I’m a cranky old luddite

Fridays are supposed to be nice, easy, laid back days.  Most of my Fridays are like that, thankfully.  However, today was quite the opposite.

Work ran really late and it was hot out.  Really hot out.  It was an eleven hour day and by the end I felt like half a cave man, stubble thickening on my jaw, sticky with sweat, so hungry I was ready to beat something to death and so agitated that seemed preferable to stopping at McDonalds.  I was a fucking monster, angry at the world, smelly, and frustrated.

As a little gift to myself, I decided to spend a bit of the work bonus I got this month on a new laptop.  My good laptop died last year and I’ve been making do with one of my old netbooks that hasn’t quite died yet.  I was thinking, hey, it’s Friday, work sucked, I deserve a little something nice and I have the cash.

To preface my trip to Best Buy, I should mention that I have limited patience for technology.  It some ways, technology is fantastic and makes life easier.  However, I have zero patience for anything beyond the most practical.  When it makes what I want to do easier it’s great, if it is anything beyond that it’s ridiculous.  I’m the old man on the porch yelling at the kids, “Why do you have tablets?  They don’t even have a keyboard?  Get a laptop!”

For further evidence, I fucking hate smartphones.  I’m about 95% sure they’re ruining society.  Up until two years ago I still had a camera flip phone and was perfectly happy with it.  Do I need access to the internet 24/7?  No.  Do I need to check my email every hour?  No.  Can I wait until I get home to Google the answer to the question that’s been bugging me?  Absolutely.  I had a smartphone issued by work that was purely for work calls and emails, I didn’t need one for myself.  I only grudgingly updated to a smartphone when Cat moved overseas so I could download an app to text with her and the kiddo.  It still rankles and I hardly ever use my smartphone.

If whatever piece of technology I’m using works, I keep using it.  I don’t upgrade anything for years, until it’s literally falling apart, and by then I’m so out of date that I can’t understand whatever technology is current.  The good laptop that died was five years old, that’s Jurassic by technological measurements.

So, me going into Best Buy is like an old blue collar worker going into a modern art exhibit at the museum,  “I don’t know what that is but I don’t like it.”

I went in with a simple request, a small laptop that can run Microsoft Office for some work stuff.  There are about a dozen programs that I use regularly, but it was safe to assume that most laptops could handle those.  I’m simple, I know what I like and it isn’t much.  I use Scrivener for writing, paint for drawing, and Dropbox for backing up files.  Mostly the laptop was for a few work things, email, and internet.  Nothing fancy.

This should have been a simple request.  The salesman pointed me toward the “archaic” section in the back with a big bargain sign hanging over it.  The rest of the big, well lit store was covered in bright colors and advertisements for the various tablet/pad/computer combos.  These combos confused me, why would someone want to touch the screen of their computer?  Angry birds?  Isn’t that what phones are for?  It’s all blended together into into some amalgamation that seems less practical than having separate devices that are specialized for their unique purpose.

Even in the “Fantastically Old” section half the laptops had touchscreens.  Why?  What is the purpose of this “feature”?  I just want a screen, a keyboard, and a touch pad.  Is that so much to ask?

I found the least offensive laptop of the bunch.  Yes, it has a touchscreen, I very much look forward to never using it.

I scurried out of the store, worried that at any moment the technophiles would realize they’d been infiltrated.

At home I turned on my new purchase and got ready for the lengthy set up.

At the second screen it popped up a window saying “Your AppStore account has been set up.  Downloading new apps.”

What?  When the fuck did I say I wanted apps?  99.99% of them a stupid games that pop up adds every five seconds or want access to my wallet.  Time and money wasters.  If I wanted apps I’d have just upgraded my smartphone, gasp.

Can I uninstall the appstore?  Or is that like a mutated venereal disease version of iTunes?  Do they have a cream for it?

Worse, if finally completes all it’s updates and this screen comes up:

What the fuck is this?  Where’s my desktop?  Did Candy Land just shit on my computer?

These things don’t even come with user manuals anymore.  Technology is supposed to make life easier, be practical and efficient, but now I’m going to have to fucking find a YouTube video to figure out how the hell to get this screen to go away.

At this point I would get more satisfaction from a legal pad and a bottle of wine.

Happy Friday, I’m off to the liquor store.

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17 thoughts on “I’m a cranky old luddite

  1. I am with you my friend on the laptop. Mine is 4 years old and the thought of upgrading makes me shudder. As for the smartphone – I love mine. It’s my office on the go. You are smart, you will figure it out. It’s just your resistance to change rearing it’s head.

    • I suppose the problem that I have with smartphones has more to do with people than the technology itself. When I’m out and see two people sitting at a table together, both on their phones, or mothers playing games on their phone while their kid plays on the playground, etc. There’s a practical side to smartphones that’s undeniable, it’s just the impractical ways they get used (and the addiction to them) that drives me nuts.

      As for the rest, I’ll figure it out. I just wanted to rant a bit first. 😛

  2. Technology and I have a fairly good relationship, but I’m with you – I HATE the way the new desktops look. I don’t want to click picture buttons; I want to open a network path, READ my goddamn options, and pick what I need. Fortunately, you can go back to the old format, but I had to commission my husband to do it for me.

    • With you all the way. I had to find a YouTube video to figure out how to get out of that screen. Then I had to spend another hour uninstalled all the programs they included that I didn’t want.

  3. I had to buy a new laptop a year or so ago, having used the one my ex-husband’s parents bought for X-mas for like 7 years. I tried to get one that was basically just the same. I’m technologically an idiot. I can run Microsoft office like a boss, and I email, WordPress, and that’s it. I do have a Smartphone and love it, but I freaked out when my laptop looked like the picture above when I installed it. WHat the fucking fuck is this? Why? Where is my stuff? I’m used to having my icons in the exact same place they always were and I fear change. I could not figure out how to get those to appear when I needed them because I wasn’t doing the hover over the right side of the screen thing right. I couldn’t get my work email to work because of the compatibility mode or some shit. I walked my laptop over to my sister’s house like 3 times in one night with a pathetic look and a “fix it.” I’m used to it now, but it was a huge adjustment. I’m with you on the touchscreens…I specifically sought one out that did not have one (ordered mine online) because I do not want fingerprints all over my damn screen.

    • I’m really not a fan of Windows, especially in its newest iterations. They keep changing big things, I have to relearn each edition. If I didn’t need the Office programs for work stuff I’d be looking for an alternative.

  4. Love the Candy Land thought…..hahahahaha! My computer is SO old that the pic you took did look like Candy Land (by the way, best kids game ever). I was just telling a client today as I was trying to get a computer to work: “Part of me wishes we still lived in the 1950s so I didn’t have to deal with all the technology.” I also was one of the last with a flip phone…I got to where I knew it was so ancient that I would get it out and just keep it to my side….kind of like I had drugs cause I didn’t want to get any weird looks. The smartphone I’ve had now is like 4 yrs old and I need to update but have no desire to do so…I only use it for instagram and facebook and my data is so low that I can only have one of those apps on at a time so I have to delete one app to give me more storage, do what i need to do, and then delete it again….ok….just rambled on way too long cause of the glass of wine I’ve had….enjoy your new computer!

    • I’m trying to enjoy it, once I figure out how to get anything to work! 😛 I’m starting to empathize with Stephen King who, supposedly, writes all his novels on those yellow legal pads. I can appreciate the simplicity. There’s no learning curve to a pen and paper. 🙂

  5. I’ve worked in digital for 15 years, so I’m ok on both operating systems, but I’ve been an Apple girl since 2002. They keep it so simple. Drivers? Ha? Almost Never. Viruses? Hardly. The price is worth it for the peace of mind. My ex and I get my son Windows laptops cause he’s so into gaming, and this year when we got him a new machine, it came with the new UI. I find it wonky and crazy-making. It’s so bad, they had to keep old look and feel because no one feels comfortable trying to navigate around in all that crazy!
    Learning curves, shmurning curves. 😛
    As for smart phones – it will take a phone catastrophe to get me off mine. I would like to go back to a flip phone tho. Maybe they’ll start “rehab” programs for adults who want to transition off the mobile grid. I might sign up…

    • Apple always seemed interesting but they’re expensive and everywhere I’ve worked has used some version of windows, so it wasn’t practical. I’ve actually become a fan of Chrome OS recently, the laptop I write on uses it. It’s very simple, very basic, which is perfect for coffee shop writing, email, and internet. The only downside is that you can’t download new programs and it’s painful to try and use any windows files (you’d have to upload them to Google drive and convert them first). For entertainment purposes and basic use, Chrome OS is great, but I needed something that I could use with my work files so I had to get something new.

      Yeah, as soon as Cat and family move back to the states I’m going back to a basic cellphone. And further down the road I fully plan on living in a tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere, way off the grid. Just imagine how productive life could be with zero distractions. 😛

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