Writerly Rant #37
By M.J. Moores, OCT. Author. Editor. Freelance Writer.
This penchant for disaster in the techno-world has been a bane for me in this modern age in which we live. Granted, I can also say that once I put my mind to something I can get more than a working grasp of how to do/use it – but that takes time I just don’t have these days.
One of the simplest advancements with the computer has to be the invention of Skype. I mean, free phone calls, free teleconferencing… it’s an essential tool. As an author I can use it to give interviews, do online webinars, chat with colleagues over great distances, and more. But I’ve been avoiding downloading it to my computer from day one.
It even got to the point where a writing friend and colleague of mine offered to get me “set up” so that I didn’t have to think about the “hard stuff” – not that downloading a software program is an inherently difficult thing. So I agreed. He came by about a month ago to walk through the process with me, a process that should have taken a maximum of 15 minutes to complete – we spent an hour trying to get me set up with access to Skype directly from my laptop and not via their new parent company/owner Microsoft.
And he’s working in IT since he graduated university – he’s retired now!
It’s me. I know it is. At some point in my life I have either ticked off the technology gods or someone who has their ear. It should not be this difficult to perform a basic task – but it is.
So this friend of mine took it upon himself to look into the matter further from the comfort of his own home in his spare time. Eventually, he was able to determine how to get everything working properly and got me hooked up and in the Skype system. He gave me my temporary password, my new user name and told me I was good to go.
Okay. So I have an account now. Yesterday he emails me to brainstorm some ideas about his latest book. I thought, “This would be a great time to see if that Skype-thing works.” So I suggested we do that. I had forgotten that we’d erased the various versions of Skype that were downloaded initially, in order to give me a clean working environment for when things were finally organized.
That meant I had exactly 10 minutes to download Skype and place a video call (we agreed to talk at 1pm when my son was down for his afternoon nap). “Okay,” I thought. “This is simple enough. I watched him do it three times a month ago. I can do it on my own right now.”
25 minutes later I get an email from him saying he waited until 1:15pm to connect with me, but if I was busy then we could try another day.
I was trying to do the impossible – I was trying to download a simple operating program and it wasn’t working, again! It took me another 15 minutes to understand that this time, the free version I was trying to download was also taking it upon itself to download three other programs I wanted nothing to do with. On the website it said nothing about this and it was clear that the “privacy detector” and “system cleaner” or whatever were holding up my processing speed – everything I was trying to do with Skype was taking three times as long as it should have.
Needless to say, by the time I got those programs off my computer and a profile picture on my home page for the real Skype, my friend had shut his computer down for the afternoon and gone out to putter in his garden.
We’re supposed to try again today… showdown is at 1pm, again.
Hopefully the gods are on my side this time.