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The One Thing Every Computer User Should Know

Computers are unreliable. Period.

See, I've been a die-hard, hardcore, heavy-duty computer user for almost my entire life. Over the years I've encountered just about every kind of glitch you can imagine. Just today, for example, Skype completely locked up my system -- twice -- despite having worked fine for the past several weeks.

Oh, and ever since installing Windows 7, my iPhone won't sync reliably with iTunes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

I spend an inordinate amount of time troubleshooting problems like these, and always with the same result: Whether I solve them or not, I end up mad, sulky, and unproductive.

That's because -- and this is my big epiphany for the day -- I think I should have some kind of control over these machines, and the reality is I don't. The nature of technology is that it's flawed, imperfect, and destined for failure. Hardware breaks down. Software gums up. Doesn't matter if you use Windows or Mac, iPhone or BlackBerry, Dell or HP -- you will invariably encounter problems.

A printer that worked yesterday will fail to work today. You'll be chatting along on Skype and wham -- locked-up PC. Your GPS will come up with a route that's so roundabout as to be laughable. It happens. To all of us. Every day.

So what's the answer to all this? There's only one: acceptance. The sooner we accept that these kinds of illogical, maddening, soul-crushing problems are inevitable, the easier it will be to let go of the frustration, find whatever workaround we need, and just move the hell forward.

It's not right, but it's the technological world we live in.

Image via iStockPhoto.