Introducing the defensive computing blog

This is the first posting in a new CNET blog. Here is a roadmap of where the blog is going.

Michael Horowitz
Michael Horowitz

Michael Horowitz wrote his first computer program in 1973 and has been a computer nerd ever since. He spent more than 20 years working in an IBM mainframe (MVS) environment. He has worked in the research and development group of a large Wall Street financial company, and has been a technical writer for a mainframe software company.

He teaches a large range of self-developed classes, the underlying theme being Defensive Computing. Michael is an independent computer consultant, working with small businesses and the self-employed. He can be heard weekly on The Personal Computer Show on WBAI.


2 min read

If Carl Sagan were alive he might point out that there are billions and billions of blogs. So why read this one?

This blog is for people for whom the health and well being of their computer and/or data is important.

Computer problems are inevitable, and to someone who depends on a computer problems can be disastrous. That's why I'm here.

Defensive computing is about taking steps when things are running well, to avoid or minimize problems down the road. In short, it's about being smart and planning ahead. This blog will not be computing for dummies. That said, no technical background will be needed to understand any of the postings to come. Just experience using computers.

I use the term "computers" because this blog will not be limited to personal computers. While much of it will be about PCs running Windows, I will also write about other operating systems and computers that are in no way "personal", meaning servers and beyond.

How important are the computers you deal with? Suppose they were stolen. If the loss is a nuisance and your biggest gripe is the replacement cost and hassle, this blog is not for you. It's for people for whom a computer failure would be a huge problem, as in not being able to run a business or perform your job.

Many people who depend on their computers are on their own, without an IT department or computer nerd nearby. If you work at a very small business, are self-employed or part of the growing home based workforce, then you've come to the right place. This blog's for you.

My goal is that you'll learn enough about computers to keep yours happy and healthy and doing the job for which it was purchased. I will try to make the blog educational, fun and an easy read. Postings will probably be a bit longer than is usual for a blog and they may not be as frequent. Hopefully, you'll find them useful.

Defensive Computing also entails making decisions based on accurate information. All too often, computer related articles in the media contain technical mistakes or omissions. I'll be correcting some of these articles. Newspapers, watch out.

There will be no bias in this blog. I'm not an enthusiast or opponent of any particular operating system or application. For example, I use Firefox all the time and tell everyone that will listen to do the same. Still, it has its share of faults and I've documented many on the Firefox page at my computergripes.com web site. Nothing is ever black or white.

Finally, this blog is not about gadgets.

This will be an iPhone, iPod and iTunes free zone. No electrons will grace this space devoted to cellphones of any type. Digital cameras? Nope. PlayStation, Xbox? No way. High Def TVs? Fuggedaboutit.

Think NBC - Nothing but computers.

Still, this leaves a lot of ground to cover.