My computer and I have a marriage of convenience rather than passion While I\’m grateful for its services, I don\’t ask very much of it, and in return I expect it not to ask too much of me. Periodically, however, our privacy is invaded by intruders from the digital empyrean, who insist on upgrading or updating our relationship.
My new Canon printer/scanner and I, for example, have reached a shaky truce where images are concerned. It mostly ignores the unsaturated colors in my drawings, preferring to reproduce only vivid hues like crimson and ultramarine and weird orange. I, on my part, refrain from hurling it out the window. Originally, I could push an \”adjustments\” button on the Canon menu designed to give me the illusion that I could bring the scanned image a tiny bit closer to the original.
Recently, however, some digital entity decided that instead of letting me access the \”adjustments\” button directly from the screen on which the scanned image appears, it would be good spiritual practice for me to have to search for an intermediate screen from which to improve the looks of my scanned drawings. Did the digital entity ask my opinion on this? Did he or she at least send me a warning to that effect? Not at all. Instead, for a couple of weeks I beat myself up for missing a button or an icon or something that must surely be in front of my eyes.
Or take Blogger, and its system for uploading images into posts. In the beginning, there was a window that would pop up when you clicked on the image icon, and a browser button, and some choices about the size and placement of the image. No sooner had I gotten used to that system, than a different kind of window started popping up, one that offered no choices as to size or placement. Instead, these choices appeared only if you clicked on the image after it appeared in the post–but nobody told you this. Being somewhat flexible and willing to learn (as if I had any choice) I adjusted to the new system. And then, yesterday, I clicked on the usual image icon and lo, the old window popped up, with its usual choices of size and image right there. I gave it a friendly but reserved greeting, as I do not expect it to stay around.
Whenever little windows pop up announcing that I have been favored with an update or an upgrade while I was sleeping, I grit my teeth. I resent these intrusions.. It feels as if, in the night, someone has come in and rearranged my kitchen drawers. Suddenly, my hand-operated can opener is gone, replaced by an electric model which now resides not in the drawer but in the third cabinet on the right. The trusty vegetable peeler is gone too, replaced with a carbon-bladed paring knife encased in a leather sheath. And my favorite wooden spoon, veteran of a thousand stews, which used to live in a crock by the stove, has been exiled to the drawer among the serving utensils.
Who are the people making these changes, and who gave them the right to barge into my house, my study, my computer and change stuff? Are they so self-involved that they don\’t realize that their idea of \”better\” doesn\’t necessarily coincide with mine? Won\’t they let me rest even a little while in my minor but hard-won computer competence?
There is no answer, no mercy. And in the silences between the click of my laptop\’s keys, I can hear the digital entities laughing.