PC Rot

I’ve had my present notebook since the spring and it’s already showing signs of progressive software rot, that phenomenon which hits all PCs as they get gunked up with user inflicted garbage. I can’t help myself — I like experimenting with FireFox extensions and tweaking system settings — and the result over time is a weird laptop that exhibits little software zits and blackheads.
Here’s the annoyances which drive me insane:

  1. Suspend. I can press and put the laptop to “sleep”, saving the state the machine is in — apps and data loaded — and keep the airplane stewards off my back. This works sometimes and other times (usually when the stewardess is really breathing down my neck), it doesn’t, forcing me to hit the poor machine with the “Finger of Doom” escape where I just lean on the power button and croak the thing entirely. Sure, I can hit the wireless switch under the front bottom edge, but the stewardess sees screen light and assumes I am going to mess up the plane’s internal guidance system and turn it into a ground auger.
  2. Verizon EVDO Dialer: starting a WAN session with the built-in EVDO is like starting a 1973 Dodge Dart in New England in February. An art, not a science. Three, four attempts, shelling out to the Windows Task Manager to shut down the application, no-I-don’t-want-to-send-a-frigging-error-report to Microsoft, re-start, cross fingers, stare at start-up screen, hope the thing will turn over and catch, almost … blech. This always happens if you have like five minutes between flights to come out of suspend, turn on the wireless, invoke the VPN, fire up Notes, and replicate inboxes so the gazillion emails you just wrote on the first leg of the flight can go off into the ether. The more you need it, the less it cooperates. Still — best connectivity service in the world and my way of sticking it to the 802.1 bandits in airports and coffee shots.
  3. Extended Display Settings: I have three ways to handle the extension of the notebooks screen onto an external LCD. I can right click on the desktop and get into Windows “properties” and attempt to do it there. Not fun. Or I can go into the system tray and find the Intel graphics adapter control (which is sometimes there and sometimes isn’t) or I can use the very good ThinkVantage Technology method via the Blue Button of a command and pull up the “Presentation Director.” I have profiles set for my desk in Raleigh and my desk in Cotuit, but for reason, no matter how many times I tell it the laptop is to the left of the monitor, the profile assumes it’s vicey-versa and grrrr, I have to go deal with it manually.
  4. That’s it for now. I could give all sorts of applications and utilities grief for their conflicts and glitches, but who cares, right?

Let’s face it. These are the most complex devices in our lives, are in front of us more than any other object, and for the most part get the job done. But who has time to tweak and tune them to run perfectly?

And don’t tell me to get a fricking Mac. I hate them and they are every bit as weird as a Wintel box.

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