Technology Survivor

A 20-year history of attempts at data back-up After two decades of computer use, I've realized most of my experiences with hardware and software have been so poor that I feel like a technology trauma survivor. 

How many hard drive crashes from high-end computers from top-of-the-line brands have I endured?  Two boxes full of 3.5-inch floppy disks, CDs, Zip disks, and flash drives reveal the history of my attempt to guard against inevitable data loss disaster.  How many software packages have I purchased on floppy disks and CDs, only to install them and see the dreaded blue screen?  How long have I had to wait for the network administrator at our company or organization to troubleshoot operating system, software or hardware problems? 

Countless hours and days of costly and lost creative production.

A technology display at the NewVa Corridor Technology Council (NCTC) Gala helped me remember some good software times.  When Microsoft Word for Windows arrived and I moved to it from WordStar, I thought, "Word thinks like I think," and it helped me create in ways I never could have imagined.  With Microsoft FrontPage web site software, I was reminded  of making scrapbook pages as a child, writing words in colored crayons and pasting in magazine cut-outs with white paste.

But my all-time best software experience was playing Myst with my mother on her Apple Macintosh while visiting her when she became ill.  From just seeing an illustration of the game, I can hear the music and feel such a sense of wonder and awe.

When I returned home, I bought Myst for the PC.  It stuttered, stopped, then crashed my computer.

A more recent experience with a video screenshot software download, which will remain nameless, resulted in, gee, what a surprise, the crashing of my computer.  Even the uninstall didn't work.  The word from tech support on that one:  "Maybe you need to reinstall your operating system."  Un-be-lievable.

I don't do downloads anymore.  I don't buy software to install.  Or I do it very, very rarely.  What's on my laptop is its operating system, the software that came with the laptop from its vendor, Norton, Microsoft Office, some Adobe Reader stuff, some iTunes stuff, things I'm not thinking of now, probably a few unknown things, and that's it.  That's because when this laptop crashes, which it will, I've kept the reinstall tasks few in number to get its replacement laptop operational ASAP.

To paraphrase the quote from Dr. Eliot Engel I used in this post:  I know it's going to be bad.  I just wait to see how bad it's going to be.

For this technology survivor, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), is balm.

At the essence of trauma is a sense of helplessness and powerlessness.  As a company owner, when I use SaaS for my business operations, I am not helpless or powerless.  I don't have to download software, make it work, maintain a network, or hire a network administrator (all of whom, in my experience, have been expert and helpful and, therefore priceless - and over-worked).  I pay set amounts, for which I can budget, for other people in other companies to create and maintain and upgrade and debug software, to keep the servers running, and to answer my questions when I need tech support. 

I get to use software.  It don't feel used by it.

I'm still not at the point of laughing when my computer crashes from a hardware issue.  I know to just go get a new one and upload my backed up files from my Seagate FreeAgent (easier than floppies!) and start where I left off.  When my computer locks up, I am learning to be amused.

The lock-up is only because I've got too many browser windows and SaaS programs running at once.  I'm a surviving, thriving power user.

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