IT ball and chain

After a very intensive year (which means a lot of work and a minor amount of sleep) at least I have been on vacation a few weeks this summer (in chunks). For two weeks I totally abstained to use a computer. I only used the smart phone from time to time for a phone call or checking mail / searching something in the internet (in total not more than approximately 2 hours) or reading the news. That has (again) increased my awareness that a computer does not always increase the quality of your life. Coming home I experienced some of the biggest annoyances of IT:
  • Maintenance work
    • System and application updates - they take a lot of time and attention (e.g. permission check on Android during application updates).
    • Declutter and free space on drives (to download pictures from the camera to the computer in my case) or on Dropbox to get the pictures uploaded that my wife took with the smart phone.
    • Delete spam or less interesting emails.
    • Make secondary manual backups.
    • Fix hardware defects (change old-age harddisks etc).
  • Trouble-Shooting
    Be it end-user support or administrative support. Errors may happen during updates, some passwords might be expired while you have been away for too long without logging in, some features (after an update) suddenly not working any more as you expected or - after not using for a while - you might not remember well how to accomplish a task seldom needed.
  • React to changes in IT world
    In my case during the updates on my mobile devices I have seen that many applications do want new permissions regarding device ids and call information. So the first action was abort a lot of updates and search the internet for possible reasons and for options to restrict this alarming trend against privacy. Lately there were plenty of news causing administrators to take action, like the SSL heartbleed bug or other alarming information, e.g. leaked by whistle blowers (like Edward Snowden). Not to speak of more long-term changes like technology shifts (those do not happen just during a single vacation, but while reviewing the past year you might notice a trend that needs to be evaluated).
The longest-running tasks during my vacation were washing dishes (no dishwasher in the rented appartment), sweeping and disemboweling fish (take out guts) as well as brushing away the fish scales (adhesive bonded onto the wall), but none of them took longer than 45 minutes. Last weekend I tydied up the storage room in about an hour. In my IT work I can be very happy if something can be done under an hour.

And now take the annoyances mentioned above and multiply with the amount of devices you have... - I fear the time, when even my washing maschine needs to download updates and doing reboots before it can start washing - super annoying...

As a child, one of the main reasons why I got fascinated by the computers, was the fact, that it can help you making a lot of tasks faster and more efficient. Nowadays you have to pay attention that the total cost of ownership with maintenance work together with the velocity of change does not outweigh the benefit of the automation.

Related post: The truth about software.