Good Days & Bad Days
Cars & Computers
Pearls of Wisdom
Quotable Quotes
Computers & Cars

Computers are a lot like cars, and car analogies can often help people better understand their computers.

Just like cars, (1) computers need regular maintenance, (2) smoke and funny noises signal a problem, (3) a competent technician is best for the job, and (4) when they crash, it's usually user error.






When you take your car to the mechanic, do you tell him how to fix it?

Most mechanics appreciate you describing your car’s symptoms, but they’re not so happy when you tell them how to fix your car.  Surprisingly, there’s a lot of so-called “computer experts” who think that they should be in business (but thankfully, they’re not!). 

racing car

Would you think twice about calling your mechanic and saying “My car isn’t working. How much will you charge to fix it?”

My mechanic (and probably yours, too) doesn’t possess any superhuman abilities to diagnose the less than specific “not working” problem, at least with any real accuracy, especially over the phone. This is also true of “My computer is dead. How much will it cost me to get it fixed?”

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If you bought a new car, would you let a friend tinker with it just because he knows more about cars than you do?

Probably not. When it comes to computers, everyone knows a so-called “computer expert”. When computers were first invented, they were fairly simple and there wasn’t too much you could break, but today, they’re more complex than ever. Most people could probably change the oil on their 1966 Mustang, but on today’s model, you need to take it to the dealer or the local lube shop.

racing car

You have an “old” car… let’s say 1970’s-ish, non-descript, and never to become a collector’s item. You can hardly get it up to the speed limit; it’s in the repair shop every few months; and you have to beg your friends to drive you to work because it’s your only mode of transportation. Your mechanic keeps telling you to junk it even though he doesn’t mind taking your money. Deep inside, you know it’s costing you money, but you’re too cheap to even consider buy something else.

Many people want to “upgrade” their old computers in hopes of saving money and not have to fork out the money for a new computer. While that’s usually doable within the first one to two years after purchasing a new computer, it’s not as economically feasible afterwards. Most manufacturers’ warranties are valid for a year, so if a component or multiple components break (particularly, the expensive ones), the parts and labor repair cost may actually exceed the price of a new computer.

Even if you upgrade your old components to better and faster ones, you’re still limited by the slowest component (refer back to page 6). Additionally, older computers may not be upgradeable to anything faster than the original specifications. Today’s computers can run circles around those manufactured just a few years ago. The increase in speed, efficiency, and productivity of a new computer beats the wasted time and frustration hands down. Remember the time before DSL … when you used a 56K modem?

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