Technology failure

Olga and I went to a dinner party last night and the topic of how we have become slaves to computers came up. When I was a child, the science books promised that technology and automation would make our lives easier so we would work less hours and have more time for leisure. What a joke that seems now. We all work longer hours and the impact of computing and modern communications technology is that people now expect answers instantly instead of when you can get around to it. When I mentioned another promise of the computer age, the paperless office, the entire table fell about laughing.

Kelly, K4UPG writes that he had just spent six hours running updates, fixing the problems the updates created and figuring out how to install the updates that wouldn’t install automatically. His verdict: Computers Do Not Save Time.

The last couple of mornings Acronis Non-stop Backup has displayed a message that it was not running. Kelly’s post made me wonder if this was caused by a recent Windows update. I decided to do a System Restore back to last Monday, before most of the updates occurred, and lo and behold Non-Stop Backup is running again. I don’t have the inclination to spend six hours installing updates individually to find which one caused the problem, nor to ferret through forums searching for a solution, so automatic updates have been switched off for the time being. Having a working backup is more important than receiving fixes to problems I haven’t experienced and probably never will.

The trouble with computers is you have to spend too much time being your own support technician, time you should be spending working, playing radio or whatever the computer is supposed to be helping you with. Once upon a time computers were simple, reliable and never needed updating. What was the name of the operating system they ran? Ah yes, MS-DOS.

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

5 Responses to “Technology failure”

  • N4LNE:

    Of course you could switch to a Linux / Unix type system that runs circles around anything Microsoft ever came up with and does not crash just for something to do.

    Long live 110 baud tty

  • Mark KJ6EUO:

    I’m with N4LNE. If you use the worst OS ever conceived by man don’t blame computer in general. I for one thank my luck stars to live in this the age of the PC. I work with a 98yo engineer who sits in front of a CAD machine all day and regularly comments on how amazing modern software is and how fast changes can be made as well as the fluidity with which new ides can be incorporated.
    Also our office goes through a ream of paper about ever 4 to 6 months. Stop printing everything! Use a digital printer to save to pdf.
    It’s not like you can’t dl MS dos from you friendly neighborhood torrent if you want. Go run it if you think it was so great. My recommendation is Ubuntu’s new 10.10 for the “I’m sick of windows” crowd.

  • Alan KE4NU:

    I personally prefer Linux in almost any form over windows. Yes, there are occasional updates but its very stable, user friendly and “free”. Its amazing to me how addicted almost everyone is to windows with its overpriced, bloated, buggy operating system..73

  • John, W9JGO:

    When Windows XP automatically updated to “SP3”, I lost the ability to run several programs and my laser printer. GPS mapping program no longer functions. I play with Linux, but I’m not sure I’m smart enough for it…
    John, W9JGO

  • Tom KJ4WJE:

    I understand that many people feel the same way as you do. Unfortunately, due to the size of Microsoft and the way they do business, they have become the biggest target for rogue code. I personally got sick of dealing with crappy hardware and an operating system that I had to continuously babysit to use. After dealing with a failing windows mobile phone and switching to the iPhone, I realized how nice it was to have something that just worked. So, I bought a Macbook Pro and have never been happier. It’s a royal pain in the but when my wife hands me the XP machine and says “fix it”. She gets a Mac next. Maybe you should do the same? Unix, Linux, Ubuntu are all great, but many “lay” people find it easier to go with an Apple product.

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