Sunday, December 7, 2008

Take me back to Kerouac's technology?

I am so so so very frustrated with my computer right now that I contemplated not posting today. But that would break quite a streak of daily postings and let the virus-creating buggers get the upper hand. Therefore, despite an incredibly annoying and useless toolbar (Mirar) installing itself in my Internet Explorer and refusing to be uninstalled, and losing all display of images on webpages (related to the toolbar I do not know), and my computer restarting itself repeatedly at random times, and Automatic Updates for Windows being disabled without my knowedge--despite all of that, I am posting from this laptop today. So there. But tomorrow I may be without said laptop since it needs to go to the computer emergency room and I don't know when I'll get it back. If necessary, I will post tomorrow night from the home desktop or C's laptop. Maybe a picture from the booksigning last night.

Sometimes I contemplate life before the Internet, before word processors. I think about typing my culminating Master's paper on a typewriter, and compare that to writing my dissertation on the word processor. Honestly, while pecking away on a manual typewriter is a romantic notion, I'm sold on word processing. Just in writing this post I have corrected probably a dozen or more typing errors as I typed. Of course, were I using a typewriter, I would not be going at the same high rate of speed (speaking of which, thank you to whoever talked me into taking a semester of typing in high school and learning to touch type). Nevertheless, as a writer, I'll take a word processor over a typewriter. Jack and Papa, forgive me.

I also think about the instantaneous, worldwide communication that the Internet allows. Jack painstakingly typed his manuscripts on a manual typewriter, often retyping entire novels, and waited months and months to see his work in print. There was no such thing as an electronic version of one of his novels - the only way to access them was via hard copy. Today, I can type something, press a button, and within hours people as far away as Australia have read it (I still marvel at the international traffic this blog gets).

Indeed, with progress come new challenges. I struggle to understand how the strategy of creating malicious computer viruses meets human needs, but the conspiracy theorist in me thinks perhaps it's all part of a grand scheme to prop up the business of fixing computers after they've been rendered useless by a virus. So the virus creators are being paid, and money is a powerful strategy for meeting a number of human needs: food, water, shelter, and the list goes on. I also acknowledge that creating a malicous virus and seeing it render people helpless may meet needs for power, control, and recognition. I don't agree with the strategy, but I understand the underlying human needs.

In a conversation at The Wharf Friday night I mentioned my computer woes and wished evil on the virus creators (in a most violent way), and my friend reminded me that putting that kind of vibe out there is never a good idea. He knew I knew that, and I was just expressing frustration, but I still wish I had kept that thought trapped in my mind. Better, I wish I didn't have such thoughts--die you evil hackers!--occur to me at all. Sorry. One escaped again, but I moderated it from its original version. That's progress, right?

If you're a virus-creating computer hacker reading this, rest assured that you or your ilk have royally screwed me over and I am going to be without my computer for some period of time while people more accomplished than I attempt to remove your evil seed from my creative womb. Feel better? More powerful? In control?


Now, would one of you please teach me how to infect the main page of every blog on the planet with a direct link to my book on Amazon?

1 comment:

david said...

I could never imagine using a manual typewriter, especially with the way I write. I jump around from topic to topic as they come into my head and i have more things to say, shaping the paragraphs into what they need to be bit by bit and never ever in order.

it's more like sculpting.