When I arrived in San Tan Valley, Arizona, last week and turned on the ancient Dell desktop that we use there, it began informing me that it wanted to be updated NOW.  NOD32, my virus scanner demanded my attention.   My database is 38 days out of date.  So is your freaking operating system.   Run Windows Update.   Windows Update joined in two-part harmony … 27 Critical Updates are ready to be downloaded.   Malwarebytes screamed that a new version and a new data base was available.  When I opened Mozilla Firefox, it informed me an update was available, as did PDF Reader and Flash Player.  Logmein, the remote desktop I use to access my computers when I’m away also asked to be updated.  I spent the first hour tending to the demands of my software.   Arriving home in Anaheim Hills, I got to go through the same process with my desktop here after it had been ignored for a week.

Before I’m deluged with If You Had an Apple comments, let me add that this is my own fault.  All of these programs have an option to automatically download and install.   At my center, I am an old-fashioned computer weenie and I like to know what is being installed on my babies … and when it’s being installed.  Call it superstition if you want. Only once have I had a problem with an automatic update, a Flash Player update that turned out to be a trojan, installing nasties that took about a day to eliminate.   Parenthetically, since I moved to Windows 7, I’ve had no infections.  My point is not to complain but to marvel at where technology has traveled since I encountered my first computer, which filled a room.  Improvements arrive magically from the manufacturer and install seamlessly, rebooting the computer when they are done if I so choose.   Imagine if our other utilities … say cars or appliances … could be updated for free and with no intrusive maintenance guy.

Interestingly, as human beings we have no automatic update mode.  Our parents load us up with their beliefs and values.   They send us to school to learn what we need to function in our society and take us to church to teach us about morality and God.  Our friends toss in bits and pieces of whatever they’ve been taught, along with their own particular brand of street smarts.  Then, we’re off into the world on our own.   Some of our software wasn’t loaded completely.  Some doesn’t fit our particular personality or the experiences we encounter.   Some of what we learned is malware … or it just doesn’t work.  We need regular updates.   Life throws our updates at us through experience and there is no automatic download.   We can learn the lesson the experience offers or we can keep on Doing the same old thing and getting the same old results, a kind of insanity.   Personally, I believe the update is always there if we choose to download it but it’s our choice.   Free will.  That’s one of the reasons Stephen Hawking is wrong when he asserts that we are just computers.  Our ability to choose our updates and how we acquire them is what makes us creative.

So, if you could, would you choose to have automatic updates?

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7 Comments on “Updates”

  1. Not for my computer, and not for my soul. It would be great if everything just ran smoothly and I never had to figure out something confusing or potentially dangerous, but sometimes installing the malware is what teaches us the value of the clean scan. Webroot with Spysweeper, family, friends, some sort of (increasingly muddled but decreasingly conflicted) faith, and self-awareness. Best programs I’ve ever invested in.

    And look at you, posting on a Thursday!

  2. marjulo Says:

    Nope, not for me or my computer either. The journey (with its mistakes) is what life is all about.

  3. Susan Okaty Says:

    I wouldn’t want automatic updates either. Who is to say that the update would actually improve me? I want to be free to choose what goes into me.

    As for the computer updates, George hates all the constant updates on his PC. It takes so long to shut it down because of them. I have a Mac…

  4. sharon Says:

    I am on board with all of you! Life’s lessons has helped me to become who I am. It hasn’t always been pretty but it does seem to be improving with age.

  5. “So, if you could, would you choose to have automatic updates?”

    Yes please. And, I would also like it if my brain & my computer were connected.

  6. territerri Says:

    It’s tempting to say I’d take the automatic updates. Sometimes I look at myself and all the ways I’ve screwed up and all the ways I keep screwing up, even at my age. Sometimes it would seem easier to just automatically be able to get it right.

    Then again, I firmly believe that we’re never to old to keep learning, so I’ll keep trying to get things right.

    But as for my computer, I’ll take the automatic upates.

  7. Well, running Windows 7 here, with automatic updating, is really a necessity for me because being disorganized, forgetful (sometimes deliberate, usually accidental though) and not fully understanding of computer stuff either (not by a long shot) those auto things are a blessing for me. I’d love it if there were auto updates -or at the very least, “Refreshers” for my body and mind too though -especially for the muscles, joints, bones, etc. -that might ease up on some of the aches and pains that come along with age. Oh and the forgetfulness too! Good luck with that.

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