My computer’s been telling me that it wants to upgrade. In fact, when I first bought this laptop several years ago, and started it up the first time right out of the box, a message popped up that a system update was available. The tech business, you see, never really sells you a computer. They’re working on it constantly, often at the same time I’m trying to use it. In any case, the reason I haven’t upgraded has been that I need to clear off space on my hard drive. Each upgrade requires more and more of the limited space I have, so my work has to be shoved off onto external drives that I stack like bricks in my attic. And that takes time.
This wasn’t a problem with my pre-internet computers. You bought them to do PowerPoint for work and word processing for publications. Said publications were printed out and sent via mail to publishers. Just typing that makes me feel old. The fact was, however, you could get by on those computers without any upgrades at all. The system that came with it was sufficient for the life of the machine. Once you get connected to the internet, though, you have to keep up. I often run into websites on my work laptop, which doesn’t have the latest system, that simply don’t work. If they’re going to upgrade, I have to upgrade, and to upgrade I have to discard stuff I want to keep. Every day I get the red warning signal—computer is hungry but can’t be fed until I start throwing my hard work away. Or at least putting it where it will take extra effort to get it back.
Also, how are you supposed to find the time for upgrades when you use your computer constantly? A typical download and install takes over an hour. If we’re so wired, when are we possibly going to find the time for that? And I still haven’t cleared enough space on my hard drive. My external drive’s getting too full. I guess it’s impossible to keep everyone happy. In the midst of all this I squeeze in some time to use my laptop for that which I actually bought it—to do my research and writing and, during the pandemic, to buy the necessities of life. And if I don’t upgrade Zoom’s going to stop working because it’s upgrading too. I need to buy a computer that does nothing but upgrade itself. That might be the solution. That, or going back to good old-fashioned pen and paper.