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Shifting Landscapes

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Shifting Landscapes
A blog on how my world changed to become more the same

Recently, some circumstances changed which required a restructure of my mental and physical computing environment. I didn't know why it seemed to happen as suddenly as it did, but suddenly my “to-do” list blew out to a few A4 pages worth.

As I sat there in the aftermath, my head swarming in a daze, I wonder why I implemented certain choices. Why did I expand my available workspace? Why did I set up a 6-year old computer as my main workstation (with a few “upgrades”, of course) – especially when I have a nice fancy one I built only a year ago? Why did I make the conscious decision to scrap all the learnings and experiences (that come with learning how a new operating system works) and choose the old way once again?

I didn’t know the answers to these questions, and so I wondered why I even made the decisions I did. One thing was for sure, though – once the whole chain of events had been set in motion, I pictured the end-goal with great clarity, and I did not deviate from the path. And another, too – I’m happy with the final result. Here I am questioning myself over whether or not it was worth the hassle of time and expense to setup the place as I did, when deep down inside, “I like it. I am pleased with the work I have done.”

In a world that changes far too fast and all is but soon forgotten, I instantly craved stability. I wanted to set things up as they are, so in another 6 months time, it’s still the same. Same 6-year old computer – same programs installed – same method of doing things, of emailing, sorting, filing, following-up, reading, learning, creating, posting, enjoying.

And then it all hit me – harder and faster than it confused me. I wanted stability in a changing world. I have lived my life and learnt all of my skills based around the fact that computers are simply unreliable. I can, of course, argue about the unreliability of computers, but setup right and treated well, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t last for years. Of course, I’ve seen both sides of the equation. Even when it has been setup right and treated very well, everything just goes wrong all the time. No hard and fast answer – no simple warranty-honoured component replacement and all is good – there’s just something kind of wrong about it all.

So now I have this 6-year old beast as my workstation. I was all too happy to completely format my Ubuntu installation on the thing (hours and hours of work to understand and implement), for an old XP Home install. Upgrade to Service Pack 3, install the original Office 2002 suite, set it up like I remember it was when my parents first bought it. My old XP computer never behaved like this one. If it’s still going, the first computer I ever owned myself from new would be turning around 3 years old by now – but this 6-year old beast is just working better.

In the other room is last year’s beast – my ultra-quick gaming rig. It has a nice processor with a hefty overclock, screaming 8800GT graphics card, and all the comparable components to make it a well-rounded, great-performing computer. There is absolutely no area in which it doesn’t kick the living daylights out of this 6-year old beast - except, perhaps, electricity consumption. So which one am I typing on right now? Why did I prefer the old over the new? Not only that, it just didn’t feel right until the new one was turned off.

So now all the preliminary steps have been fulfilled, and off I go on my journey. Where am I going? What will I see there? What will I do there? What will I say there? What will I hear there? How will I feel there? What will I learn there?

Hope to see you there. :)

It's funny, the more I proof-read this before submission, the more ties I can draw in to it with my personal non-computing life... Weird. I hope you enjoyed my first-ever-attempt at a blog.

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