I want my computer to work and work well. The same is true for my websites, personal blogs, applications. When I was younger, and when I had more time to putz around on my computers, there wasn’t a very precise method I’d use to make decisions about what I’d install, how I’d try to use it, or why I’d bother. I’m much more picky today…for a few reasons.
My time is more valuable today than it was when I was in school. Mainly: there’s less of it free to me, so the time I have on the computer, non-work related, is precious. I really wish I had the energy to spend an hour or two per day checking out new stuff online…but sadly, after 10 or more hours in front of a computer screen at work, I’m not too excited to sit behind the warm glow of my netbook. It happens, but I get irritated rather quickly if things aren’t working.
I’ve grown wary of things that might screw up my system. One of my first such experiences was installing a desktop mod that was going to replace the explorer.exe application in XP (not to be confused with Internet Explorer…I mean the core windows experience: Taskbar, system tray, start menu, etc). I installed this alternative UI, which crippled my machine. It took hours to get it back in action. Obviously this is an extreme case since it was an aggressive change to core functionality, but even benign applications carry a dark side to them…it’s tough to know how much they’ll impact a machine. I stay much more careful than I did before.
The time I’ve spent in the past has taught me that there is a LOT of awful software floating around out there. One of the big differences today when examining this is that instead of downloading software to install, we’re creating new login credentials for another Web 2.0 site. Many of these have great concepts, but don’t follow through on making the experience exactly what it needs to be.
These factors influence a handful of digital dreams that guide the computing choices I make (OS, core applications, hardware, security, backup). I know what they are and how they feel, but formalizing them has proven to be very difficult. I keep looking to a ready-made solution that lifts the weight of computing endeavor self-management off my shoulders…but I’m afraid I’m a little too picky for that to work. It’s a bit like trying to describe a dream I had to a friend; I know what I saw, how it felt, and what it was like, but it’s immensely difficult to explain the experience. That said, I’ll be doing my best to convey the underpinnings of a worthy digital experience and will be posting them here, which will give you a better idea of what I’m striving for.
I wish I could post them all right now…but they’ll be coming slowly over time because I want to make sure I include enough detail to make the dream clear.