I will admit that I am not the most tech-savvy person you will ever meet. I am not always a tech-slouch (e.g., I knew enough to get this super amazingly awesome new-fangled MacBook), but mostly I'll go and do things like select my new cell phone based exclusively on the technological fact that it comes in pink. You may have also noticed that it took me about a year-and-a-half to get my blog redesigned, and that was with the help of three separate professionals. My stereo blinks 12:00 at me. (Some might attribute this fact to laziness rather than lack of technical know-how, but that might be splitting hairs.) Even my apartment radiator seems to require more technical expertise than I possess, despite its having been built circa 8 B.C.
But the point is, even if my tech savviness is questionable, I am not a complete and utter dumbass. I mean, yes, I have my (obvious) limitations...but I can, overall, for the most part, in a very general sense, get around technology okay.
Or so I tell myself. And then I go and have a run-in with Microsoft that makes me think maybe? Maybe I do not know anything.
When I decided I should start extricating all facets of my life from my old laptop (a Sony Vaio running Windows XP, for those of you who are keeping score), I decided I should also probably try and delete a whole lot of stuff and clean up the computer and make it inhabitable for the next owner*, should there be one. I thought also I should do things like ensure the thing is free of viruses and spyware and maybe also "optimized."
Now, right. I don't know what "optimizing" something actually involves, but I feel pretty confident that when something is "optimized," is it made "better" than it was before. (And I guess cool tech folks couldn't very well call the process "betterizing," huh?) I also feel pretty confident that I couldn't tell an optimized hard drive from a non-optimized ("sub-better") hard drive if my life depended on it.
But whatever. Because while I was rummaging through the bowels of my six-year-old laptop performing random acts of optimization, my computer propositioned me.
Would you like to defragment your hard drive now?
Hmmm. Again, I have no idea what defragging** one's hard drive really means or why one would want to do it, but I DO know one thing for sure: when Windows*** propositions you, it's not very good at taking "no" for an answer.
[So if you want to know where my tech-savvy really comes into play, it's in decoding the subtext of Windows prompts.
In the world of Microsoft, any question that begins with "Would you like to..." is code for "you'd better." i.e.:
"Hey, User. We spent a ton of money building this application so that you don't have to worry your pretty little head over it. Hush now, don't fret. You don't really want to hit Cancel. Deep down, you know that you don't have any preference that we haven't pre-determined for you... and that the only reason you are thinking about clicking Cancel is because you want to feel like you're the one in control. But, User, what would you do with that control? Do you even know? Do you really want to fight with us about this every time you try and use this application "your" way? Of course you don't. Just click on Okay and let the Wizard take over. Shhhhh."
Yes, I have learned not to argue with Windows and its "Would you like to..." ways. The few times I got uppity and said "no, I would NOT like to" I paid the price. I still don't know where my iTunes application actually lives.
And while I'm on the subject of decoding Windows prompts, I believe that when Windows asks, "Are you SURE you'd like to..." it is actually laughing at you. Sort of along the lines of saying:
"Haha. You are SO going to fuck yourself royally if you do that. What could you possibly be thinking? LOL. No, no, fine. You go ahead. I dare you. I'm actually kind of interested in seeing how you react. I'm betting you'll start crying in under ten minutes. Seriously. I'm ready when you are, just hit OK..."]
All this boils down to is that I said yes. I went and I clicked OK. OK, Windows, defrag the shit out of my laptop. Work your magic! I thought. And I was proud because I was doing something that sounded technical and right and proper and like it would totally betterize my machine.
And then when I was provided with a status message, I realized I still don't understand a single goddamned thing about Windows or Microsoft or maybe anything. I mean, here's how I thought it should go:
It says Red = fragmented files
Okay! So then I think that since we are DE-fragmenting the drive, we must be going after the red files. We DO NOT WANT red files. Thus:
Red = bad
And! I continue to assign my simplified pink-phone logic here and determine that if red is bad, I must want LESS RED in order to optimize my hard drive:
Defrag = less red
This all makes lots of sense.
And then I noticed that my version of "sense" and Microsoft's version are not so much in alignment.
Does that look like my computer will be betterized to you? Or do you ALSO notice that there...um...seems to be more red in the "after" bar?
*God. Isn't moving from one computer to another a LOT like moving? Except, um, lighter?
**I have been around enough tech folk in my life to know it is called "defragging." I can use the knitting term "hank" in context, too. Doesn't mean I know what the fuck either of them really means.