One third of all computer users who seek technical support say they never find the solution to their computing snafus. A recent survey by Consumer Reports magazine puts IT technical support among the lowest-ranked services—even lower than the support offered by cell phone vendors! Common gripes include: poorly designed help systems, difficulty obtaining telephone support and technical support specialists who don’t know what they are talking about.

While these problems are due in part to the inability of software vendors to provide useful and convenient support services, the brunt of computing problems can be traced back to software coding errors—sloppy development practices that cost the U.S. economy an estimated $59.5 billion a year (just short of 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product), according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Over half of the costs associated with software bugs are paid for by users in the form of lost productivity and increasing support costs. See “When Good Software Goes Bad” for the scoop!