Friday, July 29, 2016

Urgent! Important! Please read!


DILBERT     by Scott Adams
[Click on any strip to enlarge.]

Wednesday: Biggest Obstacle

Thursday: Dashboard For The Boss

Today: Dashboard Never Changes

by Ken

It's a good thing there's nothing happening in the world, 'cause I'm suddenly in a condition of computer snafuitude, which I'll explain in a moment for the record. Meanwhile, this gives me an opportunity to raise a question I've been meaning to throw out for some time, with regard to stuff like that I've put in the post title as it turns up in e-mail subject lines. And the question is this: Does anyone actually read e-mails that come with such declarations of self-importance? Can it be possible that I'm the only one who, just on principle, more or less automatically deletes them?

"Urgent," eh? "Please read," you say? No, I don't think so!

And confidential to whichever Democratic Party functionaries who are sending out those end-of-the-world-is-nigh fund-raising e-mails with all-caps subject lines about how the sky is falling: Just quit it, huh? I'm certainly not going to read those.


Last night when I got home from seeing my friend Gil in the Classical Theatre of Harlem's adaptation of Macbeth (absolutely free, great reviews in both Time Out New York and the NYT, though I take the latter's theater writing a lot less seriously) with three performances left -- in the excellent Richard Rodgers Amphitheater of Northern Manhattan's Marcus Garvey Park, tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday at 8pm), I went to the computer and discovered that my keyboard appears to be majorly fucked up, and I don't have time to go keyboard shopping today.

This isn't entirely unusual, since I am known to spill stuff on the keyboard which I know I should never have anywhere near it. Which is why some time ago I instituted a policy of always having a spare keyboard on hand, replacing what had been the spare as soon as it's pressed into service as the new keyboard. The thing is (and this is a funny story; you'll laugh and laugh) I took my last spare into the office so that I would have a working keyboard there, feeling queasy about reporting the situation to the office manager, seeing as how it was my own fault that I didn't have a working keyboard. Ironically, when I had occasion to mention to Christine, the office manager, that I had done this, she didn't see why I hadn't just told her!

And then, that Friday in January, we came into the office and found out that we didn't have an office anymore, and I was afraid that if I took my keyboard home, I would be accused of stealing "their" keyboard. Ha ha ha! Pretty funny, right? (Note to self: I really should try to get in touch with Christine, maybe see if I can find her on Facebook. She's good people, and I haven't had contact since That Day in January. Of course I should also be finding, you know, a job, but that doesn't seem to be happening either.)

The odd thing about my current keyboard predicament (assuming that that's all it is -- the keyboard) is that normally I know all about it when I demolish a keyboard, because I've just watched myself do it. This time, is a puzzlement.

So on the regular computer I can still do anything that can be done by mouse, plus things that can be done using still-working keys. From which I got the idea that I could maybe do some of the heavier post-related lifting on it, then dump that stuff in a blog file, and then edit that file on a MacBook that I bought refurbished some time back, hoping it would help me back when I was still blogging every day (and twice on some days). And after a fashion it has worked! (If you want to see something really funny, you should see me with the two computers running side by side, the MacBook perched precariously alongside the desktop, and me furiously working the mouse from the desktop computer and cursing the MacBook for not responding -- or occasionally vice versa, when the trackpad of the MacBook fails to produce results on the desktop.)

I knew going in that the machine just missed the cutoff for being system-upgradable beyond OS 10.6, a perfectly lovely OS that Apple has chosen to abandon, rendering it. But I thought I could at least upgrade the memory to make it work better and faster.

Only by the time I was ready to actually attempt the feat,  after successfully performing a memory upgrade on the desktopo computer which enabled me to upgrade that also-aging machine all the way to El Capitan, and even ordered the new memory, when I went to open the battery compartment to perform the installation, I discovered that I couldn't open the battery compartment. I figured this was just my incompetence, and eventually I took the computer and the memory upgrade to the crackerjack Mac folks at Tekserve, assuming they would deftly open the thing and then for a reasonable fee install the new memory.

Instead what happened was that they gathered their savviest tech hands to gaze in wonder at something none of them had ever seen: a battery compartment that had somehow gotten internally locked, leaving no option that any of the assembled wizards could think of except to break into the thing, after which they couldn't of course guarantee its continued functioning. Maybe I should have let them give it a shot, but at least as is the thing was working, within its limits.

My bad, obviously, for not having thought to try to open the battery compartment while I might still have gotten redress from the company that sold it to me. And by this time, I discovered, the company existed except in name, a name that had been sold to another company, which informed me with a nice tinge of regret that sorry, there was nothing they could do for me. On the plus side, the company from which I had bought the memory that I successfully installed on the desktop computer and then the memory I was unable to install on the MacBook allowed me to return the latter.

Which today include enabling me to get this post done. And the nice thing is that I can whine to my heart's content, confident that my subject line has triply warded off any potential readers.

Labels: , , ,


At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken, I know your pain and confusion. When I lost my last job (and I do mean last job), my workplace had switched us from Macs to PCs. My pals in IT let me have a ton of expensive, professional graphics and page makeup software, so I had to buy a Windows laptop. I kept that machine running for 10 years until the keyboard went apeshit. For a year, I managed with my iPad -- an infuriatingly limited and stubborn device (I'm convinced it's the first evidence of Apple's slow slide into mediocrity). I finally bit the bullet and bought an overpriced PowerBook. Why the hell didn't Apple beat Windows machines to the new hybrid laptop/pads with detachable stylus-capable touch screens?

Anyway, I'd rather invest in a machine that's got a warranty and is as up-to-date as possible. I totally understand the reluctance to pay out major bucks when you're out of work. It's a condition with which I am too familiar. When I was much younger and happily had few responsibilities, I spent two 6-month periods of unemployment. I spent four months looking for a job daily at Brighton Beach. Amazingly, all I found was a deep tan and the happiest times of my life. The only cloud on the horizon was that unemployment was running out. But I always knew I'd be able to find something, because I was young and optimistic. This last time. I knew I'd probably never have another job again. When you're laid off in your fifties, life isn't a beach.

Anyway, good luck with whatever you're doing, Ken. I've finally accepted that I'm retired now and can crank online any time of day or night.


At 1:42 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Thanks for sharing all that, and for the good wishes.

My only question is: What the heck were you doing reading a post labeled "urgent" and "important" and "please read"? I trusted that, like the poet Bunthorne in Patience, I could answer confidently "I am" to the question "Am I alone and unobserved?"



Post a Comment

<< Home