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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Real Player update and Computer Literacy-

I began my computer adventures in high school, which was not common in the late 1960's. My personal computer adventures began in the mid-1980's. A friend, Michael Wilson, fed me some surplus parts he had, and I cobbled together my first computer. He also supplied some stuff for my second computer, and I learned a lot putting them together and learning to operate them.

Not too far into that adventure I became what was known then as a "power user." That sounds pretty cool, but any child working with a computer today would probably earn the title with what they know. It was a comfortable competence in managing files and tweaking programs to get them to run together. It was a tedious process in those days. Once in a while I have experiences reminding me of those times, but for the most part computers are a bit easier to live with now.

Today I got a notice that the newest version of Real Player was available for download. I downloaded it immediately. I have learned that keeping your software up to date is critical for easy operation. So, I hit the download button. Immediately the first screen came up. It was an ad for Carbonite, the on-line back-up program being advertised frequently on television.

In the ad was a check box, which was already checked. It said that I wanted a trial version of Carbonite. I unchecked the box and went on with my download. This is not the first time this advertising ploy has come up, but it is a fairly recent development. I thought on the matter a bit, and realized that some of my Internet friends might not be aware of this new ploy.

Carbonite might well be a great program, but I already have a back-up plan in place. I do not want Carbonite, and many who might want to update their Real Player might not want Carbonite either. So, our lesson for today is to watch the ads coming along with automatic downloads. Look at those check boxes, and be sure to un-check any which are already checked if you don't want the product or service.

Younger people who have grown up with personal computers may consider this a "duh" moment, but older users often overlook a lot of what goes on with their computers. Many postpone critical updates not realizing how important they are. Advertisers do realize how important those regular updates are, and attach the ads for that reason.

So, look at those update offers. Make sure they are updates for programs you use. Watch the update process as it occurs, and especially note any check boxes that already have checks in the box. Adding new programs which you do not want to your system will just clutter the computer, and makes it run poorly.

It takes only a little time and effort to become a "power user." Just a little learning  and a bit of vigilance can reward you with a smooth running computer and trouble free operation. Too much neglect will net you a computer repair bill to clean up a clogged and bloated system.

It's so simple, even a Cave Man can do it. So can you.


Jerry said...

It's interesting -- just earlier this week I confronted the same checked box while updating Real Player. I learned the lesson to uncheck boxes about a year ago when I found myself hung up with something I didn't want because I didn't pay attention.

Good advice.

Pam said...

I always uncheck boxes. I might even miss something I really want, but I don't take the risk!