“Design patterns” is a current buzzword for computer software and system development. The idea is certain common underlying structures occur again and again and so can be reused for successful software development. It works the other way around, too, however. There are some very clear “design patterns” for computer disasters, especially for folks who use computers at home for some business purpose. Whether it is selling on e-Bay or running a multi-national corporation remotely, lots of people today do something ‘business critical’ from their home computers.
One of the most common dismal “design patterns” for business computer use from home is letting teenagers use, for their own purposes, the same computer that an adult in the family uses for business purposes. Don’t do it! If you are using a computer at home for something important, do not let your children or grandchildren use it! Get them a computer of their own, but do not let them touch your computer.
No class of human beings messes up more computers faster than children between kindergarden age and early adulthood! And, roughly speaking, teenagers are the absolute worst! They appear to be programmed for risky behavior that is almost guaranteed to mess up your computer: downloading ‘free’ software; installing ‘file sharing’ programs to get commercial music or software without paying for it; surfing porn and gambling sites; and generally doing everything possible to render your computer incapable of normal functioning.
Do not let them on any computer you use for anything imporant to you! Get them a computer of their own to destroy and make it clear to them a) that they will have to pay to get it cleaned up if they screw it up and b) that under no circumstance will they be allowed onto your computer after they get their own infected with viruses, trojans, spyware, browser hijackers, rootkits, and other malicious software. Otherwise, count on having your own computer on which you do whatever important stuff you do being taken down, sooner or later, by their insatiable experimentation.
All the best,
William F. Zachmann, President, Canopus Research Inc.