Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lost in My Vista

Back in the caveman days when I took “computer programming” in high school, it was considered a peripheral elective and I remember finding everything I learned in the one credit course to be utterly baffling. I could do the Start:Msdos: If A=(10-1) Then stuff that made the screen flash a message after two minutes but I had no idea why this was useful other than when the kids who got it rigged a program to flash a screen thirty minutes into a very dull lecture by Sr. T as she was known but not to her face, “God calling Sr. T, come in Sr. T.” It was sophomoric humor at its finest, but then we were sophomores.

For a time, I kept pace with the machines. Back in the 90’s, I even installed a modem to allow for faster internet access, something my husband considered an unnecessary luxury. We added a new sound blaster so we could better play “Masters of Orion,” and gradually added more memory chips, feeling rather like mechanics as we would unscrew the back of the case and insert chips. Our high water mark was the attempt to install a new processor, only to learn that SX at the end of a computer model meant the chips was unmovable. I would have preferred to discover this fact before we had removed the casing and unplugged multiple memory chips as part of the pre-op to installation.

The planned obsolescence in technology is nothing new. 8-tracks gave way to tapes which gave way to CD’s. Floppies became 3 ½ inch disc, became zip drives and usb ports and cd’s. Somewhere inbetween Dial up and DSL and Broadband and Wireless, I got left behind.

It seems every day, my computer needs some sort of upgrade though I haven’t the foggiest idea what the machine is tinkering with as it tells me very politely but emphatically not to shut down as it makes corrections. Maybe if the language used by the computer were more user friendly…like, “If you run this program, the entire system will self destruct.” Installing updates for programs so often, I have to wonder, what exactly are we fixing? Do I have a choice? It feels like I’m being given medication prescriptions without a diagnosis. The machine seemed happy and working before and seems no different now.

Now my brother lives and thrives by his management of computers. He can get all these things and bypass stuff. He gets binary code. I wonder why I’d want to. For a time, I viewed techies as the modern day equivalent of Mideval alchemists, hording secret knowledge, sometimes not entirely accurate or valuable and able to live well off the general public’s ignorance.

Having chalked up my 100$ for the restoration of my computer from a virus and preservation of all my documents, I feel a chastened awe at this profession, if only because I’d hate to lose all the stuff over the years I’ve written. My lappie is back in my possession and working. I don’t know what they did and I frankly don’t care. So I’m guessing I’m just like one of those peasants, that ignorance in this case really is bliss. The alchemists said their incantations and my machine got better so it must have been because of them.

Content to remain steeped in my ignorance, I will now begin crafting words once again and hope that the pumpkins I carved and put on the doorstep, ward off the evil spirits but I’ve uploaded a new security virus scanning program and installed a back up hard drive, just in case.

1 comment:

MightyMom said...

just don't forget to update that virus protection every other day....and "this may take a few minutes to several hours"

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!