Monday, April 28, 2008

Computer Purgatory

I really tried to be smart about it. I waited a couple of years before venturing to buy a new computer. A generous financial gift allowed me to do it at all. I’d had a Dell for several years so I maintained my brand loyalty and went for a new Inspiron 1720—it has the largest screen I’ve ever had!

It also, however, has Windows Vista for an operating system which is why, after a few days of working to climb in to the new machine, I had a list of questions about the new Windows Email which replaces Outlook Express and about Word. Welcome to Computer Purgatory!

I spent hours on the phone trying to get answers to my very simple list of questions. In the process, I also spoke to several friends who share my operating system. To a person, they said, “I hate it.” Wow. And, drat. Hate is not something I want to participate in on our planet. Hate, actually, I’d like to do away with completely.

I got great, helpful attendants on the phone in India willing to answer my questions. Both of whom couldn’t answer them. I spent a long, long time on hold whilst they called Microsoft on some special Computer Purgatory numbers, and I talked both of them out of charging me for their services. (So much for the hardware warranty. . . it doesn’t include set-up.) This could be read: Oh! Did you want a steering wheel with that car?

Part of the reason I stay loyal to my old computers is because the climb to get into each new one is steeper and steeper. I have to calibrate myself to willingness even to begin, let alone get it done. My helpers solved one problem and gave me a workaround for another.

The thing this experience makes me want to ask is . . . why is newer necessarily better? Works did all the things I needed it to do, but I wasn’t even given the option (and now I have to go get the disk back that I gave away because Word won’t read my old database files and neither will the much-touted Excel). Outlook Express worked swimmingly, but now I get the less-than-totally-functional Windows Mail.

Complaining isn’t my point. My point is: what, really, is progress?

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