My first computer was a TRS80.
That will mean nothing to anyone born after say 1990 or so. But those of you Boomers who were on the cutting edge back in the day know what those weird letters mean. And what a big deal it was when you lugged that big box home from Radio Shack and removed that big box shaped gizmo and set it... wherever there was room to set it.
Pong was the only game it could play, as I recall. Oh, and something called Asteroid, I think. It's been decades. But that first computer was a godsend for writers like me.
I mean, we're talking word processing. No more typewriters. No more wearing a hole in actual paper to erase a typo, or glopping them up with White Out or scraping them off of carbon paper. No more carbon paper, period. I could print an article out as many times as I needed to. Or just send the thing, via email, to an editor. If the editor had email. I'm not even sure I had email yet.
I did have a hacker boyfriend who could make my TRS80 do things the store boughts couldn't. I'd say, "It would be really nice if..." and he would make it so. Those were the days.
Things got a lot more complicated over the years, of course. We got Windows. We got Macs. Because I'd started so early, I was used to tweaking or finding workarounds to new programs that didn't work quite the way they were supposed to. I expected them to be weird. Set aside lots of extra time on Install Day. And backed up everything on floppys, then CDs, then DVDs, then flash drives.
Over time, it did get easier. In fact, I was almost an expert by the time my own girl child got her first computer. She got good at it, too. In fact, she unpacked her last couple and set them up without me. Just called me into her room, grinning, and said, "Ta daaaaaaaaaa!"
I'm a whole lot older now, though. And I've noticed that I'm getting to be as timid about some new stuff as my parents were as they got older. Okay, not quite as bad, but I am more cautious. I'm retired, for one thing. Living on a pension and SSI. And if I trash a computer or cell phone or something, I may not be able to buy a new one for a good long while.
And because most of the newer things I've bought don't set up the way they used to, I usually can't just do them myself anymore. I have to call someone to come work it out for me, or I have to spend hours on the phone with some kid, sometimes a series of kids, trying to walk me through the process.
That never ends well.
So when the little Windows 10 icon popped up in my taskbar, I clicked, read and pondered this thing for a minute or two. I'm at that age when some elders think that official announcements like that have to be obeyed. Especially when they show up at the bottom of a computer screen.
But I did a lot of reading first. And almost every single article warned that Windows 10 should not be installed on "your main computer." So what did I do?
Well, I am still a child of the 60s at heart. So I rebelled, of course. Big time.
First, I upgraded the brand new "convertible" laptop I'd bought that doubles as a tablet, too. And then I let Windows Update upgrade my "mothership" computer, too. The one that has all of my writing and business folders and tax files and the whole nine on it. Without a net. I mean, no backup disks, nothing.
I just did it. Swear to God.
And both computers lived to reboot and say, "Hi" to me, after. All upgraded and spiffy. In minutes, not hours. Without me having to do anything but sit there reading the little, "Just tweaking a few things" messages that show up on the screen during the process.
The danged thing installs itself. Counts down on the screen, lets you know when it's done. And then you go on about your business. And so far, there hasn't been a glitch yet.
Maybe there will be. But somehow, though I've learned over the years to be really, really cautious with Microsoft stuff, I just don't think so. I think they've figured out what freaks us out so much, after all these years. And they managed, just this once, to make sure this system didn't do those things. At least while we're installing.
I'm using it right now, in fact. Been using it for a few days now. It's kinda cute. Nothing amazing, really, though it is truly delightful on the laptop which has my first touchscreen and has shown me just how much I missed not getting one sooner.
I've even put an Android simulator on that one, BTW. So that it can act like my phone and let me play the same games I play on my Samsung whenever I want. Without worrying about my data plan. Hot stuff, huh? Well, maybe for someone my age. No biggie for the digital natives.
The point, though, is that the experts may prove to be right. But so far, Windows 10 has been my kind of upgrade: point, click, done.
So wait if you want. But don't be scurred.
Photo credit: By Jeff Kubina via Wikimedia Commons