Warning: this is a rage against the machine
So the iPad comes out. Guess what? Just as I bought an iPod, the iPod Touch came out. Now, just as I buy the iPod Touch, the iPad comes out.
It’s annoying 'cos I want one, but I just bought one. The wrong one. The old one.
It’s like I just upgraded to Sky HD TV and Virgin Media come out with something better. Or just as I buy a new HDTV, a super thin LED HDTV comes out.
I’m a tech freak but it’s really getting my goat that a new funky gadget comes out every month that’s better and sexier than the one I’ve got.
I can’t keep up with all this stuff and so my first source of tech rage is technoverload – the fact that I’m upgrading, replacing and just dumping good mobiles, laptops, TVs and more far too often.
But technology is disposable today, and it’s cheap, so that’s no bad thing is it.
After all, my attic is now full of more screens, hard drives, wires and jalopy than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s insides in the Terminator movies.
Note to self: must give all old tech to charity.
Even if I have a massive clearout however, there’s my second source of tech rage: computer crashes.
I used to blame my crashes on Vista, and it’s proving really hard to break out of Vista.
For example, after my dreadful early experience, I decided to switch to Apple. But it’s not that easy as the only way to convert to Apple is to get rid of all Microsoft products. In my case, this would mean replacing a desktop, large and small laptop. And don’t say it’s easy, as I tried and failed (long story).
So no can do. Stuck with Microsoft.
Now, that’s no bad thing is it, especially now there’s Windows 7, the saviour of Microsoft and the answer to all our dreams and Vista frustrations.
And yes, it’s better. Anything that improves on the 20 minutes it takes to restart a Vista PC has to be an improvement, and Windows 7 restarts in less than five minutes. So there’s a reason to celebrate?
I can’t believe I’m writing that we should celebrate sub-five-minute turnaround times in 21st century home computing … imagine taking minutes to turn on or restart your phone or TV.
But yes, it’s an improvement.
Then, the other day, for the first time, my Windows 7 PC came out of hibernation mode, and started behaving strangely.
So no big deal. Turn off and restart.
The restart didn’t work well.
I had obviously interrupted some auto update cycle or something else unbeknownst to me that was happening.
Whirr, whirr, jigger, jigger, judder, judder and then success.
But no, it was slow.
Not the superfast responsive Windows 7 PC it had been before.
So I launched Task Manager and found the CPU was 100% loaded … and this continued for about three hours. Then it calmed down.
But this isn’t right.
Three hours of a PC being locked up and nothing you can do about it but wait, with absolutely no idea what it’s doing or why.
And this is a Windows 7 PC?!
What it should be doing is giving me a note: “I’m having to reorganise my knickers, which are in a bit of a twist due to X, Y and Z. This will take about two hours, and really sorry. Bear with us.”
At least then, I might tolerate this whirring, jiggering, juddering operating system, rather than trying to throw the machine against the wall.
And then, to cap it all off, the USB drives have stopped working: “unable to find device driver” pops up each time I plug one in, even though they’re fine on other machines.
Rage against the machine.
So I ring up my technical support guys on 0800 UR BUGGERED, and ask what to do.
He spends an hour on the phone with me and that’s what I’ve been doing all day today so far, fixing a PC.
The calm chap in technical support on the other end of my telephone line proceeds by running a remote Citrix session.
Then he starts to mess with my PC and my head when, after a while, he says: “what’s this ‘ere then?” pointing to my very easy-to-use, very secure Firewall and Antivirus package that I’ve used for years and love to bits.
“It’s my very easy-to-use, very secure Firewall and Antivirus package that I’ve used for years and love to bits”, I tell him.
“Aha. That could be your problem. Let’s uninstall it”, he replies.
“Argh”, I scream. “You can’t do that”, my hair starts falling out. “I’ll have loads of hackers and criminals using my PC as a mule for criminal purposes”, I plead.
“No you won’t”, my friendly agent responds. “You don’t need a firewall if you have a router. The firewall is on the router. And you don’t necessarily need antivirus software if you know what you’re doing but, even if you don’t, there’s plenty of free ones out there.”
So he uninstalls my beloved protection software and reboots the PC.
Instead of half an hour, it reboots in a few minutes.
Then it becomes lightning responsive.
“Wow!” I say. “this is great. But what happens to my firewall and antivirus protections?”
“Don’t worry”, he reassures. “As long as you have the router and, let’s say, Windows Firewall and, if you want, some basic antivirus software, you’re fine.”
“OK”, I say, “but I work with banks. What happens if my accounts are compromised?”
“No problem”, he responds. “Think of your PC like your house. You can protect with a basic burglar alarm – firewall and antivirus at a basic level – or with Alsatians, guns, laser beams and security guards – your protection package you were using. Take your choice.”
So I chose to get rid of my protections and get a usable PC.
Weird but true …