Sunday, February 23, 2014

Simple Man

I’ll start with the good news, shall I? The good news is, wait for it… I finally bought a new laptop! And the bad news? That’s right, I finally bought a new laptop…

Having sworn never to buy another Acer Aspire in Media Markt after my dismal experience with the previous one (a long story), I found myself buying yet another Acer Aspire in Media Markt. The salesman told me it was the best laptop in the world, a bargain at ten times the price, and ideal for busy no-nonsense professionals like myself. He also wondered whether I might be interested in an extended guarantee for just 80 euros, and could I sign here, please?

Put simply, insofar as anything to do with computers can ever be simple, buying a new laptop means having to perform the following tasks before you can actually do anything with it:

1. Install all the useful programs that you will need for the next five years or so.
2. Uninstall all the useless programs, accessories, icons, links and games that came preinstalled with the laptop, and which nobody in their right mind would ever dream of using unless they were seriously bored.

Number 1 is a piece of cake:

Number 2, however, is, to use the technical term, “a right bugger”. That said, I got there eventually once I discovered a wonderful right-button “Delete this crap?” option:

Much better, don’t you think? But then the real fun and games begin…

Just  because you appear to have successfully uninstalled, eliminated, erased, deleted, wiped and hidden all those useless b—, er, bells and whistles, that doesn’t necessarily mean your computer will let you forget your crimes…

- What did you do to your desktop?!
- I deleted all the useless stuff.
- Don’t you want to know what the temperature is in Moscow?
- No.
- And what about Miley Cyrus’ tweets?
- Who?
- Philistine!
- I’ll live with it…

- Would you like to create a back-up of all your files before you lose everything?
- Oh yes please. Thank you very much.
- Please follow the onscreen instructions to register your software.
- Come again?
- Are you deaf? Look, do you want to save your life’s work or don’t you?
- I’ll think about it, ok?
- Suit yourself…

- Welcome to Acer! The most exciting online club in the world!
- Wow!
- Yeah, that’s what we say. Wow!
- Well, if you’ll excuse me, I just want to check my mail.
- Would you like to receive exciting offers from us every three minutes?
- I’ll give it a miss if it’s all the same to you.
- You’ll regret this.
- I don’t doubt it…

On the plus side, thanks to the wonders of Windows 8.1, my laptop now only takes about 30 seconds to boot up, as opposed to all my previous computers which clocked in at nearer 30 minutes. Alas, on the negative side, and there is always a negative side when a computer is involved, the ‘critical’ system updates continue to prostitute themselves at every street corner and window:

And here’s a rough translation:

"We’re about to install 39,000 useless files disguised as 'critical updates', ha ha!, and there’s not much you can do about it, sunshine. We suggest you go put the kettle on… Oh, hang on a minute, you don’t have kettles in Spain, do you? Well, whatever, go and find something more useful to do than reading this codswallop, ok?"

Why is life so complicated?!

Colin looked around the staffroom. One of his considerate colleagues had turned off all the computers. The general rule of thumb was very simple: “On leaving the staffroom, please switch off all the PCs if you know that Colleague X will be needing one. By the same token, if you know that Colleague X will not be needing a PC, please leave them all on – or switch them all on again just for the hell of it – so that Colleague X has to switch them all off again; where Colleague X equals Colin.” Colin was always Colleague X; today he needed a PC; someone had therefore switched them all off. ABC. Always Bugger Colin.

                dayrealing, Chapter 33, “Kill The Director”
Mick pressed the dreaded button and braced himself. What delights would his beloved PC hold in store for him today? A prompt to install Service Pack 21? An invitation to upgrade to Media Player 49? A reminder that his yearly anti-virus subscription would expire in 11 months’ time?
He knew the routine well by now for, regardless of  program, the procedure was always the same:
Install? OK – Leave for later.
Leave for later.
Leave for later? Yes – No.
Yes, install or Yes, leave for later? Accept – Cancel.
Proceed with installation? OK – Leave for later.
You heard me! I want to speak to the Manager!
That usually fixed it, and Mick was now ready to do battle with “The Beast”. Whilst no two mornings were ever the same – perish the thought that he should be in control of his life – today’s inbox was fairly representative of his daily challenges. Namely:
  • ten mails asking after a critical report;
  • seven messages to ring Mr. Jones urgently;
  • four requests to hold a team meeting immediately;
  • and one silly story about a man who hated computers.
The reports, calls and meetings could wait. This one was vital.
 fifty shades of Spain, 7, "Start Me Up"

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