Thursday, May 23, 2013

Up Yours, Updates!

Nothing worse than festering electrons!

Before the advent of computers writing was more physical. Chiseling rock all day was strenuous. Okay, so I’m not quite that old, but let’s just say I used an old, manual Underwood long enough that I had muscular fingers. Those were the days when a typo at the bottom of a page intended for submission was enough to send me into fits of wailing.

While word processing with a computer is a snap, getting the finished product out takes about the same amount of time. Why? Because computers - bless their little mother boards - are even more maintenance intensive than my old paper banger, Woody. (That’s right, I named my typewriter. I call the computer various names, too, but none are fit for public consumption.)  All Woody ever needed was an occasional ribbon change and a few licks with a toothbrush to the typebars, and we were ready to resume action. Not so with a computer. 

Computers are needy. Well, maybe not the actual computer so much, but the operating systems and software they run require more attention and primping than Honey Boo Boo after losing a pulled pork food fight. Basically, the operating system on your average computer is the equivalent of a bad lung - it’s just waiting to get knocked out by a virus. The only way to prevent virus infections is to install anti-virus software in addition to any other programs being used.

No such thing as a casual, or non-critical, issue.

The first law of computer programs states: All software is obsolete the moment it is loaded onto the computer. Life becomes a perpetual series of updates the moment a computer is turned on. 

My anti-virus program takes updating very seriously. Warnings highlighted with red appear anytime I slack off on my updating duties for more than a day. Dire warnings, bordering on outright threats, appear randomly. I could skip all the drama and just let the program update automatically, but the process of installing the updates unexpectedly disrupts whatever else might be going on. Instead, I choose when to update. It’s a simple affair of clicking on “Update Now,” and then brewing a pot of coffee, changing the oil in the truck, splitting a few cords of firewood, maybe re-roofing the house and then checking back in to see if the process is finished. It never is.

Being a slave to the Evil Empire (Microsoft) means there will always be an “important” update waiting to be downloaded. I sometimes wonder if the programmers at Microsoft have an update quota. 

Of course there are updates, it's been a whole day.
“Higgins, you’ve only gotten sixty updates out this week. You’re behind on your quota by forty. What’s the problem?”

“Good news, boss. That last update I wrote finally fixed all the security issues and made the program as stable as a rock. It is completely bullet-proof.” 

“That’s no excuse. I want some code, and I want it now! It doesn’t have to actually do anything for Pete’s sake. Hell, it can even crash the machine for all I care. In fact, the crashing thing is a good idea. It’ll give us something to do next week.”

That's nice... I run Office 2007.

I have rarely noticed a difference in performance after updating my MS Office software, and in those instances the software cratered totally. Internet Explorer updates resulted in so many headaches I switched browsers. But the ultimate update I’ve received are the two “service packs” for MS Office 2003… all 200 mega-bytes of download. There is undoubtedly some important stuff there; things that are vital to adequate security and necessary for stable operation. The thing is, I’ve never used Office 2003 on this computer, I’ve always had Office 2007.

Higgins! Knock it off!



    1. Sorry, Kit. Tried Macs, don't like 'em, AT ALL. :-(

  2. I am in complete agreement with you. Updating is a very serious and constant business on my computer too. We have had two trips to have computers fixed by professionals this month. Yuck! Oh, I'm your newest follower!
    Justin Knight- Writing Pad Dad
    Writing Pad Dad Blog

    1. Hi Justin. Been following your blog, Writing Pad Dad, for awhile. Thanks for following.

    2. Thanks for being a follower of mine! I appreciate that!