COMMENT: Kill zone - resisting the urge to destroy your computer

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
January 11th, 2013

I love the power of computer technology and everything connected to it most days. But then there are those days when you just want to throw your computer through the nearest window. Come on, I know you’ve had the urge and I don’t think it matters if it’s an Apple or PC.

The struggle to hold back the violence hit me again just last weekend as I attempted to discover the secrets of Simply Accounting software (now called Sage). I’ve been using their programs for over 10 years, so I know what I’m doing. Honest.

But as all good technology goes these days, they felt the need to update / piss off users. Yup, everyone thinks we need to improve the software otherwise customers won’t feel the urge to pay for the new version.

End result: frustrated customers attempting to hold back their primal instinct to kill. And if the software developers are not handy, well, the computer’s the next best thing to torture.

That was me on Sunday afternoon as I tried to send an email from the program. Finding out that option has been taken from me in this “new” version, I calmed myself down and searched for a clue. Thinking I needed to comply with standard emails protocols, which apparently don’t include using the email program I choose to use, I downloaded a “free” version of what I needed but, sigh, didn’t want to pay for… after all if I wanted to pay I’d have bought it in the first place.

That led to malicious software being downloaded onto my computer which, even after careful removal, refused to exit my computer. That led to more rage after two hours of complicated protocols to clean up the hard drive.

I took a breath and thought there had to be another way. Discovering the technique in their help menu, I carefully followed instructions step-by-step to do the task. Access denied.

What??? Access denied?? I paid full price for the program, I am the owner, but I’m not allowed!!!

Now understand that I’ve been handling computers since the early days – I am not a technophobe. I had the first portable computers on the market – anyone else remember the Texas Instrument one that hooked up to your TV? How about the Compaq the size of a suitcase?? How was that for portable? I even took programming classes – yes, I can program with the best in COBOL, another forgotten tech.

But email my invoices?? Forget that!

Five hours later I printed it out, scanned it back into my computer and called it quits before I committed more violent acts.

In the race to keep income flowing from products, it’s easy to see that today’s marketplace is designed, not with the end user in mind, but rather for ensuring repeat buying patterns for not only the hardware but the software too. Because guess what, if I call the company for help, I have to pay for their advice.

Computers were designed to support us and make our work lives easier. So, how many of you spend less than three hours a day on the things? And to what end? Swallowed up by FaceBook, no doubt, and left wondering where our time disappeared to and why we didn’t get anything done.

In the end, love them or leave them, computers are here to stay. I just wish the killer instinct would take a little longer to kick in…

Categories: GeneralOp/Ed