Dumb and Dumber PC problems

When something goes terribly wrong with your computer, never forget that the real problem might be sitting in the chair in front of the display.

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So, there I was, trying to get an e-mail client, Evolution, set up on my faithful old ThinkPad R61 laptop and I was going nowhere fast. I'd decided to use Mint 9, the latest version of an Ubuntu Linux-based distribution and that had all gone perfectly well. So, why was a simple e-mail set up giving me fits? After hours of tinkering with it, and more swearing than I usually do in a month, I sat back, had a drink, and ... remembered that I had reset that particular e-mail account's password back in June.

I was such an idiot.

When it comes to computers we can all be dummies sometimes. I don't mean the kind of basic computer stupidity such as a naïve Windows user who doesn't install an anti-virus program on their PC. What I'm talking about is when people who really do know better make a dumb mistake.

Usually, I've found that I make these kinds of errors when I'm over-thinking a problem. Rather than going back to basics -- Was I using the right password for this account? -- I wasted my time trying to track down obscure Evolution login and authentication problems.

It can happen to anyone. In the past, I've known really bright, computer-savvy people to make such classic mistakes as trying to get an unplugged computer to work and wondering why their PC wasn't on the network ... when the end of the Ethernet cable was lying there by their box. Whoops!

In fact, over the years, I'm sure I've fixed more 'hard' problems by just making sure all the cables were plugged in properly than all the other repairs I've made altogether.

The moral of this story: Whenever something goes wrong with your PC, start with the basics, and then worry with the obscure and the uncommon. Chances are you'll find most of your problems are a lot simpler than you feared they were.

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