The More Things Change…
The More They Stay the Same
We wrote our first “Your Computer Won’t Bite” e-book way back in 2005. Windows XP was just a few years old, and some folks were still hanging on to Windows 98 and Windows ME.
Sixteen years ago, we told you that your computer won’t bite, and though things have changed a lot in those sixteen years, the basic theme of that old, outdated e-book is still true even though sixteen years have passed.
Microsoft is taking heat again for foolishly promising, in 2015, that Windows 10 would be the last numbered version of Windows, only to break that promise in 2021 with the release of Windows 11. And the click-hungry, reader-hungry, tech sites and tech publications are regaling users with tales of the horrors of and the flaws in Windows 11.
But one thing we’ve always done is disregard what the geeks and experts say and honestly evaluate things for ourselves. And then, as always, tell you the truth. And the truth is, Windows 11 is much more like Windows 10 than we’ve all been led to believe. But there’s no clickbait in that, so instead of telling you about the many similarities and improvements in Windows 11, many people spend time focusing on the bad things, on the flaws, and the differences. And yes, there are flaws, sure. It’s new. But the differences are few and the similarities are many.
So, here in 2021, the week after Microsoft released Windows 11, I realized that it is true that “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.
The following excerpt originally appeared in the introduction to our 2005 “Your Computer Won’t Bite” e-book. At that time Windows XP was three years old and some Windows 98 and Windows ME users were heartily avoiding Windows XP only to, years later, proclaim Windows XP the best Windows ever.
So, let’s take a look back sixteen years to what we wrote in July 2005:
- You control your computer; your computer doesn’t control you.
- A good working knowledge of computers can help keep you safe.
- No software program in the world is going to provide you with 100% protection from every evil on the Internet.
- No software program can or will ever replace your brain.
- No software program can or will ever replace your common sense.
- The bad guys rely on the trusting nature of people. Whatever sounds too good to be true most always is.
- You don’t need to be a computer guru to avoid someone taking advantage of you on the Internet.
- Continuing education is a must. You don’t need to be a guru to stay safe, but you must continue to learn about your computer and the Internet because it’s always changing and evolving.
- Don’t give your trust away – make those who want you to trust them earn your trust. Don’t trust strangers on the Web. Be wary.
- The Internet can be a magical, fun, and wonderful place. On it you’ll find the sum total of humanity’s knowledge; it’s an invaluable source of entertainment, knowledge, beauty, and fun.
- If you are constantly worried about the boogeyman lurking in the hills and canyons, you’ll never get the maximum enjoyment from your computer or the Internet.
- Your computer is your window to the world regardless of your age. It can take you backward or forward into time; it can take you on incredible journeys from the depths of the oceans to breathtaking nebulae thousands of light years away. You can learn to sail, to fly, to write; you can learn a foreign language or get a college degree.
- And the most amazing thing about computers and the Internet? You never even have to leave you house. You can explore the entire world and tap into the knowledge of humanity all without leaving your home.
- While it’s a shame that there is so much trickery and deceit on the Internet, it’s not exclusive to the Internet. When you think about it, it isn’t any different than the world has ever been. There have always been scams and trickery; there have always been bad people who are out to steal what we have. There is one big difference between trickery and deceit on the Internet and deceit and trickery in the “real” world though – and that difference is you.
- If someone came to your door and offered you a little box that promised to fix every problem with your house – from a broken window to a broken water heater – with the click of a button. And you could buy this magic box for $49, what do you think the chances are you’d buy it? Slim and none, right? Exactly. Because why? Because you know better. You know it’s a scam because your common sense and your knowledge tells you it’s a scam. But if someone on the Internet or television tells you that their product can fix whatever is wrong your computer and make it run like new with just a click of you mouse – and for only $49 – you might buy it. You might not know enough about computers that you’d know that one-click-fixes work about as well on your computer as the little magic home repair box would work on your house.
- Somewhere between the real world and the Internet, our common sense meanders and our intellect dulls. Things we’d never believe in the real world we believe when we encounter them on the Internet. And that in a nutshell is why trickery and deceit abound on the Internet. That’s why there is so much malware. That’s why there is so much money stolen from people’s bank accounts. That’s why almost all freeware you download now comes in the form of bundlers – software installers loaded with malware and hijackers right along side the program you really wanted are everywhere.
- People’s tendency to forego common sense while on the Internet is also why there are so many rogue security programs and why such things as cryptolocker-type programs “FBI” scams (Ramsomware) are so ubiquitous.
- Your computer won’t bite, but there are a plethora of things on the Internet that will bite you if you leave your common sense behind when you turn on your computer and venture out on to the Internet. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can learn to take your common sense with you on the Internet; you can protect yourself by educating yourself and training your brain to come with you when you open that browser of yours. Just a little bit of education and some plain, old healthy wariness are essential to staying safe when you travel on the Web.(Darcy & TC, July 2005)
We wrote that sixteen years ago in our first “Your Computer Won’t Bite” e-book, published in July 2005. Things change and the wheel goes ’round and ’round. More people access the Internet today with smartphones and tablets than with PCs. But other than that, things are pretty much as they were all those years ago. The crooks are more sophisticated these days, sure. But one thing you can always count on is that there will always be people trying to make a quick and easy buck by preying upon the kindness, naivety, and generosity of trusting people.
And 16 years later, we want you to know that we’re very thankful for your support – without it, we would not be here.
And we still don’t want you to be afraid – we just want you to be careful.
Your computer still won’t bite.