All through life I have had a superficial low self-esteem issue. Now, I hasten to clarify that this is not something that is a constant worriment to me. Coping with one’s inadequacies, perceived or real, is probably something all of us non-narcissists deal with from time to time.
So today I am sitting at my desk and before me are three computers. Mind you, I have had a computer in my face since around the year 1984 so it is not something that has suddenly become part of my life. Here’s my current list: one hp desktop running on Windows 7; one iMac running on something called OS X Yosemite; and the recently-arrived hp Pavilion Laptop locked and loaded with Windows 10. Yes, I know, it is insane and I’ve let it get out of control, thus adding to my self-esteem thingie because…
One thing I have definitely learned from computers is that they are the KING of making one feel inadequate, unworthy, stupid and ill-prepared for 21st Century living. Previously, I always thought people suffered from these kinds of negatives because they had been the victim of such things as a poor education, a dysfunctional childhood, unsatisfactory (or should I say unsatisfying?) performance in bed (not that that is a problem for me, of course) and the ultimate male American insult: driving a wimpy automobile.
My computers are quite like children. Each has its own personality and tendencies. Each is prone to act out at the most inconvenient time and, yes, I do fear a conspiracy among them. I am convinced that when I am not present they do, indeed, converse with each with the distinct purpose of developing innovative ways to disrupt my life.
Frustration is the keyword here and lately it’s the only tag that applies to my self-searching engine that is prone to suggest a YouTube tutorial anytime I even think about asking for help. And help is what I usually need when I place fingertips upon keyboard and carpel-tunneled wrist well arched at a painful angle upon the mouse. Such are the sacrifices I make as I journey blindly into the arena of contemporary desktop manhood.
What disturbs me most about computers is their propensity for constant change. Just as I got used to Windows Xp, Windows 7 replaced it only to be followed within short order by some wretched ill-conceived entity called “Vista.” Even Bill Gates should hide his head in shame over the latter. Windows 8 came next and now we are controlled by the new and supposedly dazzling Windows 10. My iMac, which will soon be a year old, is already nagging me to upgrade its operation system to OS X El Capitan. At least Apple comes up with creative names for its debacles.
There are two primary frustrations I have about the PC and Apple love affair with constant change: First, it takes me time to learn procedures and methodology. Once I finally get it, I don’t necessary want it changed. Windows insists on changing it…and the changes are often anything but subtle. Windows takes great pride in moving things around, especially functions on which you regularly rely and have become accustomed to their precise location. I spent over twenty minutes the other day trying to find the icon for text-wrapping. It has occupied the same parking space on one of the bars at the top of Microsoft Word for years. But now it comes and goes and even changes location, depending what other new icon has moved into the neighborhood and whether or not you have clicked on it.
These kinds of changes are like getting used to knowing that a red light at an intersection means stop and wait until it turns green before you may proceed. If Microsoft ran our roadway systems they would constantly be changing the color of the light and what each color meant. Perhaps that’s how the term “crash” originated when computers began having breakdowns.
Meanwhile, over on the Apple side, I have been lectured for years by its advocates that Macs are so user-friendly and intuitive. I have come to despise this later description of my iMac. It is anything but intuitive. True, I need to watch some more tutorials to figure out how to do some basic functions, like developing a rational filing system…but then if it were so damn intuitive, why do I need to watch tutorials?
And now comes the new laptop with Windows 10. We spent our first half-day together attempting to get my two e-mail addresses up and coming. I know my one address is ancient and BellSouth doesn’t even exist anymore. So an e-mail with a BellSouth component isn’t always the easiest to set up. I happen to know by now that it is best set up manually. In fact, I have screen shots of all the major settings and exactly what and where they go. Every windows system before Windows 10 will automatically ask if you want to set up your e-mail manually. But not Windows 10. It insists on doing it itself. Well, it took itself three sessions, each lasting about half an hour and then aborting the attempt to set up my mail. I can do it manually…the trouble is, Windows 10 has too much pride; it doesn’t offer that option. So now I probably have to spend another half day trying to figure out how to work around it.
I know you can’t go home again and having your cheese moved is all part of living in today’s world. But once, just once, I wish change would remain…unchanged.