Do you compute?

Over the weekend, a pair of incidents involving computer downtime led to unexpected delays. Car maker General Motors (NYSE:GM) announced that it would not be reporting its April sales data today because a computer glitch kept auto dealers from reporting figures to the company. Sure, that's not too bad. You probably weren't biting your nails over the weekend to see how GM fared last month. You can wait until Tuesday.

However, Atlanta-bound passengers flying Delta (NYSE:DAL) probably weren't as understanding when a computing hiccup had their flights grounded for as long as six-and-a-half hours on Saturday.

Are we relying too much on the box? My father prefers to peck away on his IBM (NYSE:IBM) Selectric typewriter, and he would have a fit if you tried to replace his appointment calendar with a palmOne (NASDAQ:PALM) handheld organizer. He will argue that he has never botched a date with a client, and he's got a manual typewriter at the ready in case the power goes out on his electric, eccentric, eclectic Selectric.

He's right. However, despite all the anger that may have been channeled through a half-dozen hour-long waits at boring airports all over the country, it's undeniable that computers have also enriched our lives.

No, I'm not on the Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) or Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) payrolls. However, grinning traditionalists can't ignore the various technological advances and huge increases in productivity and personal convenience that have been provided courtesy of computerization. The fact that you're reading this online may very well cast your vote in agreement with me.

So, maybe GM and Delta were making a beeline to our popular Help with this STUPID computer! discussion board over the weekend. Why not? It's easy to get frustrated. However, botched connections can get rerouted, and an extra day in GM's 0% financing world is literally of no interest.

In the end, that's all that really computes.

Has your computer ever gone down and left you at a loss? Are you too dependent on your machine? How can you protect yourself from serious downtime? All this and more -- in the Help with this STUPID computer! discussion board. Only on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz tries not to shout at his computer when it's acting up. He believes that positive reinforcement works best. He does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story.