There is Never a Convenient Time for a Software Update

By Gary Cutlack on at

Oh, come off it, Windows. I've just sat down to look at the same internet pages I looked at four minutes ago to see if anything new has happened -- could you have picked a worse time to demand a reboot?

This is literally the most inconvenient thing that's ever happened to me, worse even than the five hours I spent in Tiverton Parkway station due to signal failure in 1996, when the only entertainment available to me was a portable CD player and Pulp's His 'n' Hers. And no, ten minutes from now is not a better option.

Time passes slowly at the best of times when you work on a computer and it's sunny outside, but time is bent completely out of shape when performing a compulsory reboot. Each second of spinning icons and enforced blank screen time feels like a minute, with minutes spanning weeks. I'm not entirely sure of the science behind it, but it seems that those spinning icons generate their own gravitational fields that warp spacetime and make it seem to take ages when boring things are happening.

Sighing repeatedly and heavily can make the process go a little faster, I have learned, especially if you sigh so heavily and frequently that you black out from lack of oxygen and wake up two minutes later with IUYTRE imprinted on your forehead and numb feet.

What can you do? Sit there, waiting for it to configure updates, suffering the indignity of having to use your mobile phone for entertainment and amusement? Why must this happen? Can't you computers use GPS or the webcam or toilet flush data to detect when I'm not in front of the screen and reboot yourself when it's more convenient?

I might have work that was supposed to be done yesterday to avoid doing today, for god's sake. I can't not do work without a computer to not do it on.

If these tech companies want to build a properly smart bloody home, how about starting by performing system updates when I press the on switch on the kettle? At least you can get half the updating process done while I stand in the kitchen looking at my phone.