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Friday, 29 March 2013

Electronic Kinks and Woes

I think I'm doing pretty well with my computer woes this time, except for the fact that my DVD drive is being uncooperative. It's been faulty for a long time, though, not burning things properly. I would bet it has something to do with it having Light Scribe. I have never actually used the feature, and doubt I ever will. It has to be one of the dumbest things I've encountered, and this is coming from someone who can be very anal-retentive about organizational stuff, business-wise. I mean, sure, if I buy the very expensive discs that can actually be etched with the label this feature allows you to do, maybe it'll look okay. However, it only does grey-scale, and there are plenty of printable discs and disc printers out there that do colour. The discs are a heck of a lot cheaper, too, from what I've seen. Or, I could use a Sharpie and print directly on a regular disc for no extra charge. Instead I've got a useless feature that's most likely interfering with the capabilities of the drive's regular functionality.

This is typical of a lot of things we buy, though, isn't it? We demand all these high-end features, and we want them combined into a single unit. Like the printer/scanner/fax machines that are available. I bought one years ago, and about a week after I bought it the stupid thing went berserk. The lights started flashing all over the place and not a single feature worked on it. I took it back, got my money back, and decided to separate my components. It was at that point I realized a single machine for everything would mean that if one part went, I was also going to be out all the other features. So, I have a fax machine, a scanner, and a printer. If one dies I still have the others to fall back on.

I remember seeing cars when I was a kid that had the motorized headlights. I thought they were so cool. Then my grandmother said, "It's just one more thing to break." That's when I started noticing all the cars with those lights that had one light up and one light down. I didn't much like my grandmother as a person, but she was still a smart woman, and she was right about that. The fancier we get with our features, and the more we shove into a single component, the more likely it is to break on us.

Since the incident with the malfunctioning multifunction machine, I've made it a practice to avoid such things. When I picked out my laptop I was annoyed that I couldn't get one without a webcam already in it. Call me paranoid, but I don't need some twit hijacking my computer with a virus and turning on my webcam when I don't know it's on. Sure, when I turn it on legitimately there's a bright blue light that says it's on, but if someone has the hacking skills to turn it on remotely, I figure maybe there's something they can do to disable the light.

Admittedly, I don't see why anyone would want to watch me banging away at my keyboard, when they can watch free porn where someone's actually banging away at another human being. I'm probably safe. I spend my time pounding on alpha-numeric keys, which just isn't all that titillating to the general public. There might be a fetishist or two that would find my manual technique stimulating, but somehow that just doesn't bother me all that much. As long as they're not seeing me naked, I really don't care, and since I'm generally fully dressed when I write, that's not much of a concern. I say 'generally' because there has been the odd time when I've been in a towel or my underwear, although calling myself 'fully dressed' might be a stretch, too. My pajamas are normal attire for me, but unless I have reason to entertain someone in my pajamas they're not particularly sexy. I save the lingerie for a good reason.

I'm probably completely wrong about the whole multifunction thing, though, when I stop to consider everything I do with a computer. They truly are multifunction, and mine is almost entirely my sole source of entertainment. Movies, music, writing, reading, gaming, activism, you name it. Then there's Facebook, of course, where I get to look at memes all day if I want to - some of which really do have me laughing my ass off.

It's the same with cellphones and smartphones nowadays. You can't buy one that doesn't have a camera, a video camera, a voice recorder, a clock, or an mp3 player in it. They just don't make them, I guess. Most of them come with way more features than that, and the nearly-unlimited additional options afforded by the apps community. My BlackBerry can be used for writing and reading books, e-mailing, texting, scheduling functions, games, etc. There isn't much it can't do, or that I can't do with it. I can even take payments from people with it.

When this high level of functionality came out on the newer devices I was understandably resistant to the idea, considering my previous experiences with multifunction items. For the most part everything has worked out okay, although I do have some complaints about the Wi-Fi on my BlackBerry. It's an older one that everyone seems to have had an issue with, but now that I have a new router it seems to pick up the signal at least. Maybe I'll manage to connect the silly thing one soon as I figure out how to input an acceptance code into the router. It's not like there's a keypad on the stupid thing, so I guess I'll have to go in through my computer, but since it's a D-Link (yes, I know, a piece of crap - it was cheap) the usual IP address doesn't work for accessing it. I probably have to put the stupid installation disc back in.

There are so many things I have to get moving on, especially with my computer. However, work also prevails. I have at least three articles I need to write tonight, possibly four, so things are a bit swamped for me at the moment. I really want to get my music files organized, too, before I actually open up Media Player, because I want it to be fully organized. I'm probably living in a fantasy world, but I can at least try. Maybe the headache won't get too bad. Then again, I have nearly 30 GB of music. It could take years. Especially at the rate at which I move when it comes to personal organization. To give you an idea regarding my rate of speed there, most of my stuff is still packed in boxes from when my daughter and I moved into this apartment in September. Seven months ago...