Time was…. No, that’s a terrible way to start a blog. I remind myself of a small elderly lady driving an ancient, low-mileage Morris Minor wearing a dead fox for a hat. This isn’t going well. I typed “low moleage” there too but hey at least I realised.
Time was (note that I’m persevering anyway) when the most inconvenienced you could be by the technology in your own office was a typewriter ribbon fading or your fountain pen running out.
Both of those things were so easily remedied. Now the capacity for large-scale, operations-paralysing inconvenience has increased vastly. My computer, gateway to the world and beyond, keeps doing its own thing, I know not what.
One of the main reasons for a keyboard, I’d always imagined, is to be able to instruct the computer to deliver what you need. It’s not so much rubbing the lamp, panto-style, to provoke the genie to appear but more a case of typing “Google” to get any question answered to a greater or lesser extent.
The whole point is to instruct and get information quickly. My laptop seems to be developing that deadliest of traits, free will. I wake it up from hibernation and it starts to churn away, sounding awfully busy. I half expect a notice to come up on the frozen screen to say “Look, it’s just not convenient just now. Loads on. Come back in 20 or preferably tomoz?’
I do the Control-Alt-Delete thing and nothing happens. It won’t even tell me what the hell it’s up to. So I check everything that might possibly be updating but all seems to be peacefully dormant – so peacefully dormant that few actually respond to my frantic key-hammering.
So what is it doing, this computer? Ignoring me, that’s what. Refusing to co-operate, pretending to be busy.
Unlike a computational scientist pal who’s regularly thrashing his CPU (don’t ask but he won’t countenance an anger management course) with giga-jillion bytes of data my lap-top gets comparatively light use yet it insists on doing its own thing. This is where the business relationship between us has degenerated into mistress and servant.. but it’s all the wrong way around. By the time the laptop has finished its important business, the battery has run down or it’s time for me to go to work.
It’s the kind of scenario where it’s too tempting to put on my heaviest Brasher boots and stamp it into extinction or burn a flag on it and blast a machine-gun joyfully in the air like they do when they’re celebrating something in the Middle East.
Things came to a head yesterday. I couldn’t put up with the laptop’s obstructive, intractable behaviour any longer. I thought about writing an annoyed letter to my MP but in the end, I did a disk clean-up. It seems to have restored our professional yet amicable mistress-servant relationship.
Great. Now my pen has run out.