Generally, I get along with computers. I’ve had a PC since I was about twelve and thus, I usually understand them well enough to make them behave.
Monday was a different story. For business reasons, I have to stay right up to date with word processing software; I had been planning to upgrade soon, but suddenly found I needed to access an important file right away.
So first, I had to figure out what version I needed. Word Processor Extrodinaire apparently comes in at least 100 different flavours, including Live, Small Business Office, Putty Coloured Computer, Dead, If You Mouse Left-Handed, Ultimate Office, Grey Coloured Computer, and Exclusively for Tea Drinkers (no Java). In order to figure out what version, I had to figure out which bits I needed. Did I want to groove along the infopath? Did I want word to excel in order to improve my outlook? Decisions, decisions.
After about an hour of reading, it was time to drive across town. The store claimed to stock the product, but didn’t actually have the software on the shelves; the sign advised me to “Ask an associate for a copy.” I looked up and down the long, empty aisles. Cue the sound of crickets.
I went to the cashier and told her I needed two copies. She disappeared into the back room. Several hours later, she returned, with … a version intended for the US market. I was already getting impatient and considered taking it, but figured the spell check would have a fit over my “aboots” and “ehs.” So I politely asked for the Canadian version.
Two more trips to the back room later, I check out and I’m off like a herd of turtles. For my next trick: break into the box. The plastic box is very hip, very cool, and apparently completely impenetrable. Twenty minutes later, I figure out the little red thing at the top is a pull tab.
Great. Pop in the CD, and get a request for the product ID. Check the packaging, find a code, painstakingly type in all 20000 characters. Look at the screen… no code. Look at box, type again, look at the screen, no code. Type while looking at the screen… and discover that set of numbers is actually cleverly disguised to *look* like the product code. The *actual* ID is hidden on the funky pull out portion of the box.
Then I review the install options. I always double check this because most of the functions I use are not installed by default, but are marked “Install on First Use.” Translation: The first time you go to use a feature, your first thought has to be: “Oh crud! Where did I put that @#$%^! install disk?”
So, another thirty minutes reviewing and adjusting components. Then I click Install, and sit back.
COMPUTER: The install wizard has Encountered an Error. I’m not going to tell you what or why. Goodbye. [All install windows disappear.]
ME: ???[Start the install again, type in product ID, do the install review again and click Install.]
COMPUTER: You already have an install in progress. Goodbye.
ME: But you said — okay, whatever. [Reboot. Start install again. Product ID. Install review. Click Install. ]
COMPUTER: Your last install had errors. I will have to roll back all the changes made or you will never ever be able to install this properly. Do you want to roll back all the changes? Yes/No?
ME: [Click Yes — it’s not like I really have a choice, is it?]
COMPUTER: The install wizard Encountered Errors.
COMPUTER: I will not actually tell you what error is, nor will I tell you whether or not the install was successful. Goodbye.
I cautiously click around and launch the program. Everything seems okay, but I’m a bit nervous. The install wizard never did ask me for the second CD, and I’m not sure if this will mean that one day I will suddenly mouse right off the edge of an unfinished screen.
What I do know is that now I need to upgrade my laptop. The CPU has always had a tendency to overheat and ever since installing this slick but very graphical upgrade, my cooling fans have been whirring like mad. It’s only a matter of time before it decides to brea-