I love computers so much so that if I could marry one I might just do it. I seem to have more of a relationship with them than I do with my partner. In fact, I think my partner would love it if I was as doting, caring, patient and passionate with her as I was to my computers. I don't think I have ever held my gaze at my woman as long as I have held it at a flat screen. I don't think I have ever been as patient with my woman when she's getting dressed to go out as I am with my computer when it's cold starting programmes in the morning. Sometimes I bang my hand on my desk when the computer manages to get something right, but how often do I slam my hand on the table and compliment my woman when she gets the schnitzel and roast potatoes right?
Most men really are arseholes. We do things to our computers we would never dream of indulging our women with. We prune and clean them of unwanted programmes, we arrange our icons and put everything neatly back where we found it. We run our desktops like we might run a great craftsman's tool stand, where our frequently used files are always where we need to them to be, orchestrated in a beautiful pastiche of videos, excel spreadsheets, images, word documents, applications and... sometimes.... pornography. Yes in fact, where we perhaps let our women down in terms of revealing ourselves we make up for this in our desktops. What's that you say ladies? You want a robust dynamic man with a hint of mystery whose a good communicator? Well just look through his desktop and you will find he's got all sorts of hidden files, that he's both a man of passion and savagery, daring but calculated, mysterious and yet for the most part he's open like a book if you know how to search his folders.
And amongst men themselves there is a great deal of comradeship and respect that can be earned just by using a friend's computer and looking at how he organises himself. Recently at a friend's house I was privileged enough to be able to use his computer to show him a product I had found on the web. The respect I had for him was only made greater by the telling functionality and speed of his computer coupled with the organisation of his file systems. I felt like I was staring straight into a beautiful mind which was part stiff compartmentalised British order, part German precision and a small amount of Salvador Dali-esque flamboyance and surrealism thrown in to boot. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if a man runs his desktop badly and I am fortunate enough to be able to have a look at it, there is a strong chance I may not do business or continue my friendship with said person.
The tells are quite obvious for those that fall into the category of 'I don't think this person warrants my friendship'. Such things are stacking your desktop page with a mound of icons and including programmes that look obscure and unused is the first sign. Opening up a web browser bar and seeing it full of third party add ons and obscure toolbars is the second. Noticing that the computer is sluggish and unresponsive because it has been stacked with a ridiculous number of programmes is the third. Then there is the way a person files their music, dates their pictures, descriptions of folders, non linear folders, an absence of chronology to work completed and finally, the most interesting one of them all for me, the choice of photo for the desktop background.
How often have I opened a computer to find a daughter, a son, a family photo, a travelling photo or a trophy fish photo obscurely and poorly placed in the centre of the screen with a whole bunch of dead space around. It's the moment I think 'does this person have any appreciation for the aesthetic value of the desktop background?' For myself I choose an artwork I managed to photograph at the Musee D'Orsay in Paris but occasionally I switch out. You ought to have some great photos for your desktop background as it's probably the most viewed thing you will look at during the day.
All of this spew I write because I do have a point. The other day my computer had become extremely sluggish and was behaving like a Greek donkey. That is, it was not only being stubborn but occasionally it would altogether just stop working. I was very sad. This desktop had been my companion for so long and we had achieved so much together that I was feeling like it was the end of a marriage. I was considering how I would move my stuff out of the desktop and go set myself up on a new computer. I was considering my options and what it would cost. What would I get out of my new computer? Was it time to call last drinks? Was I going to have the same problems with the new computer? Could I not just make it work, even if just for the sake of the files and preferences we'd created together? It was still a computer was it not? It had a processor, ram, a solid state drive? Why now? Did I just try to thrash it too hard? There's only so much you can keep asking the same desktop to do until it breaks? What was the last programme that broke the back of it?
Man was I sad. Nostalgic even. I remembered the first day I brought her home and how when she turned on everything was working and she even came with a 3D blue ray player and the biggest screen I'd ever seen. She was the best looking Shiela I'd ever come across too, lighting up in all the right places and making all sorts of quiet noises that made me think she was a deep thinker. We'd photographed so much together, we'd watched so many movies, we'd seen Windows go from craptastic to somewhat excellent. We'd seen the Macs come and go and we'd seen so many people try to match my beauty but they never quite got there which meant I never felt compelled to stray.
Here we were, six years in. So much water under the bridge.
I went to the local computer store. The salesman showed me brand spanking new screens, some were curved, others were bigger in size, some had better resolution, more ram, bigger hard drives, newer features. Some were more expensive than my Shiela was, some were cheaper. They were dazzling, beguiling, seductive - but none seemed to have all the things my old Shiela had.
The same way that married men and women managed to find love again is perhaps the way I saved my desktop. I went looking for what seemed to be bogging her down, my Shiela. On the spec sheet she had everything that Microsoft said she needed to run Windows 10. It was about finding out what was causing her to misbehave and it ended up being very simple. She had been attacked by ram sucking programmes that were running in the background of which one in particular, a reputable anti-virus software suite and a set of ancient programmes that were no longer being used or needed which were still operating in the background. Through a few uninstalls coupled with some regedit deletions and with a run of a very thorough malware programme, I was able to get my girl back up and running in a manner which resembled by old flame.
If there is a lesson to be learned, then this moron thinks he might be able to process it. I have decided to try the same thing in my home life. If we can try and untangle our home lives, remove the unnecessary pressures, work out what's in our lives that's malware, take out the distractions which prevent us from browsing this world freely, we might just have a chance. But, more importantly, there was a reason you chose to get a certain style of desktop to start with and switching out to a newer one might solve a few problems for today but in the long run you might get caught up in the same dilemmas only you'll also be paying for in by way of monthly installments. For the time being, I've decided I am going to look after my Shiela.