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Fenris's avatar

What's a good safe usage pamphlet to pass out to computer beginners?

Asked by Fenris (1174points) February 8th, 2010

I’ve started fixing computers for side money, and by far most of the things I come across are deletion, corruption, or infection brought on by terrible browsing, downloading and usage habits. I’m going to make a pamphlet of my own when I have some time, but until then, have any of you found a good document I can print and give to people whose computers I fix?

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9 Answers

timtrueman's avatar

Use a browser other than IE. Don’t download porn. Use Gmail.

janbb's avatar

Here’s one I found that looks like it covers some of the topics you want to deal with. You would have to figure out the copyright issues, if any, of using it for your business.

ETpro's avatar

There are plenty on line. This one’s tops in a Google search, but try out a batch. I searched new computer user instruction book.

jerv's avatar

While I can’t cite a specific pamphlet, one thing that helps is to think about the ‘net as a real place. You can run into con-artists even in places that seem safe (ever see a 3-card Monte scheme, or a double-talking store clerk?), and cyberspace has plenty of places that would qualify as a “bad neighborhood” if they were physical locations.

The problem is that many people seem to lack that sort of visualization and assume that they are safe because they are sitting in their living room. People who would balk at bolting shiny stuff on their car or rewiring their own house see no problem with putting all sorts of crazy, shiny add-ons (often ones full of malware) in their computer, totally oblivious to the fact that 1s and 0s can do as much damage to a computer as pouring sand into a car’s engine.

Fenris's avatar

@jerv – I like that sand in the gas tank visualization. Adding a bunch of useless bright, glittery stuff is exactly what this person did.

@janbb – That one’s a bit dated, but thanks for the input.

@ETpro – Thanks for the links, but those are a bit too basic, and I need something I can print and hand out.

I’ve been searching since I posted this, and I couldn’t find anything better, or comprehensive. I think just have to type one up and post it somewhere. Techies everywhere could benefit from a safe usage pamphlet they could print out and give to technotypicals. Thanks all.

jerv's avatar

I used to keep the little baggies on my 3.5” floppies to protect against STDs (Software-Transmitted Diseases) :D

Seriously though, most of computer safety is common sense Do you take candy from strangers, or only from a trusted source like a store? People take software from strangers all the time. Do you believe everything you hear from salespeople? I look for independent, third-party reviews on cars and home appliances, so why not do the same for software? Would you walk into a room full of tear gas without a gas mask? People run without adequate antivirus software all the time; either nothing or the virtual equivalent of a handkerchief over the mouth that doesn’t filter much and still leaves the eyes vulnerable.

The big difference is that the ghettos of the Internet don’t have busted out windows, cars on blocks, and other such things. They see the neon lights (flashing banner-ads) and fresh paint without realizing that technology allows you to make a toxic waste dump look like a pristine park.

ETpro's avatar

@Fenris What an opportunity for a power piece on a blog. Go for it. In fact, give me the URL when you are done. I can refer some of my customers to it.

Fenris's avatar

@jerv – it’s common sense to us. If it were common sense to my customers, I wouldn’t be listening to them bitch me out when I have to tell them they fucked their box so bad I had to back up their personal documents and start from scratch. Basic security and safe computer usage habits seem to be on the same intellectual level as learning the Visigothic dialect of low Gothic for these people! I’m having a hard time thinking on such basic terms, but it’s apparent I’ll have to in order to write an effective safety pamphlet.

You know what I saw just yesterday? A guy came to me for assistance in buying a computer – he didn’t know that it was the keyboard that made the letters come up on the monitor of a computer; he pointed the mouse at the the screen of a low-end hp model I showed him like a remote control and got frustrated when hitting random buttons did nothing. The unit was unplugged. He didn’t comprehend this. This, jerv – this is what I work with. I earn every penny.

jerv's avatar

@Fenris You pretty much do since many people regard technology as magic. Some of the more savvy ones understand that computers run on this mystical energy called “electricity” and thus need to be connected to a special spot in the wall by a rubber/plastic “rope”.

The reason I refuse to take a job in customer service is that I have no patience. If someone doesn’t understand the difference between a Core2 and a Core i3 then I will be happy to educate them, but in general I don’t even mention computers around people who know much less about them than my wife. Even my stoner neighbor who can’t quite remember what year it is knows that the roundish thing with the wheel in the middle is for pointing and the flat thing with the letters on it is for typing.

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