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Issue #166a: September 26, 2010

Note:  The Odessa American picked up the column and began publishing it on this date.  To help introduce myself to the new Geek readers in Texas, I provided them with a special re-print of It’s Geek to Me Issue #1.


Special to the Odessa American – A new feature will appear starting next week in this space.  “It’s Geek To Me” – a column dedicated to answering reader questions about computers and technology.  This column was launched just over three years ago in the Northwest Florida Daily News, another Freedom Communications paper that publishes out of Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself, and let you know what qualifies me to answer your technology questions.  Below is a re-print of It’s Geek To Me Issue #1, as it ran on July 26, 2007.  I now have 165 other issues under my belt, and still going strong.  I look forward to receiving some new e-mails from local readers.  Please remember to include your name, city, and state when you write.  Unless you specify otherwise, only your first name and last initial will appear in the column.

Do you ever have computer problems that you just can’t resolve yourself?  Ever wish you had someone you could ask for advice without having to pay them $9.99 per minute?  Wondering if that cool computer gadget you saw in the magazine will really do what the manufacturer says?  Fed up with all those annoying little Windows™ problems that you just KNOW there must be a way to fix – if only you knew what it was?  Well help is here my friend!   Welcome to the first edition of “It’s Geek To Me” your new computer Q&A column!  Over the coming weeks and months, I hope to bring you advice and assistance to help make using your computer a more productive and more pleasant experience.

When my Spouse Peripheral (read: wife) runs up against problems with her computer, either at work or at home, her first inclination is to call me and say, “Help! I need a geek!”  That’s me.  I’ve called myself a “Computer Geek” since long before that name was made vogue by the guys at that yellow-tag store who run around dressed like dorky Men-In-Black in late-model VW Bugs.  As far as I’m concerned, being called a geek is a badge of honor.  In the right circles, we geeks are looked at with envy, especially by people with broken computers.  In fact, that’s how I had my first date with my Spouse Peripheral.  But that’s another story.

So, you may ask, why me?  What makes me think I’m qualified to give you PC advice?  Well, I started tinkering with computers as an amateur in the late 1970’s, and I’ve been a computer professional since the early 1980’s.  I was hacking back in the days of the Commodore 64 and the Radio Shack Color Computer.  I witnessed the birth of the PC, and learned the operating systems hands-on.  I was solving problems for people as Microsoft’s MS-DOS gave way to Windows, which has now by my count gone through at least a dozen major versions.  I’ve seen computer viruses proliferate from a few dozen to almost a half a million.  I saw the rise of FidoNet, and ran a bulletin board in the thick of it, only to see it perish in the dawn of the Internet.  Suffice it to say, I’ve been in the trenches through some of the best and the worst of the computer revolution.

So, THAT’s why I think I’m qualified to help you!  I’m certainly willing, and how many computer geeks do you know who say THAT?  But, before I can give advice, I need questions from you.  I have limited space to make use of, so I can’t guarantee I’ll have room to answer every question, therefore I’d like to concentrate on questions that will help the largest number of people.  I’m going to steer away from giving my opinion as much as possible, and concentrate on providing factual answers.  So, do YOU have a computer problem you can’t resolve?  E-mail me at  See you next week!

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