Strange noises are coming from the laptop next to me: I look over and see that OH is watching a trailer for Bee Movie dubbed into Old English.
‘What really annoys me,’ says OH when the video is finished, ‘is that they keep saying eu instead of eu.’
‘What instead of what?’ I always get sucked into these conversations and I always regret it.
‘Eu! Instead of eu!’
‘How dare they?’ I mean honestly, when people don’t even pronounce diphthongs in Old English correctly, what is the world coming to? Is nothing sacred? Do Old English vowels mean squat these days?
What with OH remembering Old English, my laptop now has dementia. It was great to get a free model and after installing a hard drive we booted from a pen-drive (incidentally I wonder what folk from centuries past would have made of those terms? A hard drive would be a long carriage-ride over rough terrain, and a pen-drive would be something like a whist drive, only for writers. I ask these questions because I am watching the BBC’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ yet again, and it has set me thinking: how do you explain one age to another? We have the benefit of history in understanding the past, not to mention its literature and art, but how could we ever explain our age to Jane Austen, should she arrive one day in a Tardis-carriage? Impossible.)
Anyway, why does my laptop have dementia? Simple. We have not yet formatted the hard drive because I don’t know how and because the instructions, as ever, are written in language harder to understand than Beowulf. It says this:
Please use your arrow keys to select the unpartitioned drive. Press the appropriate key to create a new partition. You will be asked to set the size of the partitions. Use the default amount unless you wish to create more than one. Select the newly-created partition on which you would like to install the Operating System and press the appropriate key to continue with formatting.
Now to anyone who understands computers this may be clearer than daylight; but whilst I get that you have to select and click and what-have-you, I am hampered by not understanding the terms. What is a partition and why do I want one? What does it do? Why do I need more than one? Why does Linux need more than Windows? I know I could just follow the instructions but without this knowledge I feel I’m stabbing at things in the dark and hoping they’ll work. Why don’t they explain this stuff?
Answer: because they assume you know. They assume that, since you’ve managed to buy the correct hard-drive for your computer, you will understand the technical terms associated with it. But that’s a bit like assuming that because you’ve bought a car you know how the engine works. I think there’s a big gap here and it’s because – according to what I’ve read – Silicon Valley is peopled by young men who don’t have a clue what it’s like not to be young and techno-savvy. And don’t even get me started on older people and computers…
So, due to the unformatted state of said hard-drive, I am booting every day from a pen-drive. And the pen drive forgets everything when it shuts down: all passwords, all add-ons, all downloads and attachments – gone.
I suppose I’m just going to have to ask OH to do the formatting thing.