Skip to main content

I hate computers (#1146)

Topics/tags: Miscellaneous, technology

Today was not a good day. Strike that. This afternoon was not a good afternoon.

What happened?

The day was going okay; things were taking a bit longer than normal, but that happens. I’ve been a bit off for the past few days. Last night, I managed to break both a glass and our blender. In separate incidents. But that’s not the point. Today is the point.

At 2:00 p.m., I tried to watch a show on StageIt [1]. It would not work. That’s not surprising. Almost everyone who watches shows on StageIt finds that they have to refresh once in a while [2]. But even refreshing didn’t work. I watched on my iPad instead.

A voice in the back of my mind kept asking, What happens when my HCI class starts at 3:00 p.m. I was tempted to reboot my MacBook. But rebooting is a risk; sometimes it reboots quickly, sometimes it takes an hour or more [3,4]. Most frequently, it’s slow. So I crossed my fingers.

Bad idea.

Really bad idea [5].

Not only did the speakers not work when I started class, the microphone didn’t either. That’s not a good way to start a class. But it’s technology. Everyone expects it to fail. It’s just that today’s class had a relatively tight schedule: Students were running focus groups with prototypes and I’d carefully arranged the interview times. I quickly switched to my iPad. Unfortunately, (a) the class eBoard is on my MacBook and not on my iPad and (b) Teams has a different UI on the iPad. I hate computers.

But I got the class started. And my students started their focus groups. But I found Teams on the iPad way too frustrating. I work at about half the speed in navigating between chats and channels and classes on Teams for iPad. So I decided to reboot my MacBook.

Bad idea.

Moderately bad idea.

We got through both sets of focus groups. My MacBook still hadn’t rebooted. That meant I had no access to my random calling code [7]. I had no access to my notes for class. I had no access to the papers we were discussing.

Have I mentioned that I hate computers?

Nonetheless, we were able to debrief on the focus groups, if not to discuss the readings for the day. That’s okay, we didn’t have a lot of time; focus groups took a while. And I was able to talk to them [8] about security and privacy issues I saw in their prototypes.

But, boy, I wish that had gone more smoothly.

One positive note: We agreed that I hate computers should be the course slogan.

My computer finally finished rebooting right after I told my students to Have a great weekend.

I hate computers.

[1] For those who don’t know StageIt is a streaming service for live musical performances. It’s been a great thing for me during the pandemic. But I’m a bad audience member; I often work while watching.

[2] StageIt: The show that refreshes. Or needs refreshes.

[3] Yes, literally.

[4] I should probably try to get that fixed. But it’s hard to do without my laptop.

[5] Grammarly says that should not use Really. This instance seems to be one in which the word is needed [6].

[6] But not really needed.

[7] sort -R classlist.txt

[8] Rant about.

Version 1.0 of 2021-05-14.