The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Slow Down

Moore’s Law states that every two years the number of transistors that can be placed, inexpensively, on an integrated circuit will double; this means that every two years the processing speed of computers will double.

Morris’s Law, however, states that no matter how much faster computers get, they will still take the same bloody amount of time to get started. Why is that?

I mean, all I really want is a computer where I switch it on, it goes ‘boop-deep’ like the old BBC Micro Model B, I press a button and instantaneously I’m in Microsoft Word, ready to put off doing any work. Why is that too much to ask?

Instead, the faster computers get, the more kerfuffle they have to go through each time you switch them on. Memory checks. Loading up software that will do bugger all in the background. Scanning for viruses. Searching for updates. Moaning about applications failing to start, there not being enough memory, asking me, ‘do I want to send an error report?’. Reminding me that my printer isn’t switched on. Basically, it takes about as long to get into Word as if I’d loaded it from tape.

It’s like DVDs. In principle, they should mean you can access your movies instantaneously. No more tedious rewinding or spooling through the first minute of blank tape. Instead, you now have to spend even longer than you did with videotapes, enduring some idiot telling you ‘You wouldn’t steal a car! You wouldn’t steal a handbag! You wouldn’t eat a baby! etc’ And there’s logos and trailers and title sequences and other superfluous nonsense you can’t skip.

All I ask from technology is for it to not waste my time. My precious, short time on Earth.

And they take bloody ages to switch off too.

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