Web Winners |

Posted: August 05, 2007

If computer mishaps, data disasters, or a strange sense of losing control of technology get you down, these Web sites offer some advice for avoiding trouble, places to get help, and cautionary tales to keep us from giving in to computer anxiety.

Be prepared. The scouting motto is applied here as one tip for avoiding computer stress. Being prepared, we discovered, means "learning the nuts and bolts of how your systems work by reading the manuals and perhaps a book or two on computers." On the other hand, there are reasons that most of us don't have computer-science degrees.

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Remote help. Call in the geeks for emergency help, right over the Internet. A number of these services have cropped up. You give them a call, they take remote control of your computer, and - in the best-case scenario - they fix it. Support.com, for example, charges $39 to $99 for onetime fixes. Its price list also includes such items as MP3-player training and setup ($39), virus and spyware removal ($79), and a Windows Vista upgrade assessment to figure out if your computer can handle the new Microsoft operating system ($39).

Recovery tips. This page lists steps businesses should take to be sure they can recover from a "data disaster." Individuals can take some hints here, too. Planning is key, along with backing up your data. Oh, and the site offers free versions of backup and data-recovery software.

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Computer anxiety. If computer crashes, network slowdowns and lost work have ever left you wondering what's so great about computers, anyway, then you'll enjoy some of the reading available here. Critics, including Sun Microsystems Inc. cofounder Bill Joy, explore the limits of technology. One of Joy's famous essays, "Why the future doesn't need us," tops the list.


Contact staff writer Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114 or rkanaley@phillynews.com.

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