Why I Would Rather Dig a Ditch

April 7, 2007 at 4:16 am | Posted in Consumer Issues, humor, rants, technology | 2 Comments

 I spend too much of my time chained to this slave-driver called a computer.  There was a time people deluded themselves into thinking that computers would cut down on paper, speed things up and make life easier.   I’m sure it seemed like a really great idea at the time, but what the hell were they thinking?  

Going paperless would be great, but I think computers are the biggest tree killers going.  Computers generate more paper than before we were paperless.  When our parents got the phone bill it was one page (typed on one side), they wrote a check and paid it.  It’s not just the phone company, that’s just my favorite example of a big corporation everyone loves to hate.  Since they  no longer have to pay a typist to type every single bill being sent out, they seem to have discovered how much fun it can be to include so much information in the bill that:

  • Instead of one page, it’s now at least three or four (printed on both sides).  That inconvenient old fashioned one page (single sided) bill said something like, this is how much you owe us, please send the money, and we appreciate your business.  The bills today, if they could be translated, probably say something like, we don’t really know how much you owe us, but this is how much of your money we want and if you don’t send it right now we will turn off your service and make sure you cannot get service anywhere else ever again, because we are so big and powerful and there are so many people overpopulating the planet that we don’t really give a damn whether we have your business or not because right now even as our computer is generating this bill, hundreds of thousands of new customers are signing up.
  • No one can understand it, we don’t even know if we’re getting cheated, and I suspect we are.  I think it’s designed into today’s complicated billing systems. If each one of the millions of customers is overcharged an amount that is so insignificant it wouldn’t be worth the time for the majority of consumers to try to correct it, think how much extra revenue that would add up to.  (even if we did figure out where they were sticking it to us, just go ahead and try getting it ironed out, see Customer Service, India Should Change Name to Customer Service).

After my parents paid their bills they had this little cardboard accordion file where they kept all their records.  They didn’t have piles of paper inundating them on a daily basis, a room called an office, or a need for 20 file cabinets to store all the paper that comes in and for the back up records we print out for all the paperless transactions we do on our computers.

The computer is the main tool of my trade.  A tool is, among other things, a device that provides a mechanical or mental advantage in accomplishing a task.  Sometimes, when it comes to my computer, I feel like the tool.  I’m more computer savvy than the average person, yet at times I find the computer so completely frustrating that I have fantasies about throwing it off of the roof, drowning it in the bathtub, or driving to the nearest gun shop, filling out the necessary forms, enduring whatever waiting period applies, and finally getting the gun and shooting the damn thing.  It would be the briefest second of the most supreme ecstasy I can imagine.  Possibly better than sex, and almost as good as chocolate. 

I have a love hate relationship with my computer.  When everything is running smoothly it is great.  But it KNOWS.  The number of problems I have with my computer is directly proportionate to the amount of time I don’t have to get a task accomplished.

Today my fantasies turned to a new career as a ditch digger.  How wonderful it would be.  I would take hold of the shovel (a tool) shove it into the dirt and that would be it, no waiting for it to boot, or wake up.  The shovel, when about to be thrust into the soil, would never make me wait while displaying an hourglass icon letting me know that it is too busy doing other things to dig at the moment.  My shovel will never tell me an error has occurred and needs to stop working and do I want it to send a message to its manufacturer, though whether I send the message or not my shovel is quitting right now.  During my digging duties, my shovel will never decide to not respond and make me wait until I either put it away for awhile, or just twiddle my thumbs untill it is good and ready to begin again.  When I want to quit digging and put my shovel in the tool shed it will never give me a message telling me it is not responding, so I should just wait until it is good and ready to be put away.  When my ditch needs to be dug in a hurry, my shovel will never crash nor will I ever have to reboot my shovel.  I doubt that I will ever have to update my shovel because of security issues, after which update I will be shoveling much slower than I had previously shoveled.  My shovel will never get a virus, be hijacked by a spamming shovel, or be the victim of a spy.  No matter how many ditches I dig it will never run out of memory.   Best of all, I will never have a tech support person in India telling me that the shovel is fine but I obviously don’t know how to use it properly.

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  1. you are sooo right: my computer encountered a windows runtime error yesterday after which it still ran but so slow that i almost disconnected it totally because i thought it had crashed.
    after the error it took the computer about 20 minutes to get to a point where i could finally open up the turn off window (and several minutes for that to show up) and after hitting turn off it took another 20 minutes to actually shut down.
    so i got a whole pint of ice cream with chocolate fudge and an episode of wife swap in before i could use the darn thing again…
    angelica
    http://dysfunctionalhousewives.com

  2. I bought a $69 Epson printer. The ink dried out before you could use it. I put it in the basement about 7? years ago. Since then, I have had to jot down a few things, and learned how to cut and paste better. My kids don’t know printers much at all. We don’t miss the expense.

    Like I told my cousin, “you only think you need a printer.”


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