Hello, and welcome to the second installment of “What is Jen sick and fucking tired of?” This was supposed to be a weekly segment here on the Smash, but I got lazy. This is a blog, after all. “Lazy” is our middle name.
Today, I am sick and fucking tired of automatic software upgrades. I work at an Internet publishing company (yes, there are a few of us left), and I do about 85% of my work on the Internet. All of the applications that allow me to post stuff to our Web sites, for example, are Web-based. So when I can’t use the Internet for some reason, I pretty much can’t work.
Cue AOL Instant Messenger, and their oh-so-helpful automatic software upgrade. (We use IM for work purposes, by the way. Just in case you were going to advise me to solve all my problems by getting to work for real.) Every other week, it seems, I get another little pop-up window when I log on, telling me that my Instant Messenger is hopelessly out of date, but not to worry: with one click of my mouse, I can download the latest version and get the latest smileys and wallpaper and obnoxious little door shut!/door open! noises. This will presumably keep me from being ostracized at work by my peers who remain more current with their free applications.
But I don’t care about that, because my coolness comes from within, or rather not at all. So if it were up to me, I’d never ever upgrade IM. I’d still be using the first version that came on the market, the one where a little woodpecker appears on your screen and taps out your messages on a slate tablet. (Similarly, I still use a cell phone with the magical power of making and receiving phone calls, and not much else in the way of features. It is the size of a sandwich and weighs five pounds. It might have a crank on the back.)
However, you can’t let IM lie fallow on your machine, not the way they’ve got it set up, oh no. After skipping two or three upgrades, you will start to notice that your IM doesn’t work as well as it did a few weeks ago. You won’t be able to see people’s icons at all anymore, or you won’t see a flash when someone is messaging you. Also, that one guy who works at every company and does nothing all day but try out new features on free software will message you incessantly, asking you if you can hear the Star Spangled Banner play while he types.
So I keep having to upgrade. This last time, AOL thoughtfully installed a toolbar with a pop-up blocker that essentially cancelled out half our content management applications. Like a total boob, I sat there for half an hour, waiting for the pop-up window to appear telling me that my content was ready for preview. In vain, alas, in vain.
I can only hope that my new toolbar will cancel out AOL’s next “free upgrade!” pop-up.