View Full Version : my dad tells me I can't install python on the computer because it will screw it up..

March 3rd, 2007, 04:06 AM
I built a custom PC about 5 months ago with grad money and the PSU started to act faulty about a month ago so I had to RMA it. I also RMAed the motherboard. So now I am without my PC for about 1.5-2 weeks.

My dad tells me that I cannot install anything (he is using Windows XP) because I will screw it up. Granted that about 3 years ago I did ruin his Windows installation by downloading and running sketchy programs from sketchy sites he says that I am always having issues with my PC.

In the 5 months I have had the PC I have only had probably 3 issues total. When it was first built it seemed like my mouse was not working correctly because it would jump to the middle of the screen randomly while in Company of Heroes so I thought that it was an issue with my mouse. although it wasn't and it was just Company of Heroes.

I have a JMicron Controller on my motherboard so my optical drives do not work correctly unless I have a driver installed for them. I did not know this for awhile and therefore could not burn anything with them. When I figured this out I got them working, but the troubleshooting process took about 3-4 days.

I decided to mess around with Ubuntu and made a partition on my HDD for it and since I then knew nothing about Linux I had to reinstall Ubuntu about 8 times to get it working right. XP had been on a continual slowdown for about a month (viruses were not the cause of the slowdown, we had McAfee scanning) and so I went to look for things to "tweak" XP to make it run faster. I made a couple registry changes as to how XP used system RAM and boom.. XP install = botched. It took about 15 minutes to shutdown and I had to just reformat and reinstall Windows. Now I know not to mess with that registry unless absolutely neccesary.. :|

Just recently my computer kept freezing at the BIOS screen when booting or rebooting sporadically whether it had been on or off for long periods of time. It would freeze about half of the time and so today I just eventually RMAed my motherboard and PSU.

Now because of that one time I downloaded all that sketchy junk 3 years ago (when I was completely ignorant with computers and knew really nothing) and the issues I have had that are mainly hardware issues my dad does not trust me to do anything to his computer.
He freaks out anytime I try to do anything. He refuses to install Firefox or Thunderbird because "they are not worth his time" and says that modifying the AUTOEXEC.BAT to include the python interpreter will tear Windows or his hardware up.

I tried booting puppy linux on it about a month ago because the JMicro controller on my motherboard prevents booting from any CD unless it has the JMicron driver on it. He freaks out and says that Puppy Linux will fry his RAM or something like that and I asked him if I could boot Ubuntu Linux off of my external HDD (that is where Ubuntu is now) until I get my PC back and he says that will screw it up.

Why is my Dad so freaked out about me even booting things from external drives or installing FOSS software (actually any software)? He has said to me before that Linux programmers probably just disguise Linux as a virus to screw up your hardware and says that someone couldn't possibly sit at home and program something useful, that the open-source developers cannot be trusted. It is like he believes that unless something is Windows it isn't safe or legitimate or something.

Isn't that ridiculous? And anytime something messes up with my PC he just tells me that I should have gotten a Dell instead of building my own.

March 3rd, 2007, 04:33 AM
Computers are mysterious to most people. They magically work and people get afraid of them magically not working.

March 3rd, 2007, 05:10 AM
my dad is kindof weird in that he is semi-computer literate. He knows some things like how to master a spreadsheet or program in Cobol or troubleshoot some minor Windows issues but other things he just doesn't understand or care to.

He says I should have gotten a Dell so often that I wonder.. what actually are the disadvantages and advantages to building your own custom PC. I can think of some advantages: the price is usually cheaper because you pay the manufacturer more than normal for your hardware, some OEM PC's are incredibly hard to upgrade (although my last PC my HP wasn't too bad) they sometimes have partitioned part of your harddrive space to have an HP or Dell partition for backup or other purposes, support for them is completely gone after 2 years while if you buy your own parts generally things that are more apt to be defective like PSUs or motherboards have a 3-4 year year warranty, and more recently when you build a custom you are not allowing the possibility of having a Trusted Computing module chip on your motherboard.

I do not know many disadvantages other than having to get RMAs and such through the place you purchased them.

I can build my own PC but I do not know the voltages and such things on the CPU, RAM and that stuff and I don't know how to really build a PC customized for a certain purpose such as a multimedia PC or something. When I jsut built mine I just got some of the most powerful hardware out there and put it in there because at that time I was mostly interested in gaming.

March 3rd, 2007, 05:16 AM
This has come up a bit of late. For something to be useful implies it has value. For many people, the idea of something of value being free is just a bit much to get their head around, and they will very quickly dismiss it at that, without further investigation. Their loss I guess.

As for building your own PC. Well done, it's a great learning experience, and though I don't think it saves as much cash as it once did, I still think worth the effort. I imagine Dell will survive without your custom, and I am sure you'll survive without a Dell.

March 3rd, 2007, 05:44 AM
Mate, your Father is a "computer user", he knows how to do what he wants to do and needs to know nothing else.

He is afraid that you will mess up his computer, and I can certainly understand his fears. If he uses his computer for his work, he needs it to work flawlessly and any down-time could cost him money, which is quite possibly paying for your upkeep.

Remember, it's HIS computer, you should respect that and just leave him to it.

If he took your iPod and started moving things around, I'm sure you would be upset, or even a little concerned that he might mess it up.

Having said that, the only way that you will ever learn anything useful about computers (or anything else in life), is to try things for yourself and experiment. Teachers and books only give you the basics, like learning to drive a car, you don't just take a written test do you?

The hands-on experience makes ALL the difference, you learn what you can do and what you can't, sometimes at great financial loss believe me!

BUT remember this: experiment on your own equipment, at your own expense! Meaning if you stuff something up, it's your own fault, your own problem, and your money that goes up in a puff of burning silicon!

As for brand name computers, in my opinion they are great for the average "computer user", all you do is pay your money, use it till it breaks, call the supplier if it breaks, and when it becomes too old or slow buy another one.

If you want more out of a computer, you need to build your own, you can then put in a high end graphics card, as much RAM as you can afford, and if one component blows up, simply replace it with an industry standard replacement. Plus you will learn much more than the "computer user" ever will, you will learn how it works, and why it crashes.

Then everyone you know will bring you their computer problems and you will get cheesed off :lolflag:.

That's when you start to charge them, and get something back, plus by then you will have learnt the most important lesson in the computer business: some people are simply "computer users", and the best way to deal with them is to give them exactly what THEY want, NOT what is best :).

Regards, Kev :)

March 3rd, 2007, 05:49 AM
It's not worth the hassle if you only need to wait 1-2 weeks.

March 3rd, 2007, 07:16 AM
I don't really want to experiment with his equipment just to use mainly one program and that is python. but things such as booting Ubuntu from my external HDD shouldn't be as serious as he makes it out to be. Now if I was experimenting where there was a possibility of botching his system then yes that is a problem. As yes as he does use his system for work as I do not have mine for awhile I would still like to continue working with Python.

And yes I like the experience of building my own PC as I have learned alot more about PC hardware troubleshooting than I once knew. Building my own PC also led me to want to understand other computer things such as programming, webpage design, how multimedia stuff works, etc. Granted after I built my system and it was working good for about 4 months I mainly played PC games. but as soon as I started having problems with XP about a week or so before I so foolishly tried editing the registry I looked into Linux and started learning that. and guess what? Starting to learn some Linux brought me to want to learn about programming and that other stuff.

It is quite cool as before I was thinking I wanted to mainly be a hardware tech support person, now I am considering a PC building/support small business, being a programmer, etc.
I have got 3 years to decide what I want to do before the real world slaps me in the face and tells me that there isn't anymore school to go to. That is unless I want to go to grad school.. which I doubt I will be doing.. :/

March 3rd, 2007, 07:50 AM
And anytime something messes up with my PC he just tells me that I should have gotten a Dell instead of building my own.
Obligitory rubbish joke: he's obviously never tried phoning their support then. :)

It is quite cool as before I was thinking I wanted to mainly be a hardware tech support person, now I am considering a PC building/support small business, being a programmer, etc.
Why not start a small business building Linux systems? ;)

March 3rd, 2007, 08:01 AM
that would be pretty cool. I could build custom PCs for people, help them choose a Linux OS, install Linux on it for them, configure the Linux OS for them and get it working good and then doing tech support for the Linux OS. Possibly writing a few simple programs like an interest calculator or something of that nature and distribute it for free with their OS.

Of course some of the Linux OS support would be free although I would have to charge a bit for my time.. not for Linux, as that wouldn't be cool to charge for a Linux OS unless it included something like a codec that I would have to pay a fee for. I would also refer them for some of their tech support questions to the ubuntuforums.org :)

I don't know what to do really as I am starting to try and diversify and learn alot about a bunch of different things about/things to do with computers. I would like to work for myself but as I live in a small-medium town that is mainly funded my the local university it might be hard to get much work around here. Who knows though.

I guess I could build Linux systems and Windows systems and when they ask hey what is that other option that is $200 cheaper?? then I will reply "Oh that is the option for a Linux OS. Linux OSes are completely free and work for almost anything you need to do. There are some programs that you cannot use with them such as Quicken or TurboTax but hey I know some accountants that can help you with that." then their reply= "Wait so there is a free OS that works, has no catches and can do almost everything Windows can and most of the time even more because all the software is free?" and then my reply is "Well then what would you like to purchase" and theirs is "Oh definitely the one that is free and is going to save me money in the long run"