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Part A: Appendixes > Counting the Ways

Counting the Ways

Using a computer is much like operating any other piece of complex machinery— the more complex the machinery, the greater the number of potential problems that you may encounter. When using any type of computer, possible problems can occur in the hardware, hardware configuration, operating system, and applications. This section summarizes the types of problems you may encounter when using Mac OS X. This section is not intended to make you nervous. On the contrary—figuring out exactly where the problem lies is the first step to diagnosing and resolving it. Some problems are fairly easy to diagnose and resolve—“Flames are shooting out of the side of my monitor,” for example, generally indicates a hardware problem with a fairly straightforward solution. Other problems are not so obvious, and being able to diagnose them not only helps you get running again, but can also be pretty darn good for your ego.

Pilot Error

Sadly enough, many computer problems fall into a class of problems known as pilot error. This is a nice, humorous way of saying that they’ve been caused by a misunderstanding on the part of the person using the computer system. In the technical and product support industries, euphemisms include PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair, meaning that the source of the problem is the user, not the software or hardware), and the less-flattering UBD (User Brain Damage, meaning that the problem was caused by such extreme stupidity on the part of the user that physical brain damage is suspected). The bottom line is that most problems are caused by someone not understanding how to use the software or operating system or having unintentionally misconfigured their system.


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