As a blogger and as a writer, a well-functioning computer is absolutely essential to ensure the smooth flow of ideas from the brain to the device.
But to get to that point, do the software updates have to be so long, painful and intrusive?
Whether at home or at the office, it seems that computers have a mind of their own when it comes to updates. Even though I have Windows Update on a strict schedule to seek, download and process updates in the middle of the night (an option for which I am so-o-o-o grateful), it’s the other software applications that need to take a lesson if they don’t want to be deleted from my life.
How many times do I have a glimmer of creative brilliance, only for my keyboard to stop responding in the middle of it, as a dialogue box pops up telling me to save all my work for an urgent update that will download in 5 minutes? Of course, as Murphy’s Law has it, updates like this happen most in the middle of corporate emergencies with tight deadlines. Stupid machine!
On another occasion, I showed up for work knowing I had a meeting 5 minutes after my arrival. I just needed to see where the meeting was being held and I would be on my merry way. But no! My computer wouldn’t allow me to check my calendar as it needed to make an update as soon as I got in. Why couldn’t it do it just before I arrived, when it was on but idle? Stupid machine! Since then, before leaving the office, I review my calendar for the next day in case of early meetings… just in case!
Similarly, how wonderful is it to hold a webinar with dozens of spectators only to have pop ups making guest appearances, announcing to my stakeholders that I am delinquent in making updates, when in fact I am holding the presentation on the boardroom’s computer, not the one I maintain regularly. Stupid machine!
I find it amusing when I hear of fears about computers and artificial intelligence taking over. With unwelcome software updates, I think we are already there, since the updates seem consistently able to find the least opportune moment.
If I could make one big wish to the software developer community, how about considering the following to make software updates more user-friendly:
– Announce the update but let me defer it to a more convenient time. I swear, I’ll do it, just not in the middle of something urgent or when the dam of creativity breaks.
– Allow me the option to schedule updates for a time when I am not actively using the computer.
– Provide an estimate of how long the update could take. Are we talking minutes or hours? Then I can plan accordingly.
– Tell me how necessary it is. Is it critical to fix an imminent security threat, is it something to improve functionality or speed, or is it just a nice-to-have, when convenient?
– If the software update needs to prompt the user for information, ask for the info before the update, not in the middle after the user has walked away.
– Don’t touch any of my settings (if you do, please advise the user).
– DON’T MOVE MY FREAKING ICONS!
– Make sure the update works without adverse side effects.
– Let me know when an update is in progress. There is nothing worse than seeing the swirly thing but no idea why it is happening.
– Let me know when the update has completed and whether it was successful or not.
As much as I know that software updates are a necessary evil, I wish that all applications gave full control to the user in terms of scheduling and customizing software updates.
When computers started making their way into our homes and offices, it was with the promise of making things easier, more efficient and to free up time for other things. Little did we know the “other things” were computer updates: the download, the execution, the waiting and sometimes, the clean-up afterwards if they run into a problem.
Before we invest more in artificial intelligence, can we at least get this part right: a computer that can update itself when it is idle, without dire warnings and without stressful consequences?
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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,