My last laptop, on which I ran Linux, gradually became a paperweight because of my neurotic reluctance to update software. I say “I ran Linux” as if to suggest that I’m a spongy but proud computer expert capable of calmly doing such things – that is far from true. I’m a (somewhat-spongy at this time of year) gimp with an aversion to math problems and look-how-smart-I-am puzzles and updating computer software. My last laptop was configured by a friend to whom I didn’t have regular access, and it worked great at first and then gradually less great until it simply became too outdated to be compatible with anything. Someone sent me thumb drives with updated software and detailed instructions, and I could never quite bring myself to give it a try since there was no effective Plan B.
Over the past year everything has transitioned to Apple products, not really through any decision of mine, and the matter of software updates has also been taken out of my hands. At irregular intervals the MacBook just refuses to play anymore until it has its way. And I might actually relax and consider that a good thing if it weren’t for the factor that Apple’s totalitarian little policy completely fails to take into account: I live in the boonies, where there is not a cell tower on every corner. On good days my connection is slow but relatively reliable. On bad days – like any randomly-chosen day in winter, for example – there may or may not be a connection from one moment to the next. If you happen to be trying to upload or download or synch or whatever modern software does when it updates itself, tough toenails. And what are you supposed to do after the update fails and gives up retrying? Your theoretical connection will eventually return, if possibly at a low quality. But your software does what it will, if it remains capable of doing anything at all. Talk about being at the mercy of merciless machines.
So yesterday my laptop abruptly informed me that it was incapable of working online until something in the iPhone was updated, and would I like to do that now or just read a book or work on a jigsaw puzzle or something? I said go ahead and update – seconds later it said “No can do.” And that was that. The afternoon wind picked up, which is almost always a sign that weather is blowing in, and when weather blows in my cell signal goes completely to crap.
This morning I hooked everything up and rebooted the laptop and we seem to be back. For now. But I am reminded that this stuff isn’t meant for use where I’m using it.