I got a new computer for my birthday
But it is new in all essential respects. Computers don't have many mechanical parts to wear out, so it doesn't look worn. What's new is the operating system and files – the mind and nervous system of the machine.
That's because the OS became corrupted (for no particular reason that anyone could tell me, it just happens) and I had to contact a service representative (in India I believe) who walked me through the process of un-installing and reinstalling the OS and programs.
In the process I lost years worth of collected documents, all correspondence stored on the computer and several programs I use for my work.
But hey, I got a brand new computer and it works great!
OK, I realize I should continuously back up all my files and documents. I really do remember to do this once in a while. But this time I couldn't do it before scrubbing the machine's memory because Windows wouldn't boot up to let me do it.
The service rep had to coach me to do esoteric things like, “Push the Start button while holding the control button down and repeatedly tapping the F11 key as fast as you can.”
How stupid of me not to have known that!
This sort of thing is so common that computer users don't realize that other industries have a name for the phenomenon.
They call it, “defective products.”
A few years back Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft, crowed in public, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon".
In response General Motors issued a press release stating: “If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:
1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to
buy a new car.
3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.
4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
5. Apple would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.
6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.
7.The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.
8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.”
Remember years ago when pundits warned us that computers were going to be Frankenstein monsters that would dehumanize us and turn us into robots?
Didn't happen – instead what happened was that computers became humanized, and I don't like it one bit!
Back in the Mechanical Age, you flipped a switch, pulled a lever or turned a dial, and something either happened or it didn't. If it didn't, the machine was broken and you fixed it or got rid of it.
Now, if you want your computer to do something you can't rely on the same procedure producing the same result twice. Sometimes you just have to say, “Oh please, please, pretty please do this.”
I want my soulless machines back!