Saturday, February 13, 2016

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do


I’ve finally separated from the mainstay in my life after a decade. It was a good run and lasted longer than anyone expected.



My “ex” is Windows XP. I loved that operating system. My Dell was reliable, we understood each other. It knew the intimate details of my life. It supported my writing. It was always there when I needed it. It was patient and taught me a lot about its inner workings.

As it aged, my better half got temperamental. It became slow, no matter how much I prodded and pleaded. It stubbornly locked up on me at inopportune times. It got unsociable, refusing to communicate with other PCs. The final straw was when Microsoft decided not to support XP anymore. I felt like the bottom fell out of my world. Damn you, Bill Gates!

After careful research, I ordered a new Dell. Not Windows 8, I’d heard horror stories. Windows 7 was more my speed. It was delivered and the box sat there for nearly a year. I couldn’t do it. I was still loyal to my old computer, even though it seemed to be getting Alzheimer’s.  

I know my idea that a computer should last a lifetime is unrealistic. But, when you’ve invested your life, thoughts and career into those wires and microchips, you expect loyalty in return. My computer knows more about me than my parents or my lovers. I have confided in this piece of equipment and it has been faithful.

You never forget your first computer. I’d had affairs with office computers, learned by trial and error and always had experts on-call for problem solving. I bought my own personal computer in 1997, a huge, black Toshiba. It cost me $2,000 and I made payments for a year. The Internet was still in the infancy stage and dial-up was easier to access at 3 a.m.  Toby was hard to part with, but it couldn’t keep up with the times, which were a-changing.

The next one was a cast-off of my sisters, some off-brand. It was a difficult relationship right from the start. I was almost glad when it died, although it happened right in the middle of getting a novel to the publisher. I quickly had to order a new one without knowing much about what I wanted. It cost $800. Now it was time for an upgrade.

I opened the box on New Years to fulfill my resolution to stop procrastinating. There were no operating instructions and an Office program didn’t come with it. I still have to get speakers, although I question why every computer can’t come with ones when even my Surface has sound. The tutorials are worthless without sound. It’s been trial and error as I’ve had to deal with this younger and faster PC. Often I chide myself that I’m too old for this nonsense.      

We’re working out our differences. I lost email addresses, but I’m building my contacts back up. The more expedient features don’t seem as easy as my XP. This young computer plays hide-and-seek with my documents. It asks questions I’m not prepared to answer. The icons are different or missing. I long for the familiarity and comradeship of my former PC. We’d been through two novels and countless blogs together.

Then I remembered—I wrote my first book on a Brother electric typewriter. We thought Wite-Out (invented by one of the Monkees’ mothers) was the best invention ever. When word processers came on the scene, it was a revolution. I adjusted to progress so easily back then.

This is a new millennium and the world is changing, perhaps too quickly for my comfort. I need to adapt to survive. That’s what evolution is all about. But, I still pray that this will be my last relationship. If breaking up is hard to do, starting over is just as difficult.


10 comments:

Karen Corum said...

I commiserate fully with you. I worked on PCs forever but after losing my third to a virus just two years after I bought it, I was done. I went to Apple and have never looked back. That's not to say I don't have my own challenges in the world of Steve Jobs but adapt and overcome is the right philosophy.

G. B. Miller said...

To be honest, your main worry should now be Microsoft force feeding you Windows 10. From what I've read in tech mags/websites, they have a plan in which to introduce Windows 10 as an automatic upload. I have a Windows 7, and I changed my Updates from automatic to manual, because I do not want Windows 10. My 7 will probably be the last Microsoft O/S computer that I'll own, and will probably turn into a writing only computer, just like I did with my XP two years ago. I disconnected the internet from it, and use it exclusively for writing.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm going to have to get a new system soon. Not looking forward to it.

Liane Spicer said...

I agree with GB Miller. I got a Dell with Windows 7 two years ago and I'm hoping it lasts a long time--now that I've adapted to it. Every time I restart they're trying to force Windows 10 on me. If they make it an automatic update I swear I'm crossing over and going Apple.

Yes XP was BOSS! If it ain't broke don't fix it, I say, but Gates won't listen to my pleas.

Liane Spicer said...

Oh, and GB thanks for the heads up. I'll switch to manual updates as well, BUT when I don't update they keep telling me my OS might be counterfeit and they turn my desktop black until I give in and update... So I don't know how that will work out. Infuriating!!!!!!!

Che Gilson said...

My laptop is old and I'll need a new one soon. So I guess I'll HAVE to get used to a new one. But I'm not very happy about it. I don'y know why they can't figure out that people can't adapt to the changes so quickly. That or we are all getting to be dinosaurs...

Pat's page said...

Love your commentary Sunny! I really liked XP too.

Gloria Getman said...

Did your old XP computer have speakers? You should be able to hook them to the new computer. I loaded my old programs to my Windows 7 computer. Only 2 of the old ones wouldn't work. I still have my XP computer hooked up, off line, next to the new one. And I still use it once in a while, but it is so slow compared to the newer one.

Jewel Amethyst said...

I feel your pain Sunny. I loved XP, but they forced me to get a divorce from it quite a few years ago when my laptop pretty much fell apart (literally- the keys dropped out).

I just got accustomed to windows 7 when they began forcing upgrades to windows 10. I was stubborn as a mule, but I swear those blood suckers find a way to slow your computer to a crawl even when you reformat your system. Every few days I get a pop-up about upgrading to windows 10.

Finally that computer became too slow even for me. It took 3 seconds after typing a letter for it to show up on the screen. It locked up on my power point presentations, the life line of a college professor.

My husband heard my cry, had pity on me and bought me a new laptop for Christmas. The operating system? Windows 10.

I was afraid at first, but you know what? I love it. It is easier than XP and Windows 7 (sometimes so easy I overlook what's right in front of me). The transition was simple. Now I'm in love with this new operating system.

So sometimes you find love after divorce or widowhood...computer OS love that is.

Augie said...

Sunny, what a hilarious post. I never got use to XP, always Windows. My Dell and I have been friends for a while. of course he gets a little tired, but I give it to my son and he does some hokey pokey, Houdini stuff on it, and all is well. I wouldn't trade my Dell over my Surface or HP. I just love him. Enough of this. I keep pushing those ads for free-update to 10 away. I had enough problems with 7 on another computer. Maybe I'm dinosauring out...who knew