Posted on

A Broken Arm, A Blanket and Band-Aid Repairs

Band-Air Repair

The recess bell rang.  All of us students hastily scurried to the playground, ready for freedom from the classroom.

The warm rays of the September sun smiled on our faces as we quickly walked down the sidewalk to the playground at the old Lowell School South building.

I met up with some of my other third-grade friends under the shade trees separating the concreted part of the playground from the large football field.  Situated nearby was the concrete base of the old water fountains.  It stood about two feet tall.

As was custom, we decided to play cops and robbers.  But this time, I chose to be a bad guy. 

Our scheme was the old water fountains would be my friend Marlena’s car and I was going to be a robber hiding in the back.  I would “steal” her money as she got into the car.

We set our scenario into motion.  I hopped into the water fountains and crouched down.  Marlena strolled over to her “car.”  I jumped up as she approached.  She lifted her arm and swung it toward me.

I fell backwards out of the two-foot-tall concrete structure.  I stuck my arm out to break my fall.

When I stood up, the lower part of my right arm was no longer straight.  It was in a slight U shape.

It didn’t really hurt and I wasn’t crying, but I knew something was wrong.  I casually walked up to Mrs. Madison and said, “I think I broke my arm.”

Panic immediately appeared on her face and her voice cracked as she ushered me to the nurse’s office.

Soon I was waiting in Gibson General Hospital’s emergency room, my arm wrapped snugly in a thick blanket to keep the bones from moving.

The doctor and nurses examined my arm and told my mom I would need surgery.  The nurse brought out a splint.  She wanted to place my arm in it. 

But I adamantly refused because the split had an opening in the middle of it.  I was afraid my arm would get stuck in it because it was in a slight U shape.  So they left my arm in the blanket.

A few hours later, the doctors reset my broken bones and wrapped it in a cast.  I spent the next couple of days with my right arm hoisted in the air as it healed.  Followed by several weeks of keeping my arm in a sling.

Sometimes in life, stuff breaks.  Whether it’s bones in our body, the leg on a coffee table, a part on our car, or our computer.

Two Ways To Fix Broken Things

There are two methods of fixing broken things – a quick band-aid patch or a thorough, real repair.

Band-aid repairs are designed to be fast, easy-to apply, and temporary.  It’s the piece of tape you wrap over your broken glasses so you can see long enough to drive home.  You know it won’t last, but it gets you by for a short time.

Resting my broken arm in a blanket was a band-aid solution.  It alleviated the pain, but wasn’t a long-term remedy.

Real repairs are designed to be permanent and completely fix what’s broken.  They’re usually more time-intensive, often times require the work of a professional, and are more expensive.  Like having surgery to fix my broken arm.

When it comes to repairing my client’s computer problems, I always opt to perform a real repair.  I refuse to apply band-aid fixes.

Band-aid fixes typically cause more serious issues, increase the overall cost of repairs, and create frustration.  I just cannot conscientiously apply a quick-fix, knowing full well the true problem isn’t resolved.

Two Examples

Many virus infections, especially if caught early, only install a few files on a computer and do very little damage.  In most cases, a single scan with one robust antivirus program would remove the worst components of any virus infection.

But I designed one of the most comprehensive and thorough virus removal processes because it’s those small overlooked parts of a virus infection lingering on a computer that can cause big problems later on.

This is why we allow three full business days to complete our virus and malware removal service.  It’s a real repair.  One that will provide the best results and satisfaction for our clients.

Is it inconvenient to be without your computer for up to three business days?  Sure. 

Would it be more irritating to have to bring it back in to us a week later for the same problem?  Absolutely.

***

A newly referred client brought her laptop to me a couple of weeks ago reporting it was running slow and suddenly wouldn’t load into Windows.  After thorough diagnosis, I informed her the hard drive had started to fail – the likely cause of the symptoms.

She urgently needed her laptop to complete payroll for her employees.  Even though I got Windows to load, I knew the laptop wasn’t stable and could crash again at any moment.

She agreed replacing the hard drive was the right, real repair – even though it took a couple of extra days to complete.  She was thrilled with my honesty, recommendation, and how I completed the repairs slightly faster than expected.

 

So, when something you own breaks, remember you have two choices:  the band-aid fix or the real repair. 

Almost without exception, the real repair is the quickest, cheapest, and most satisfying option.

Posted on

Listen Up, Trump. You’re Wrong!

Apple vs. FBI

You’re a smart guy, Donald, but you’re wrong. 

Apple should NOT be forced into creating a backdoor hack to unlock an iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.  It is also utterly ridiculous to encourage a boycott of all Apple products until they do so.

It would be an interesting exchange between myself and Trump regarding this particular issue – both of us being strong, determined type-A personalities.

I normally try to avoid political discussions except with very close friends, but this issue strikes at the heart of the IT industry.

For those unfamiliar, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and seriously injured 22 others on December 2 when they carried out a homegrown terrorist attack at a holiday party of San Bernardino employees. 

The FBI recovered an iPhone used by the shooters, but could not access its contents due to the phone’s advanced security features and encryption.

The FBI then reached out to Apple, asking them to create a new version of the phone’s operating system that could bypass the security features.  Apple refused.
Unhappy at being told no, the FBI convinced a judge to order Apple to create the requested software.  Apple has chosen to fight back.

Apple CEO Tim Cook explained the company’s rationale in a very clear, well-written letter.  (The letter can be read in its entirety at http://www.apple.com/customer-letter.)

While the terroristic murders were dastardly and while our government should do everything in its legal power to protect us from such attacks, much more is at stake than simply cracking open one person’s iPhone.

Not only is it an overreach of our government’s authority, but it would open the door for foreign governments and regimes to demand access to private, personal information you and I store on our electronic devices.

It’s one thing to require a company to legally hand over information they already have.  Such as a subpoena to a cell phone carrier for call logs and chat transcripts.

It’s something quite different to force a company to make an entirely new product.  At the company’s expense.  With questionable long-term ramifications. 

The government’s demand could open the door to all sorts of secret monitoring.  As Tim Cook wrote, “The government could … demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”

Building such a backdoor also opens a huge security hole that hackers, virus writers, and even terrorists could use to obtain the same information – again, without your knowledge or consent.

Our online security is already exceedingly difficult to maintain.  We don’t to increase the risk.

So back to Trump.  How do you think he would respond to this scenario? 

In 2008, the Industrial and Commerce Bank of China signed a deal to occupy the 20th floor of his iconic tower at 725 Fifth Avenue in New York.

The Chinese, according to our government, masterminded a cyber-attack in early 2015, compromising personal information of millions of US government employees.

While the bank had no involvement in the cyber-attack, it could be theoretically possible some of the hackers maintain financial accounts there or funneled money through the bank.

Shouldn’t the government force Trump, at his own cost, to develop and install custom, not-currently-available surveillance equipment to monitor phone calls, computer transmissions, and financial transactions conducted within the bank’s leased area and give the Feds access to collected information?  After all, our national security could be at risk. 

I dare say the Donald would vehemently refuse to comply.  In which case, should we boycott all of Trump’s hotels, resorts, and clothing lines?

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

Now to sit back and wait for the Donald to thrash me on social media!