Happy Memorial Day! Please take a minute sometime today to remember the reason for this holiday. On the left of the blog page is a link to a poem I wrote about Memorial Day.
Now, on a lighter note….
Imagine, if you will, a regular working day Monday. I come be-bopping up the stairs to my office (all right, I don’t be-bop up the stairs – I usually walk up sedately wishing I could have somehow stuffed just a little more caffeine into my system, but that is beside the point), log on to my work computer ready and eager to work, and am presented with a message that brings everything to a screeching halt.
Now, I cannot tell you precisely who the message will be from – the three main culprits are Windows, Apple and Adobe – but it always presents me with a choice that I am just not ready to face that early in the morning – whether to install updates to software on my computer.
Why is this a problem? First, I know my computer well enough now that I like it just the way it is, faults and all, and while most new components tend to run in the background on stuff I probably wouldn’t understand anyhow, every so often one of them completely changes the way something works, and I have to get used to my computer all over again. Second, I don’t care if the message says I can continue to work while the updates are loading, my computer does as well at “mushy-tasking” as I do – which is to say, not very well. I can notice a difference! Third, at least 67% of the time, once the updates are finished loading, they want to restart my computer. By the time that happens, I am right smack dab in the middle of something and really don’t want to restart my computer, nor do I want to have to keep telling my computer that every five minutes thereafter.
I will give the software updates on my work computer credit for at least one thing though – they are up front with me. They arrive first thing in the morning, tell me what they want, and then present me with choices. My netbook is much sneakier. It waits until I am trying to turn it off and then just announces to me that it is installing updates, and I will permanently destroy it and the entire Eastern Seaboard if I dare to turn it off without letting those updates get installed. The problem with this method is that the netbook is my traveling computer, and when I am getting ready to unplug it, I usually am ready to head off somewhere else where there is not a WiFi connection. I have so far acceded to its mandate to wait but someday I may not be able to do so, and then what will my netbook and the people on Eastern Seaboard do?
Then there is the default method for forcing you to update – “the other programs you like to use won’t work anymore if you don’t change your _____.” This statement is usually followed by reassurances that I will be much happier with the new version of X than I was with the old version. I have recently encountered something similar to that with IE 9. I don’t know what version of Internet Explorer I was using before, but I kept having problems viewing certain web sites and finally gave up, bit the bullet and upgraded. Unfortunately, after the upgrade, which took quite a bit of time on my work computer, the same problems remained. Sigh. I have my computer/software guru looking at it over the weekend. The upgrade has, so far, gone fairly well on the netbook.
I understand, in a way, why software manufacturers have had to ramp up their methods of getting us to upgrade, because, without some kind of coercion, I would still be running Windows 98 and saving data on floppy discs, but isn’t there a way we can all just get along?
So, please, software manufacturers, while I admire your zest for self-improvement, and the technological miracles you have wrought since my first experiences with Basic and Cobol back in the dark ages, can you find softer, gentler methods to coerce me into updating my computer and can you make things work the way they worked before you improved my life? I would really appreciate it!
Have a great day everyone!