I’m writing this at 10:30pm, which is very strange. Throughout February, I’ve written every blog post in the morning. I made it my goal, my mission: I would write as much as I could as early as I could, just to check that off my to-do list. It has worked wonderfully, and it gives me a huge sense of both satisfaction and relief. Satisfaction, because it’s adding to my writing streak, and relief, because this task won’t hang over my head like the sword of Damocles the longer the day goes on.
Depending on the day I start writing around 8:00am, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. I’m almost always done by 10:00am, 11:00am at the absolute latest, and it gives me the rest of my day to do whatever I want. I also do all my workouts in the morning, so by noon I have accomplished two major things already. I work evenings, so this is important. It’s been a great system … until today.
On my end, nothing changed. I still woke up early, ready to write and workout. Actually, it was my rest day, so I didn’t even need to workout. I ate breakfast and got ready to unleash the written word … and found my computer completely inoperable because of stupid freakin’ updates.
You likely know what I’m talking about. You’re doing something productive, hopefully, and then you get a pop-up. “Windows needs to restart to apply updates.” Yes, I use Windows. No, don’t try to suggest I switch to Mac. Screw Apple. There aren’t a lot of companies I dislike based on their simple existence. McDonald’s is one, and Apple is another. I won’t get into it now, because it’s 10:30pm and I need to sleep. When I’ve got six hours or so to burn, I’ll write about my beef with Apple.
Let’s just leave it at this: I like playing videogames, and if you play videogames on PC, you need Windows. Pretty much end of story.
So, Windows needed to restart. That’s great. I ignored it. I always ignore it. Updates are largely useless. They often do some sort of minor optimization or fix some sort of security vulnerability. Here’s the thing: I never do anything that requires better security. I visit the same five core websites, that’s about it. No one is going to attack my information, and if they do, these little fixes aren’t going to stop them. Updates are largely useless.
I also never turn my computer off. Why bother? Sleep mode is just as good, maybe even better. The computer saves power, and it boots up quicker. I’ve also heard that turning your computer off all the time can compromise your hard disk drive, though I haven’t researched the issue. Keeping the computer on has very little downside.
Here’s the final piece of this little story: my computer occasionally suffers from a memory leak related to Winamp. Winamp is (or was) my favourite music player. It was simple, sleek, to the point, and it had the wonderful little pop-up that displayed every time a new track started. I used it for years … then I stopped using it for some reason, and then I went back to it.
One day I did something to it. I played around with the settings or the preferences, I don’t really remember, and I messed something up. Winamp started using more system resources, and the more it played the more resources it hogged. Closing the program wouldn’t fix it; I would need to completely restart my computer, after which everything was as good as new.
When I’m not using Winamp I’m using Windows Media Player, simply because it’s pre-installed and I’m lazy. Anyway, I recently purchased some new music, and it came in FLAC format. This is perhaps the definitive file format for listening to music. It has the best audio quality … and Windows Media Player can’t play it. Come on, Microsoft, get your act together. If I wanted to listen to my music, I needed to use Winamp.
I thus used Winamp for awhile, switching through various tracks, sampling everything … and every time I switched tracks, the memory leak grew a little bit worse. My computer, a monster machine I built myself, began running slower and slower. It almost froze at one point, and then I remembered, oh yeah, I shouldn’t be using Winamp like this. Too late, damage has been done. Better restart it.
Hey, do you remember all those updates I had been ignoring? Well, they were set to be installed the next time I restarted, which was right now. Okay, whatever. Unfortunately, they get applied before the computer restarts. My computer could not restart until these updates were fully installed … but because of the memory leak, my computer could barely load the start menu without stuttering, let alone install something at anything approaching a reasonable time.
Long story short, I started the process at 10:00pm last night, right before going to bed. When I woke up at 7:00am, it hadn’t finished. It was still updating. I left for work at 11:30am, as this was my busy day, and it still hadn’t finished. My computer was completely inoperable for over twelve hours. I got home at 9:30pm, and … it had finished. I don’t know when. It could have been 11:31am, it could have been 9:29pm or anywhere inbetween.
For my purposes, it didn’t matter what time it finished. I couldn’t use my computer for the entire morning, and considering my work schedule, nor could I use it most of the day. I wanted to write something in the morning, and the updates completely stopped it. Instead I’m trying to write something barely coherent before I go to bed. Thanks, updates.
Maybe it’s just me, but this whole thing seems like the worst possible way to do things. Can you imagine a government computer being completely inoperable as it installs updates? Can you imagine an airport just cancelling flights for an entire day because the computer system needs rebooting?
I’m regularly told that Windows needs to download updates, but I have no idea what they are for. I get zero information. If I really dig deep … I still get zero information. Eventually I might find something completely incomprehensible: KZ45123453. That’s the update serial code or something. Great, I guess. It still doesn’t mean anything to me, but it’s a start.
If you go to Microsoft.com, you can find what the serial code means … sort of. It will say general optimization or security vulnerability fixed. That’s it. What kind of optimization? Where is the security vulnerability? This would be useful information, but it’s completely hidden from me. Sigh. Whatever.
Then, all these updates are added before restarting. Question: why do people restart computers? There are two reasons. One, there are updates that require restarting. Two, because the computer isn’t working properly and restarting usually fixes that. That’s it. Having the default option for installing updates being before the restart process is complete seems completely backwards. Restart first, get things back to normal, and then do whatever updates are necessary. It’s not that hard.
Instead, I had no computer, which completely threw off my morning routine, which has now thrown off my evening routine. Instead of relaxing or playing or reading or doing whatever, I had to write something really quickly, in a not-very-writing mood, just to get my writing done. Thanks, updates. You ruined my entire day.
Actually, I had a great day. Everything was awesome … except for the updates and my computer and everything associated with it. Stupid updates. Stupid freakin’ updates. I’m going to never restart my computer out of spite, now, just to prevent them from installing. It’s the principle of it all.