9 Dec 2005

The Clark Kentification of Technology

The other day at work I had to plug my digital camera into my computer to pull off a couple of pictures for our graphic designer. Once done, I stared at the screen looking for that little "remove hardware" icon.

Me: "Do you see that thingie that I have to click on before I can unplug the camera from the computer?"

Graphic Designer: "Hmmm ... no ... weird. "

Me: "Hmm ..."

We both sat there staring at the computer not sure what to do next.

Me: "Maybe I'll just unplug it. "

Graphic Designer: "WHAT?!?"

Me: "Well, we can't just leave it plugged in forever - and it's not even giving us the dumb thingie. Maybe it's safe."

Graphic Designer: "Your call, man. Your call."

Silently, cautiously, I stood behind my computer and put my hand on the USB cord that connected the computer to my camera. The designer and I looked at each other in a moment of scared tension. His eyes said "don't do it" but my mind was made up. I pulled the plug. We both leaped to the devices - he to the computer, me to the camera - looking for signs of life. Both were fine. Some 1980's hero music suddenly swelled, we hi-fived and went out for a Budweiser.

How ridiculous is it that we we warranted in our fears? Many a person have destroyed their iPod by detaching it from the computer in mid-charge. The heart-stopping "fatal error" message PCs slam in your face after just a few misclicks and mis-yanks of a devise have stressed out and provided ulcers to countless.

I remember the days when I used to turn off my computer with it's on-off switch. No shutting down, powering down, or safe mode garbage. Just flicking the switch - one minute I'd be playing Burger Time, the next minute the computer would be sleeping. And the computer didn't mind! When you'd start it back up, it didn't give you a bitchy notice of having improperly turned it off followed by a hypocondriac-esque checking of all its systems to see if anything was wrong (and making damn sure that you waited and worried with it).

I bet those computers from the 50s were super hardy too. You could probably toss one into a flatbed of a truck, go 4x4'ing and plug it back in and it would still be as happy as a clam. Bigger than a refrigerator and only able to do one Grade 5 math problem an hour, but at least it could take a shit-kicking - or in the least - handle being unplugged.

2 comments:

Chris 10:32 am, December 09, 2005  

In the case of iPods, I think that there is some writing to somewhere on them - even if you're only charging and not transfering. Perhaps that's the iPod iKiller. On the flip side, a flash drive is perfectly happy to be removed without the "Safely remove hardware" thingie. Well, not in mid-transfer, but when it's idle. USB mice and keyboards are other examples of hardware that are peachy-keen on being unplugged whenever.

As far as not being able to flick your computer on and off any ol' time without being reprimanded by the o/s the next time you boot, that's the fun in using a modern operating system. Prior to total shutdown, said o/s now has kernel-mode drivers that need to tidy up, data that needs to be written to a messy global (in the computer sense and not the world sense) database and so on. Yet, the bastards call it progress! Well it is...sorta ;)

Jen 11:00 pm, December 09, 2005  

You, my friend, are hardcore. :)

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