Monday, November 17, 2008

Crashing down around me...

"If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get one million miles to the gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside." -Robert X Cringely

I really like this quote because it represents a common issue: the desire of the computer to blow up. I am not saying I am alone in this, just that I have been subjected to it often.

I will be the first to admit that computers don't make a whole lot of sense to me. My dad's computer, if you sign in as him, won't let him view anything with flash or embedded files but sign-in under guest and it works just fine. (??!!??)

But it seems odd that something we pay what would be 198 hours at minimum wage to purchase (aka a whole month's work) is allowed to blow up every few years and we don't throw a conniption about it.

For example, my friend KM to whom the laptop comprises one of her top five most cherished possessions is experiencing the implosion of yet another plastic box of microchips. This is at least her second to go since graduating college. Is she mad? Yes. But does she have any recourse? Not really. Computers aren't expected to live that long....

Take my computer experiences. In college, the server at school crashed, corrupting my ipod on which I was storing my thesis as I had stopped trusting computers and refused to save all of my thesis on any computer due to their propensity to crashing. The previous year I had spent many hours at the forensic lab, trying to coerce the tech team to extract the last four years of my life off the now oversized coaster formerly known as my ibook. The tech team told me I was lucky to have gotten four years out of it.

But even my distrust worked against me, as I found myself piecing my thesis together from various files on three different computer hard drives and back-up cds. I have still not finished my thesis book (I also had a broken hand at the time which is a whole separate post) and still have various pieces of thesis floating about my house in the form of zip disks (obsolete), cd's (scratchable), flash drives (very easy to lose) and a monster hard drive (most likely under-utilized because it kind of intimidates me).

My work computer, a hand me down from my boss because my old one was literally older than the amount of time I have been out of college, has suffered from a new hard drive, had two keys replaced, and about once every two months choosing to show me the blue screen of death followed by the black screen of non-commitance. "Maybe I'll turn back on, maybe I won't", the black screen taunts. "Maybe all your files will be gone or maybe I will work fine again for two more months."

This is an upgrade from the previous who was missing three keys, had had its hard drive replaced twice (once after a week of vacation where I didn't use it because I wasn't even there yet I was blamed for its demise), and who wouldn't allow you to use two office applications at the same time without requiring a restart to save what you had done. *General Note: restarts don't actually save the work you have done. You only luck out if it does that back-up save thing. It only took me twice to catch on to this little quirk...*

And now, with two keys missing (do we see a theme?), my personal laptop which I love, is starting to go. I have replaced the hard drive once. I have reformatted. I have even stopped asking it to edit photoshop files and have admitted that using imovie for a little seven minute movie will take days. I only pray that work and home don't go at the same time....I think I am addicted.

No comments: