Ah, the sweet bliss of upgrading an operating system. A user-experience unmatched in its sublime satisfaction.
Of course there is the initial trepidation, the worry that I will in some way regret the undertaking. What if there’s something about my hardware configuration that can’t handle the demands of a new feature? Do I have a backup of every email attachment, every font, every preference setting? We’re talking about the system after all. Not just some app or browser plug-in. The whole goddamn system! Could it be that is what makes it all so exhilirating? The all-or-nothing, no turning back, full-throttle commitment?
And so I take a breath, I double-click the installation icon, and hope to god this process doesn’t doom me to a week of tech support calls, trips to authorized repair centers, and episodic bouts of rage-filled hyperventilation. Too late now. We’re doing this. The future awaits.
Yes. I accept the terms and conditions, whatever they may be. Whatever rights I may be forfeiting, whatever legal obligations I may be placing upon myself, my brethren, or my progeny, I accept them. I accept them blindly and without concern, for I am not one to lag behind in these restless times of ours. I am not one to tighten the reigns as technology gallops tempestuously ahead, leaving the Luddites and late-adopters in a dusty ditch, as it carries human-kind ever closer to a shining destiny of intra-cranial memory cards and cyber-genetic clone porn.
Yes. That hard drive is an acceptable install location. I possess no other device that can accommodate an installation of this magnitude.
What’s this? My primary language? Why, English, of course. You guessed correctly. My secondary language is English as well.
Next – a more refined question. Do I want the standard installation or would I like to customize it in some way? Should I choose the memory-hogging, but presumably fully-tested default configuration, or should I start arbitrarily de-selecting features just to prove that I’m not some middle-schooler with his first laptop, or a senior citizen who’s grandkids thought a system upgrade would somehow allow us to finally do that video chat thingy. Surely I don’t need the Tagalog language packages, do I? Then again, what if, for instance, I’m approached on LinkedIn by a wealthy entrepreneur who wants me to look over some documents formatted for the Tagalog-speaking audience? It’s just those kind of dopamine-milking considerations that make me wish for a major OS release every day of the week.
Then, after a restart, after a few plain-textured or minimally branded screens that subtly assure me there’s nothing to worry about, that it’s all part of the upgrade process, we begin the great progression of the progress bar. As I wait, studying the animation as it creeps along, as the time remaining changes from 17 minutes, then 11, then back to 24, I find myself reminiscing about my old operating system, all the happy time we spent together, opening and closing windows, scrolling through lists of files, switching leisurely between applications – each interaction made all the more bittersweet by the knowledge that our time together would inevitably end on a day like this one.
Will I miss the old icons, I wonder? Their optimistic glossiness? The way they playfully pretended to reflect the light of the room as they invited me to click? Funny how the old system is somehow already feeling stale and dated, like a VHS copy of Risky Business sitting in the window of a struggling video store, with Tom Cruise, tipping his shades on the cover, fading into a washed-out blue of obsolescence.
But the time for nostalgic reflection lasts only a few seconds these days. If you stop too long to make a joke about the geeky, retro charm of an 8-bit cancel button, you might just miss the next big tech announcement, leaving you two steps behind in the conversation. And before long, the day will arrive when the next joke goes over your head, and on that day, you might as well put on your space invaders t-shirt, grab a handful of flowers and crawl into your casket, my friend, because you have aged-out of the relevant demographic.
The progress bar, almost full now, is a visual indicator of my internal anticipation.
I can already envision myself exploring the 200 new features, admiring the updated aesthetics, and enjoying all the free nanoseconds I’ve gained from the multiple performance enhancements.
And what about these tabs and tags I’ve been hearing about? Am I really going to change my screen habits just to make use of features I never knew I wanted? Of course I am. When that first monkey first noticed a thumb on his hand, did he just use it to pick his nose? Probably. But soon after, he used it to pick up a stick, beat down that guy who stole his bananas, and draw the whole story on a cave wall.
Ah. Installation successful. I can begin enjoying my new operating system.
Wait? What is that elegantly designed notification box trying to tell me? New software updates are available for my computer, would I like to install them now? Oh boy, things just got interesting.
Did I mention that monkey with the thumb was my distant grandpa? Time to make him proud.