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Monday, April 23, 2012

My [updated] Life

I went to bed late last night, that was mistake number one. I meant to be asleep by ten so that I could wake up before the little Bees and get at least 1000 words written. I figured that if I was up by six I'd have two hours free before Bambino and Bunny woke up.

Silly me.

I went to bed late, because I was stressing over the summer curriculum. Then Bunny decided she didn't want to sleep. By the time the alarm went off at six I'd managed to get a whole three hours of sleep. I gave in, sent the older two off to school, and went back to bed. I figured I could reset my day. You know, get a do over.

Instead I woke up to an update on my phone. Not just any ol' update, the kind that takes a perfectly functional program and changes it into a perfectly nonfunctional battery-eating monster. My Weatherbug app didn't work. It wouldn't update, it wouldn't turn on, nothing. So I tried Twitter, and found that the new Twitter update took my app from a one click process to three-clicks. That's time consuming on my slow phone.

The crowning glory of my updated morning was finding out a system update had fried the connection to my old modem, this skewing it just enough that it had become a rather expensive plastic brick. My internet company told me I could wait until Thursday or a repair crew, or drive an hour away and pick up a new modem. Obviously, since I live online, driving out there was my only option.

After several slow clicks and uploads I managed to write a truncated rant on Twitter. The general response was: So what? It's just an update.

Really, in the grand scheme of things, I hate updates. Twitter is a silly thing to get upset over, but a few clicks extra isn't what this is about. It's about someone else making the choice for me. Again. Because some programmer who doesn't know me has decided that this way is so much better. It's a hop, skip, and a jump away from someone telling me how to use my uterus because I'm only a weak female who shouldn't be pressured into thinking for herself (and if you don't read the sarcasm in that sentence you have issues).

My programs and apps are something I use every day. I have them for their functionality, because I use them in a specific way. When an update comes along everything gets thrown off course. Updates mean learning the program over again, and often deleting the program because the designers have removed the functions I needed.

How much do I hate it? Let's try this analogy...

My car is a 2004 minivan with 155,000 miles, scratches, dents, and a leaky windshield washer fluid pump. It's not a pretty car. It isn't a new car. But it's paid off and it gets me from Point A to Point B with decent gas mileage.

Now, if my car was an app, I would find myself stranded in the grocery store parking lot at eleven o'clock at night as I'm rushing to pick up medicine for my sick child. I'd go to turn on my car, and a pleasant hipster would knock on the window and inform me that I couldn't drive my car until I updated. My old car is not up to speed, it isn't sleek, it doesn't have fifteen useless functions that slow it down or give my private information to everyone and their uncle.

In Update World I wouldn't be allowed to drive until I bought the shiny new car that would slow to a halt just off the major highway because "No one cool lives that way!" I'd wind up walking home. Probably in the rain.

Melodramatic? A little.

Some of the updates have been useful. Granted, I don't see why I need Twitter to tell me who my latest five followers are every twelve hours, especially when I don't get new followers every twelve hours. I don't know why Google decided the all Gmail uses were illiterate monkeys, and so decided to take away words and replace them with symbols. I'd feel a little bit insulted by that move if Google hadn't also gone and replaced a fully functional Blogger with one that utilizes the one function that never worked in the latest update. I guess Google hates formatting and picture resizing.

I've never seen the point of the Face Book timeline, but then again I have the designers of Face Book mentally shelved next to the people who think vaginal ultrasounds for rape victims and beating small children for fun is a good idea.

I like to customize my stuff. I don't care if it's my jeans, my car, or my blog, I want to be the one who decides what goes where. I don't let the car manufacturer dictate where I drive. I don't let my internet provider dictate what websites I view. Why should I let a web designer dictate how I interact with the internet? Offering updates is fine, but users should have an Opt Out option. Right now my only Opt Out option is to quit using the programs altogether, and no one really wants that.


  1. Hear, hear! I loathe the new-look gmail, and have been opting out of it for as long as possible - but alack, the time has come and I've been forced to switch over. *growl* Kill, stab, die.

  2. That's strange, none of my systems *require* me run to an update. In all cases I choose if and when I update. Don't know if this means I'm lower down the tech pole, it's a Canadian thing, or if I'm doing something wrong.

    1. Teach me your secrets, O Wise One, that I might avoid the updates.

  3. I access the Internet world SOLELY through my PC. My DESKTOP PC. Not a tablet, not a phone, not a laptop or an I-gadget. My PC runs on an ANCIENT OS (which I will not name for fear that hackers will target me SPECIFICALLY and destroy my world.)
    I use Google Chrome to surf. SO FAR I find myself the last person in my social group to get poisoned by updates. I got forced onto timeline, and it took over a year for the LAST twitter update to hit me.
    I sometimes feel like I'm the last house to be hit by a tornado, or a blizzard. I hear everyone saying how awful it is, and I know it's coming, but I have no escape from it.

    I hate updates for the same reason. I started on the internet back with HTML was King and Java was just a fevered glitchy dream of the 'high tech' wannabes. Over a decade ago. (God that makes me feel old.) I learned html because I wanted my stuff to look a certain way, the way -I- wanted it to look. If my code wasn't right, I dug through forums until I found a tutorial to the code I needed. I did everything the hard way, because I wanted to be the one who decided how things should work.
    Now the internet is owned by 'social networks' and big names like Google, and asking to build your own code is like asking to ride someone's dinosaur. I find myself hammering away at a sites 'easy builder' with a chisel taking HOURS longer to build a single page than it would if they JUST LET ME WRITE IT MYSELF! Even worse, they add in 'smart' algorithms that make ALTERATIONS to my code when I use their 'advanced' builder.
    It's enough to make this OCD perfectionist scream. Often. At my computer. Hell, some of the latest 'browser' updates eat so much of my RAM that my whole system slows down when I view certain pages. Like Facebook Timeline. If a try to scroll down on FB it makes my music player skip. Thanks FB.
    I could rant for pages, but suffice to say, I feel you. Oh so deeply.
    Also, I've managed to keep Gmail from updating by REPEATEDLY clicking the 'Go back to Old View' and telling them to take their update and SHOVE it. they need to give us a 'classic view' or something.

  4. I didn't consider this factor of cloud updates when I commented above. I expect websites to tweak on a regular basis.

    It's the stuff on my end (PC and Android Tablet) that I keep a close eye on. I'm not even running the latest version of many programs on the grounds that the ones I have work well enough for me.