagged, there are always software standards to render you helpless.

Law 1: Your software provider's online support pages contain explicit instructions for troubleshooting every conceivable problem--except yours. --Mark Sullivan, PC World

Law 2: Nine times out of ten, tinkering with your Registry to fix a system issue will create a new problem that's more severe than the original. --Travis Van, ITDatabase via HARO

Law 3: Ten times out of ten, downloading a spyware product will create hidden processes/services more insidious than the original malware/adware encroachment you set out to stop. --Travis Van, ITDatabase via HARO

Law 4: The performance increase you can expect from running a Registry cleaner can be calculated as z(n + y), where n is the number of Registry entries cleaned, y is your system CPU's clock speed in gigahertz, and z = 0. --Robert Strohmeyer, PC World

Law 5: The larger the number of people who want your iPhone app, the likelier Apple is to reject it. --Nick Mediati, PC World

Law 6: iTunes will crash. That's it. No, really. --Darren Gladstone, PC World

We here at the (unofficial) Tech Law Brain Trust are always happy to consider additional axioms, postulates, propositions, theorems, and conjectures to supplement these basic rules of tech use.

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