Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dealing with “Updates”

I know that updates to the computer are necessary.  We’re pretty sure the reason the PC crashed when we were living in Delden was because it wasn’t hooked up with Big Brother and ultimately died a lonely, solitary death.  Wasn’t part of the “collective”,  if you know what I mean. 
For those who might be wondering, I’m actually referring to the “Blue Screen of Death”,  with which I’m intimately familiar.

It’s all better now though since, although it took me a little while to figure out what to do,  I ultimately loaded Ubuntu onto a disk,  then loaded it onto the PC,  and it’s once again “viable”.   Of course,  it’s now part of the Linux collective,  but that’s another matter.
Don’t go all ga-ga now and think that I have even the slightest clue when it comes to working with open software,  which is what Linux or Ubuntu is.  I think.  Isn’t it?
All I did was figure out how to get the thing to go onto the internet so I can listen to Q107 if I want to.  Other than that,  running other software is pretty much a mystery,  and I have neither the patience nor brain power to figure out too much more.  And yes,  I’ve read the “Linux for dummies”,  and that snappy magazine that my son-in-law gave me.  It’s all mush.
I like to equate it to learning how to cut hand cut dovetails. 

But I’ll get back to that in a minute. 

Let me just say how frustrating it can be when the stupid computer wants to first of all do some sort of “update”  and then proceeds to remind you every five flippin’ minutes that it needs to “restart” in order for the updates to go into effect.   What’s the big hurry??   Then when I finally give in and figure, OK we’re good to go,  and leave the thing alone to do it’s stupid restart,  (that seems to take just a little longer than I would like)  it proceeds to hang up every single time that I try and open a web browser!  C’mon!  
Finally had to go to the Firefox site and get an update from them,  then we were in fact “good to go”.   I guess that was the problem,  since everything now seems to be working.  The fact is though, I’ll really and truly never know.  Half the time it’s just guess work with me anyway.  
And there’s the other problem with some of these digital wonders. 
Geez,  I’m starting to sound like Andy Rooney.
We never really “know” what’s wrong.  That “Check Engine Light” in your vehicle usually just means,  “Go to the dealer and give them all your money”,  since they mostly don’t know the answer either,  and will just keep trying stuff.   Used to be,  if an engine was running rough or wouldn’t start,  you’d flip off the distributor cap and go,  “Well,  there’s your problem, you need a new set of points,  I can see where they’re all pitted”. 
Note the use of the term,  “see” in this example?   
We can’t “see” anything any more.  We can only guess.  Let’s replace “this” and see if it works.  Oh,  didn’t work?  Well, let’s try another part/program/procedure.  And so on.
Oh,  and that will be “all your money”,  or a new computer.  Thank-you.
I’m sorry.  I’m getting a bit carried away here.  Didn’t mean to. 
Let’s go back to the dovetail analogy now,  shall we? 
See, once upon a time, my previous employer decided it would be a fabulous idea to tie in our school operating systems to a computer interface.  That way,  certain functions could be programmed or controlled from a computer,  either in the Caretaker’s office (if you were lucky enough to have an actual office)  or even remotely from the Board office. 
Sounds like a wonderful idea, yes?
Here’s the thing though.  Not all Caretakers were really all that savvy when it came to computer technology.   I’m trying to be nice here*.  Not only that,  but the system that they introduced wasn’t even anything remotely like what you would run on your home computer.  So even if you DID have a clue,  it didn’t matter.  You had to start from scratch. 
Such clever people.
And yes,  those who were doing the teaching were indeed “clever”.  But that’s the problem,  trying to teach someone how to swim by demonstrating a couple arm movements and then shoving them into the deep end of the pool is not really the most successful way to go about it.  I’d wager that out of 50 novice swimmers,  there’s going to be a few that will quite likely drown.
Never mind the rest who are barely treading water.
But that’s the wrong analogy.
Finally one day,  when one of the '”clever” folks had to come to my school to once again sort out some issue or other,  and proceeded to whip through the steps so fast that there was no possible way I could even begin to understand what he was doing,  I offered to teach him how to make hand cut dovetails.

He thought I was nuts. 

But I said,  “No no,  it’s as strange a concept to you,  as this program is to me'”.   “And here’s the deal….I’ll provide the lumber, chisels,  the mallet,  marking gauge and dovetail saw….every thing you need,  (minus the bench) and we’ll see how you make out.   Then,  after a month or so, having “learned”  all the steps,  I’ll ask you to do it all over again and we’ll see how much you remember”. 
“Think you could do that?”
He didn’t think he could,  but I think he got the idea.

I’m sure it was only a coincidence,  but it wasn’t too long after that,  that new “sessions” were being offered for those who needed to “refresh their knowledge” on the system! 

And thankfully I didn’t even have to teach anyone how to make dovetails!

*Hey,  there were guys who couldn’t even figure out how to operate the mouse!  Seriously!

Oh, and if you click on “mouse”, you will be amused.  Trust me.


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