Demystifying Computers

How They Really Work

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Scott Badman, Instructor

Secrets of Success with Computers (in order):

1. Read what's on the screen, and try to figure out why it was written on the screen (what was the software engineer trying to say)


The old DOS message "abort, retry, fail" really meant "stop, retry, ignore",

which could have been written more clearly as "Stop the program, Retry what caused the error, Ignore the error and continue",

which should have been in the following order: "Retry what caused the error, Ignore the error and continue, Stop the program".

2. Try different things to see if they get you closer to a solution, but undo if they don't work (very important).

3. Get help (supplied documentation, Internet, knowledgeable people)

4. Get around the problem by solving it a different way.