To Be Frank, by Frank Edmonds, April 21, 2015

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Computers are wonderful things. Until they go wrong, when they become the hellspawn incarnate. 
And, when you can’t do any of the computer-related things you’ve become so reliant on doing, you bitterly resent the hold they have on you.

And they’re such demanding little beggars, too. Mine had been bombarding me with insistent pleas that I upgrade the operating system. Free upgrade!, it kept telling me, at such regular intervals it must have thought I have the attention span of a gnat.

Now, my friendly neighbourhood computer expert had upgraded my then pretty backward computer earlier in the year, and he chose not to take it as far as this latest version. Hmmm. Upgrade! Upgrade! Upgrade!, said the computer.

But I was having trouble going online. It kept being slow and unresponsive. Perhaps I need to update my browser? That’s in the new operating system! said the computer! Upgrade! Upgrade! Upgrade!

Oh all RIGHT, then!! Finally, I gave in and upgraded.

Guess what? The computer crashed. Spectacularly.

Although the computer told me it had the specs to take the new upgrade, guess what? It was lying. The upgrade was actually damaging the hard drive!

Re-enter friendly neighbourhood computer expert, and four days of blood, sweat (his) and tears (mine) later, and it was all right again. But he had to wipe everything off the computer and reinstall the whole lot again. Thank heavens for back-ups, I say.

I was seething. Mainly at myself for getting to the stage where my life was so utterly dependent on these nasty little tin boxes of hi-tech evil.

I was telling a friend about this, and she said: “But what do you DO on a computer?” This is difficult to explain to a non-teccie. “Everything” doesn’t seem to cut it as an answer, somehow.

She said a younger friend of hers was bemused that she didn’t even have a dishwasher or a microwave, let alone a computer. “What, do you live in a cave?!” the youngster said. Suddenly, I yearned to live in a cave. To throw the computer in the bin, and make do without it. We did once, after all.

But I just can’t. It would be like going back to the Stone Age. But without the fun of Fred Flintstone. You become so used to the benefits and convenience of the computer age. But you burn bridges to the old ways, too. For instance, my rather large music collection is on computer – and I’ve sold many of the originals.

This means, as an eminent philosopher once said, you’re stuffed. Doomed to be forever at the mercy of the tin box in the corner.

Still, it could be worse. The Other Half’s dad fell victim to a particularly nasty computer virus. It locked his machine, and wouldn’t let him do a thing, until he went onto a website and paid to be released. “The irony of it is,” he said, “they haven’t said how much.”

“Oh dear me, no,” I said. “That’s because they want you to enter your credit card or bank details, and then they’ll take every penny they can!”

Well, if all else fails, we can always head off to that cave, I suppose. Yabba dabba do!