I am a tool

My computer is using me.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that, rather than it being one of the tools of my trade, it’s actually the other way round: I exist primarily to service the computer. I swear, it’s up to something, and, Borg-like, it’s using me to further its evil & mysterious purposes.

I used to have hair. Tore it out 4 updates ago.

Yesterday, once again, I spent the lion’s share of my morning not working (as I needed to do) or checking emails from my publisher, but rather in miserable servitude to the computer’s  seemingly endless series of “urgent” updates.

The Windows update, the Adobe Acrobat update, the evil wuauclt.exe update, the update of the various updates that update after the other updates have updated, just in case there’s anything they missed while you were re-restarting your computer for the seventeenth time since you poured your first coffee and hit “Update.”

(As I mentioned in a previous post, it is pointless NOT to hit “update” because your computer will just start the update on its own, then restart on its own, and destroy all your documents just to show you who is really in charge here.)

I am gobsmacked to report that there is now a 90-minute period each morning during which all I do (aside from taking a quick shower and crying like an infant)  is update and restart the bloody computer. Emails will not open, screens will not scroll down. Nothing happens while The Master is “updating.”

To me this is like getting up in the morning, sitting down with the paper & then being interrupted by an insistent knock at the door to find the plumber standing outside with an urgent need to re-do your plumbing, NOW.

So you forego your shower, your coffee, and water for the cat while the plumber bangs & smashes & “updates” your plumbing, occasionally breaking off to ask you to hand him a wrench or go get him a hot beverage. And then, as he leaves, he says cheerfully, “Hurray! We’re done! Now you’ll just need to replace all your drywall. Replace now? Y/N?”

And then just as you replace the last hunk of drywall, the electrician pops by to do an urgent update of your wiring, since of course any update to the plumbing means the wiring might have been affected. God forbid.

And then of course because his updates might have touched the new plumbing somehow, the plumber comes back and demands that he be let back into inspect and of course do another detailed “update” of the plumbing. And just as you’re putting your drywall back up for the third time, who should pop by but the building inspector?

And on and on it bloody goes until (like me) you are crumpled in a weeping heap over a computer that is just merrily churning and chugging away, and intermittently demanding that you restart it for all of its mighty updates to take effect.

Resistance is futile. Update or die.

The last time I wrote about this, I reported that our computers at the Orifice were unaffected by this merry circus of update-restart-update. But of course, I spoke too soon — I and my colleagues now regularly receive urgent pop-ups saying “Your Flash player needs to be updated” (“Flash” being the program that allows you to see old men in trenchcoats on YouTube).

So now instead of doing work at the Orifice, I spend half an hour each day on the phone with the I.T. department as they perform the day’s update for me — lowly peons like us are not deemed trustworthy enough to install them on our own.

It’s a crap use of their time (they update every computer in the building on a given “update day,” one by one, as weary workers phone in) and a crap use of my time. When I was younger I would have welcomed a chance to drink coffee, put my feet on the desk and read the paper while being paid for it, but now there are Things To Do. Like updates, apparently.

Same goes for my home office; I have better things to do than spend an hour and a half each morning in servitude to a machine that should be making my life easier. There has to be a better way, doesn’t there? Anyone?

Meanwhile, I may have to become a night person, or work at the local public library (provided the homeless people will let me onto the free computers there), and leave my computer to update itself all morning, every morning, in my absence.

It goes without saying that Bill Gates can go … update… himself.

Smiter out.

My new Updater.


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