Coffee heat rising

How Much Time, Lord…

…is freaking wasted wrestling with computer software?

This afternoon, in one tiny household in the middle of one faceless city parked in the middle of a far-flung desert: three hours. That’s this afternoon alone.

I’ve lost track of the number of hours I’ve spent on the phone with Apple Support, to say nothing of the number of hours consumed by driving back and forth to Apple stores, by trying to figure out a problem by myself, by reconstructing lost data…ohhhh good grief.

Seriously: the Apple Support folks are a godsend. Without them, by now I would have picked up a number of expensive gadgets and thrown them across the room, to collide at a high velocity with a wall.

Which, one might speculate, would be counterproductive.

These computers we all have, all the manifold devices most of us tote around with us: they’re wonderful devices. They allow us to perform feats of data entry and calculation that would have consumed our lives had we tried to do them with a typewriter or an adding machine or a spreadsheet. This is because they do these tasks at outrageous speed, with little need for thought from the user.

So….why does riding herd on the damn things still consume our lives?

It is Saturday evening. A weekend. Remember those? Do you remember them as “free times”? I sure do: once upon a time you didn’t spend your weekends working.

Today I was on the phone with Apple from 3 in the afternoon until 6 — three hours — trying to figure out why Apple’s iCloud keeps nagging me that something is wrong. Wrong? Wrong with a password, we surmise. Between me and the two excellent gents I worked with, we changed my passwords at least three times, in three different venues. Finally we got online and got iCloud to accept the result…only to find that iCloud decided to quit sending my email to my computers.

The second of said gents, gazing upon the little mystery through a direct connection to my computer, quietly performed a bit of prestidigitation and…zap! Undid whatever was done and disappeared both the conundrum and the endlessly nagging, pointless messages.

In the course of this, I lost track of what we were doing, became hopelessly confused, thought I had lost the new passwords, discovered they were not lost after all, and then realized…waitaminit…these passwords we’re using that are now magically working? They’re the same damn passwords we started out with! And yea verily, they’re still all different.

That’s right. We spent three hours farting around and ended up right where we were at the outset. Only with the software inexplicably working.

For the nonce. We’ll see what it’s doing by the break of day.

Here’s what I think about this:

Yes. The 21st century’s astonishing technology does speed our work miraculously. Makes it easier to perform, by far. Makes our product look far more professional than most of us used to be able to produce with a typewriter and a photocopier and a calculator. BUT….no savings in work time ensues.

Vast numbers of hours may be saved in the performance of routine and mind-numbing tasks. But do we use that saved time in worthwhile pursuits like watching soap operas and shopping for underwear? Nooooo….

Hell, no! Any and all free time is devoured by learning new and unnecessary changes in the software and hardware, by trying to keep the software running, and by figuring out and fixing whateverthefuck is wrong when the damn things go down. In fact, I’d venture to say most of us spend more time working, when you add in the time required to learn, relearn, and re-relearn the endlessly morphing technology and in keeping it running, than we ever did at work with our antediluvian tools.

So confusing and baffling are these ubiquitous devices that even the experts get confused. Two of them, over the past few weeks, have told me that the reason for the mysterious nuisance messages from iCloud was that the passwords on my two Mac computers are different. The key, they felt, lay in syncing passwords. Ideally, I gathered, the same password should be used for both computers. And possibly it should be used for iCloud, too.

After all that wrestling to make this happen, after finding a gigantic glowing golden FAIL at the end of that rainbow, this evening the guy who answered the phone at Apple said…well…noooo… The computers’ passwords do not have to be the same.

Make up your minds, guys!

This one, it appears, was right. We ended up with different passwords for the MacBook, the aging iMac, and iCloud…and with the click of a couple of buttons on his ends, he magically disappeared the iCloud problem.

What the problem ultimately was, I have no clue. Nor do I want to have a clue.

THIS is not what I got a Ph.D. in English literature and history for…

The Chaos Hangover

The older you get, I think, the harder it is to deal with stress. And this past two weeks of unending techno-chaos have been nothing if not hideously stressful. Last night I enjoyed a fine hangover from that stress-storm…again, I think.

Along about 2:30 in the morning, a bright flare of pain and sweat woke me up. Gut pain, chest pain, shoulder ache…hard-to-tell pain.

Heart attack? Certainly could be. Chest pain and sweating are classic heart attack signs.

On the other hand(s):

  • It was 80 degrees in the house and I was under three layers of blankets.
  • The pain seemed to be on the outside of the ribs, not inside, not under the ribs, not under the sternum, not under the clavicle. Earlier this week I wrenched that shoulder again, wrestling the dog around the ’hood — the same shoulder I dislocated a couple years ago. Damn thing has been hurting for a couple weeks, every time I wake up.
  • The mastectomy scars hurt, in a low-key way. All the time. On the outside of the ribs. Press anyplace around that area, three or four inches to the north or south of the elegantly disguised scar, and it hurts. So if I’m sleeping in some kind of odd position, likely I’m going to wake up with my chest hurting. On the outside of the ribs, not inside, not under the ribs, not under the sternum, not under the clavicle….
  • Stress invariably creates some sort of malign hangover, usually of an unpredictable nature. And stress, frustration, time suck, and anguish have haunted every waking and sleeping moment of my existence for the past two or three weeks. I’ve lost 2/3 of my business base, my computers are a jumble, I can’t figure out how to use iCloud effectively (and don’t believe it can be used the way I need to have it work), and I feel generally f*cked over. In a big way. No wonder I’m having some kind of little tizzy…
  • Interestingly, sitting up eventually elicited a fine burp: gas! Maybe…ya think?…just maybe I shouldn’t have swiggled down that half-a-cup of cheap red wine right before turning off the light and pulling the pillow over my head.

Yes, I could call 911. They would not take me to the Mayo, where my doctor practices and which is the only local hospital in which I have anything resembling confidence. They would take me to the hospital of their convenience, where I decidedly do not want to go. And want or no want, I have soooo HAD it with doctors and doctoring, I would rather die right now today than go through any more of that. And no, my friends, I do not exaggerate.

Get up; repair to the hall closet. Chew a couple of vile Gaviscon tablets. As usual, this stuff has no effect other than to make me hate my taste buds. Remember the ranitidine stashed in the closet. That’s Zantac. Drop one of those. After about 30 or 45 minutes, this stuff seems to work.

Evidently not about to die, climb back into bed around the sleeping dog.


a) Quit drinking as a stress control strategy.
b) Test blood pressure sometime after sunrise; if systolic is over 140, call the quack on Monday. Maybe.

Well, come the dawn, the BP numbers are a little high: average 137/86.

On the other hand:

  • It’s hot.
  • I drank half a bottle of wine yesterday afternoon.
  • And then I spent half the night wrestling with the question of how to copy data from DropBox and from iCloud to Documents, whence we know for sure that Time Machine will copy it. It appears very likely that TM does not copy iCloud. Wouldncha know it. There is a LOT of data stored to these two fine thunderclouds…so much, in fact, that the MacBook just informed me that it doesn’t have enough space to absorb another gulp of this trash.
  • I hate loathe and despise taking my blood pressure, almost as much as I hate loathe and despise watching some underling in a doctor’s office do it wrong. That sentiment alone is enough to drive up one’s numbers.


At any rate, planning a strategy for organizing and transferring all this data was quite the little project…as in “took two hours to figure it out in any rational way.”

Most of my stuff is now deleted from DropBox. It took two full days and then some to transfer this data over to iCloud, an apparent exercise in futility. Copying from iCloud to the MacBook’s hard disk only took a couple of hours this morning…but of course I can’t get it ALL on the hard disk, because the MacBook is now chuckablock full.

Next: run Time Machine to back up the MacBook, thereby saving this data in perpetuity. In fact, do a TM back up to not one but two external hard drives…hope to God the hard drives are large enough. Once this stuff is saved, delete all the really old, “archived” debris that no one, myself included, cares ever to see again. This should free up some space on the MacBook.

Then get into iCloud and delete sh!tloads of data, which has about maxed the space I’m paying for. A lot of this stuff is archived business and financial documents, which really need only to be saved in a couple of places — a backup drive and the MacBook. But other than that material, much of the remaining detritus can be deleted without much risk.

How do I hate this sh!t? Let me count the ways.

I am soooo sick of technohassles! Once again, another entire day is going to be spent watching machines grinding away. No work, paying or otherwise, is going to get done. I am going to be frustrated and angry by the time the day ends, and once again I will go to bed frustrated and angry. Which no doubt contributes to things like waking up at 2:30 in the morning with a hair-raising bellyache.

Please, God: send me a patient little quarterhorse, about 50 head of cattle, and 2000 acres of upland grass country.