When was the last time you upgraded something major on your computer? This could include getting a whole new machine, switching operating systems (Windows 98 to Windows XP), or maybe installing a large new piece of software like Microsoft Office XP (2003).
This week at work, our “I.T.”(Information Technology) department upgraded my computer. I used to use Windows 2000 Professional and Office XP (2002). Today they brought back my upgraded machine with Windows XP Professional and Office XP (2003).
Everything has a new “look and feel.” Even the colors on the screen are different. I approached things with a sense of anticipation, hoping for enhanced capabilities and ease of use. I felt somewhat like a child with a new toy.
Then I started up Word. My I.T. guy was watching me. The following is how our conversation went.
Where are my data files?
“Oh, they’re on a network drive now so they’ll be backed up every day. It’s safer that way.”
But they’re arranged differently, and the program doesn’t know where to look for them automatically like it used to.
“Yeah, you’ve got to set all the defaults to the new values. It won’t take long.”
OK. I’ll work on that later. I guess I’ve got to put all the icons back on my desktop and set up the “quick start” bar over by the system tray (the place where the clock sits), right? How do I do that? Windows XP is different from Win 2K.
“Here. You just right-click on the program file, hit “send to…desktop” and that will put a shortcut on the desktop. Then you drag it down to the quick start area.”
Wait! You did that too fast. Show me again... OK, I think I’ve got it now. I’ll do the rest of them. Let me check my emails... Uh, where are my old email files?
“They’re on the network drive too. Let me show you how to access them…”
But now my address book is messed up. Where are all the contacts?
(Frustration beginning to show) “On the network drive, like everything else. Remember? That way it’s backed up.”
Yeah, yeah. OK. But what happened to the “Calendar Creator” program I use? I need to update our shift schedule for the rest of the year.
“Oh, that application is obsolete. You’ll have to find some other way to do that.”
But it worked fine, and I was used to it. (Here I got a sour look.) OK, OK! Progress is good… I guess. But how about Microsoft “Org Chart?” I use that to update our organization charts and I need to do that this week.
“I don’t know about that program. It’s from Microsoft, you say?”
Yes. It’s part of Microsoft Office. It creates a file with a “.opx” suffix.
“Well, let me look through the knowledge base. Oh, OK, it says here they discontinued that with the 2003 version. But don’t worry; you can re-create those charts using this engineering flow-charting software we’re licensed to run. It’s pretty high-end, but you’ll figure it out. It’s easy once you get the hang of it.”
(MY frustration beginning to show) Why can’t I change the defaults on these programs like I used to?
“Oh, only an administrator can do that. It’s a new security feature.”
But I just want to do it on THIS MACHINE, not the network. Are you telling me I’m not listed as an administrator on my own MACHINE?
(A skeptical look) “Well, I GUESS I can set you up on your own box. But I’m not supposed to.”
Look, this is supposed to be a personal computer. It’s supposed to be a tool to help me do my job. Why are all these changes making it harder and take more time than the old setup?
“C’mon, man, get with the program. These new apps have a lot of features the old ones didn’t have. They’re BETTER.”
But look at this! I can’t access Lydia’s computer like I used to. We set up some shared folders so I could save stuff directly to her machine. Fix it so I can do that again, please.
“Sorry. You’ll have to email those files to her as an attachment, and then she can open and save them. It’s all part of our security measures to make sure there’s no unauthorized access to our network.”
But we can password protect my access! How could anybody get unauthorized access to anything important if all I want to do is save stuff to certain folders?
“Well, I don’t know, but we can’t take a chance.”
I composed myself. It took a while.
Several hours later I was still struggling to get some of the same functionality and “ease of use” I had enjoyed on my old system.
I’m all for progress. I’m just not sure that my Dictionary of the Moment would define it the same way as my I.T. Department folks right now.
The “DotM” definition might be just a little off-color.