Sunday, November 8, 2009

FooDaddy; Tinkerer

You know that expression, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"?

That is a stupid expression. If you look hard enough at anything, you can always find something that could do with a little bit of improvement. It all depends on how hard you're looking.

As a nerd who tells himself he's a writer, I spend a good deal of time looking at my computer. That's why I went from a perfectly serviceable Vista installation to a fresh one of Windows 7. Was I having compatibility or speed problems? No. Was there a must-have feature of Windows 7 that I couldn't live without? Hell no.

It was shiny and new and hyped and I had to have it. Plus, Microsoft approached me in the street, wearing a black trenchcoat and nudged me in the ribs with its elbow.

"Hey, buddy," Microsoft said. "Thinkin about upgrading?"
"Maybe. I mean, I guess so," I said uncomfortably.
"What if we was to let you have some 7 at half price? Huh? Eh?"

I took Microsoft up on its creepy offer and ordered 3 copies of 7 for my houseful of computers. They all arrived on the same day and piled out of my mailbox like a troupe of clowns coming out of their little Volkswagen Beetle.

I took them into the house.

Bad idea.

As soon as I let them out of their packaging, the Windows Sevenses wriggled out of my hands and skittered away across the carpet.

"Hey! Come back here! Get away from that! Stop installing yourself on my toaster! You'll invalidate your activation key!"

7 was more than happy to install. Positively eager. Just riddled with ho-code.

The laughing discs rolled around my house, installing Windows on everything. I spent a good couple of hours on the phone with tech support trying to get it uninstalled from my lamps, my vacuum cleaner and both cats. The cats were a particularly tricky case, as they kept minimizing themselves, and fading through the floor and into the basement. Had to reboot them back up the stairs I don't know how many times.

In the end, I managed to get 7 to hold still long enough for me to shove it onto a few hard drives, where it sits happily today, surprising me with its new features and its reluctance to do anything I want it to. It's even more likely to forcefully suggest ways for you to use it than Vista was. It's like that maven friend of yours, who is so full of information that he can't help splashing some of it on you.

"You wanna put your files there? Why not over here?"
"Because that's where I had them last time, Seven."
"I really think they'd be happier over, Yeah. Here."
"But, I--"
"Too late! They're over here now."

Why, you might ask, did I go through all the trouble? Because I'm a tinkerer. This is also why my PCs are home-built conglomerations of reluctantly cooperative parts. Every now and then one of them goes rogue and holes up in the basement with the cats, and I have to set traps for it.

That's all part of the fun. I shall most likely continue to "fix" working things, telling myself that I'll buckle down and get to actually using the computer as a tool as soon as I'm done treating it like a cross between a video game and a science experiment.

Anyone looking to install Windows 7 on their computers? Be sure to have plenty of paper towels and some butterfly nets handy. It's sneaky.


  1. Hilarious take on the essentially and fundamentally Ausperger's (not to say Coffee) mindset of software boffins. Loved the clown-car image of software unpacking itself and installing on everything in sight.

  2. Then too, where software is concerned, never discount the possibility that drunken highschoolers, or folks with similarly impaired emotional equipment, are involved.

  3. We're still at the "do we want a new computer first" stage here. Actually, it's the absent son at college who would rather like a machine with a better graphics card to replace Mom's graphics-card's-about-to-go-kaput one for when he's home. But what about me...

    Hope the cats recover.


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