Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Computer Frustration...

There's nothing more infuriating than a computer that doesn't work.

We expect them to work. They're man-made machines, completely user controlled with no minds of their own and yet...somehow...we assign a mind to them anyway.

Take me, tonight, for example. I've been in awe of quite how quickly the evenings go by. For me, they're increments of time: Time to exercise, time to make dinner, time to relax/watch TV, time to be productive. By the time the evening is done, I'm still going to bed later than planned, not sure how, in the short hours between work and sleep, I was really supposed to relax.

Tonight, I seemed to have time. I made a nice dinner- shitake mushroom in white wine sauce with spaghetti- and still had time to relax. Just as I was about to turn on another episode of "Worst Cooks in America," I remembered that I needed to scan my new health insurance card and email it to the nurse in my doctor's office. No big new printer is a printer/scanner/copier all in one.

Except, it seems, just like with anything electronic, nothing is ever simple. It turns out that I need a special software program to scan. I thought I'd installed it. After all, when I installed my new printer, it took no less than two hours to install everything to get it set up. Turns out that in the two hours, it never installed the software needed to scan. So, tonight, I inserted the CD ROM that came with the printer. I'm not joking, it took almost 30 minutes for the disk to finally stop churning, to stop telling me it was 'scanning my system' before it just...froze. I was infuriated.

At the same time, I had also wanted to watch a TV download that I'd bought on iTunes. Once upon a time, I was a naughty Monkeypants who used to download things for free. These days, I only do that when I have to because a) I'm worried about getting caught, b) iTunes has made music affordable and, c) It takes WAY too long with my crappy internet provider to download a file illegally.

So, when I told iTunes I wanted to buy the file, it said "You need to download a new version of iTunes first." Well, honestly, I think I did that last week but because it's iTunes, I wouldn't have been surprised if they'd told me there was a new version five minutes after I'd downloaded the last NEW version. So I finally said "Ok, whatever, give me the new iTunes." Well, it's now been a good 30 minutes and it's still downloading Safari, the Apple Web Browser. Ironically, I didn't WANT to download Safari but iTunes decided I needed it. Thus, even thugh I tried to skip that part, it's now been 35 minutes and iTunes is only 50 percent downloaded. What do you want to bet they tell me to restart my system when I'm done?

Thus, basically, the moral of the story is that though computers have no real brain nor do they have a free will, a soul, body or mind, they still manage to govern our lives. It doesn't matter if they're in cell phone format, laptop format, iPod format....computers govern us.

To illustrate my point, for the last 20 minutes, I've been attempting to download the software to make my scanner actually scan. It just stopped at told me I was running Windows in Safe Mode and thus it could not continue. I am NOT running Windows in Safe Mode. It's perfectly normal....or as perfectly normal as Windows gets. It now means that I am unable to get my scanner to scan. Which means that I can't get my insurance card to my nurse. This means tomorrow at work, I'll have to run around like a chicken, trying to find someone who has their computer set up to accept copy machine scans. I used to have this capability but since we moved offices, that went out the window. It also doesn't help that our tech support person tends to pretend I don't exist and conveniently forgets whenever I ask him for assistance. He's done this more than three times now. I don't think it's coincidence.

So, essentially, tonight is one of those nights in which I've wasted at least an hour of my life trying to be productive but failing miserably. I wanted to get my productive stuff done, then relax with an episode of online TV. Instead, I've now been trying to get my computer to run something, anything for a very long time. I'm very frustrated.

I suppose what I really want is the pipe dream: that a computer work when I expect it to without argument. I know...nothing is ever simple. Yet, therein lies the rub....why CAN'T anything be simple? Why can't my computer do what I tell it instead of making me wait 30-60 minutes to find out that it's really been stringing me along?

I don't know but I'm going to find out. The hardest part about knowing something about computers it that you can't really call anyone to help. I've done enough tech support that I know why my computer hates me....and I know enough to know that it doesn't really hate me...I just feel like it does.

I suppose it's the same for anyone in a profession...when you're qualified to answer your own questions, you're a little screwed if you get stuck. Of course, you could ask someone else's opinion but there's that little matter of pride in which you really have to suck it up to ask someone else to figure out what's wrong when you can't help but think you should be able to figure it out yourself.

I admit, I've done that before- asked for computer help. It's resulted in someone sitting at my computer, trying everything I tried and then finally declaring they don't know what's wrong. It's not that I'm that's just that I know enough to try the common fixes and even enough to try the intermediate ones. When they don't work, I get a little flummoxed. Usually, it's something that takes time to figure out.

Thus, I really just need to learn to be patient and not yell at my computer like it can actually hear me. It can't...I know this. If it could, I'm certain it would probably electrocute me while laughing and say, "That's what you get for calling me a piece of crap!"

And yes, I have called my computer a piece of crap and, uh, stronger insults within it's range of hearing. Thus, I'm not horribly surprised that it's trying to spite me by not doing what I want. It's only normal I suppose. Except as I said, a computer can't think...right?

Oh, I hope not. Otherwise...we're in trouble.

Happy Thursday!


Fe said...

Oh no. I feel your computer frustration pain... especially with iTunes. The problem isn't that the computer has no brain and yet it governs us... it's that programmers program these applications with this perception that they know what's better for you, and that you really do want Safari. Also, since it's Apple, maybe they could care less whether or not it takes longer to deal with iTunes on a PC. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they slowed down the setup on a PC as an attempt to show superiority of their OS. Maybe I'm wrong, but it sure feels like it sometimes.

Anyway... Happy National Squirrel Appreciation Day! :)

Captain Monkeypants said...

Thanks, Fe....I'm glad it's not just me. I also think Apple does it on purpose. They do think they're superior so I rather like your theory if they deliberately made their programs run badly on a PC, just to make themselves look good.

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day to you too!