Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Of Bugs and Hidden Powers

I couldn't sleep because my spouse was making that strangled, snoring-esque sounds that he's only started making in the past week.  Sigh.  But I thought I'd get up and get some writing done.  I had thought about a blog post that talked about how my knowledge of Word is like my knowledge of my brain--I know that it can do so much more than I know how to make it do.

This morning, alas, my home computer is not doing anything with Word.  Insert a heavy sigh here.

My laptop computer is doing what it did in late March.  The desktop won't load properly, and thus, anything that loads from the desktop, like Word, isn't loading.  It's like it starts, then the computer starts over again trying to start it--it looks sort of like a rolling over of the screen.  Sigh.

Yesterday at work we found out that all syllabi, not just the ones for courses being taught in the Fall, must be put into the new template.  Luckily I already have a syllabus for every class in the catalog.  I just need to migrate some material into the new template.

I've been working with colleagues who are having trouble with the template.  In this process, I've been amazed to realize all that the Word program can do.  I just use it as an easier typewriter.  I suspect many people do.

The software program has so many powers that are so hidden to so many people.  Of what use is a powerful program, if it's so vast and complex that most of us can't access its power?

This morning, I'm feeling the same way about my laptop.

Maybe tonight I'll try to take the laptop back to an earlier point where it was working.  The last time I had to deal with this, I finally had to use the Refresh function--everything was in place, except for a few programs I had loaded.  In some ways, it wasn't a big deal to reload them.  But there was anxiety about the whole process.

It makes me wonder about the bug that's in my computer.  Why does it get hung up in this way?  Am I going to be dealing with this every few months?

I think ofthis paragraph in this post by poet Dale Favier, who has spent a lifetime in the computer field:

"As I wander on through life, observing various human endeavors, I've come to realize that everything is like that. Nothing has really been built to specs. Nothing quite operates as advertised. The flaws are various and infinite. All you can do is fix a few of the most glaring problems. The rest will have to stand. You can see it in software, because software is uniquely observable: it does exactly the same thing, over and over again, and it breaks down readily into tiny discreet steps. But everything works that way."

Somehow, when it comes to software or hardware, this idea doesn't comfort me.  When it comes to self-improvement, it is somewhat soothing.  The rest will have to stand!  That's such a radical idea in so many ways.

And here's an even more radical idea:  sometimes the flaw is the very thing that the world needs.

But it's hard to believe that about my little laptop.  I can't work with a flawed computer that can't access my files.  I want the computer to heal itself.  I suspect that it won't.

Maybe I'll discover that I have hidden powers.  May they be revealed!

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