Throwing off the Computer Overlords

Most intelligent people these days have the kind of job and/or lifestyle which requires them to use a computer. An estimated 97% of all these computers are marginally less useful than the electronic offspring of the QVC shopping channel.

Have you ever stopped to work out how much of your time is spent trying to work out how to make it do what you want? And how long you spend battling with the "helpful" automatic settings? Or the "useful" suggestions of how to do things to a generally higher standard than you would otherwise manage to achieve, puny human? It is a pretty long time.

I, for instance, have spent much of the last four days trying to work out how to stop my computer from updating the shockwave player. I will be happily regurgitating nonsense and sending it out into the ether for the enjoyment of others when, unprompted, a balloon will appear and remind me that an update is available. I already know this. It has told me several times already.
When I return to my computer from a vital trip to the kettle, it will be attempting to bypass my frail human reticence on this matter by connecting to the interweb by itself and complaining that it doesn't seem able to. It grows sluggish and unhappy by my repeated refusals to allow it to enrich my life with modern shockwave programming but I don't care because it is an inanimate object. One that hates me, clearly, but still inanimate.

The trouble with computers is that they are designed and programmed by very intelligent blokes who are trying to make something extremely complicated, usable for all. This doesn't work. We've all heard the one about the people who ring the computer helpline because they can't find the "any" key.
The second trouble with computers is that a computer is essentially a small child who is trying to annoy you; it will do exactly what you tell it to. Exactly what you tell it to. People don't work like that. When somebody is speaking to you, your brain is already fizzing away working out the end of their sentence and formulating the appropriate response. When speaking to a person, you don't need to say exactly what you mean because they have already worked it out.

So what ended up happening was a group of people, some of them with beards, worked out that what we plebs really needed was a computer that could run itself automatically without any kind of user intervention. There was, they reasoned, no point in asking complicated questions about whether we wanted things or not because we'd only say no, so rigged it all up to bring dazzling technology into our homes via a telephonic line to the outside world.

In my world, this doesn't work because if my internet connection was going any slower, it would be going backwards. I don't want to leave it connected for fifteen hours so some program I don't use can download, it would prevent people from ringing me up to have vital conversations about anchovies and the like. Instead I spend my life trying to work out how to turn things off.

It is the same with Word. Every single time I open the program it assumes I have become an American and insists on correcting my spellings and telling me to use the letter z more often. Even when I try and turn it to British spelling, it will comply for about three lines then inexplicably start ranting at me again via the medium of squiggly red lines.

I'm sure that someone, somewhere, has invented a computer that will make my life simple and allow me achieve my original purpose in the shortest amount of time possible. A computer that won't take up half my desk, fill my life with useless information or generate roughly the same amount of heat and noise as combine harvester.

Now I come to consider it, I think it might be called a pen.

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