Domestic violence

There’s been a few high profile cases of domestic violence in New Zealand recently (see Veitch opens up over violence shame and Ex-partner tells of fight with Fox). I don’t want to comment on these here (except to congratulate our Prime Minister with her balanced statement that “it is never right to hit your husband or wife”).

No, I want to raise an issue which must be relevant to many New Zealand households. This is the constant taunting and ridicule, the frustration of individual ambitions and pleasure, even the destruction of one’s honest attempts at creativity which is a common experience for many of us. Its this sort of constant provocation which can cause people to ‘lash out’ – and for most of us there is no-one to turn to for help.

Even when the situation doesn’t precipitate actual physical violence victims of this provocation can suffer emotional damage as a result of constant feelings of frustration – even rage.

Computer rage

I’m talking, of course, about rage resulting from technical provocation by some of today’s household devices.

Who hasn’t thrown their TV, video or DVD recorder remote across the room? How many of us have actually lashed out and physically attacked the TV set or recorder?

Even worse, in my experience, is the continual provocation of the home computer. How often do we lose information, carefully and painfully entered over a period, to a computer ‘crash’? And there’s no one to turn to. Has anyone tried to contact Microsoft for help with their operating system. At least at work there is the IT department. And if you have problems with your spouse you can get counselling. But with the home computer you are on your own.

The most recent straw which almost broke the camel’s back for me was the latest Windows XP security update. These happen automatically – the problem is that this one automatically prevented any further contact with the internet. Restores to return to the pre-update setup were inevitably followed by re-installation of the update and re-isolation from the internet. No information was forthcoming from Microsoft – and my attempts to get online help (after each restore) was an exercise in circular frustration.

Boy, was I ready to ‘lash out’. However, after a week I got a message from ZoneAlarm who produce my virus anf firewall security software: “Microsoft Update KB951748 is known to cause loss of internet access for ZoneAlarm users on Windows XP/2000. “

OK, the updated version ofΒ  ZoneAlarm resolved the programme – but not before the experience had wrecked extreme emotional damage on me. I can no longer trust my operating system.

And I am that much closer to ‘lashing out’ when the next provocation occurs.

It could mean divorce

I’m seriously considering a divorce. I’ve been eyeing up an iMac lately. It look so smart. It responds much more quickly than my old system and it has a reputation of being more caring – not resorting to the constant taunting and provocations of my current operating system.

Still, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. After all there is so much invested in my current relationship. Despite the provocations of WindowsXP I know how to use it and am aware of its problems. I’m not young and silly anymore. I know that a new relationship means risks. There will be a new learning curve. And I am sure that the iMac OS will have its own problems. I may be opening myself up to whole new set of provocations and emotional damage.

I need some counselling on this issue. But who is there out there who can be objective when it comes to such important relationships?

17 responses to “Domestic violence

  1. I joke around with my son that our home PC is the best advertisement for Mac. When I was exploring laptop options earlier this year, it helped push me toward an MacBook. And I love it. Does it have problems? Sure, though the first time I had a problem it happened after I installed MS Office for Mac. It’s also a bit disconcerting because I don’t know much about Macs, so I feel like I am even more powerless when something does go wrong. But overall, it boot ups much faster than my PC (which I sometimes have to reboot a couple of times before it actually works; I am sure a “reinstall everything” would help but I don’t have time for that…).

    It takes a bit getting used to the new OS (and the different mouse!) and I still haven’t figured out how to do some of the things I can do on a PC. But there are also some cool things you can do on the Mac that aren’t possible on a PC (like displaying all your open applications on the screen with the touch of a button – very helpful if you love to open all sorts of stuff).

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  2. Windows is the girl you meet at high school who you marry only to find is a completely different person in years to come. But you have children and you completely resent being forced to stay together and you continually fight.

    Apple is the girl you meet at the pub whilst drunk. She doesn’t look so great the morning after and if you end up marrying it’ll be partly due to the fact that she looks great at parties. She likes expensive clothes and jewellery.

    Linux is the girl you meet later on in life. She meets your lowered expectations and in the following years continually surprises you with hidden depths. You never marry because she rejects your proposals but you stay together longer than anyone else you know.

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  3. Linux is an operating system… Mac is not just an operating system, it’s the whole machine.

    Can you run Linux on a Mac? Excuse my ignorance.

    Damian, have you used all three operating systems for lengthy periods? Windows, Linux and Mac.

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  4. Damian,
    Hilarious!!! πŸ˜€ Loved it.

    Ken,
    I ‘grew up’ on PC, and have had a Mac since 2005 and really enjoy it. I’ve not got any experience using Linux, but I hear very good things.

    Servant,
    Windows, Apple (‘Mac’) and Linux are all operating systems. Damian correct me if I’m wrong here, but can’t you run Linux OS on a Mac computer?

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  5. And there’s no one to turn to. Has anyone tried to contact Microsoft for help with their operating system.

    There’s your problem, Ken. You’re implicitly assuming that Microsoft is all there is. This article made no sense to me, since I run Linux at home. We have a non-violent, harmonious relationship (:

    Regards,
    Bnonn

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  6. Frank, I’ve used Windows since version 3.0 in 1991 and have used Macs full time for about two years for print production and graphic design. I’ve been running Ubuntu Linux for about a year and a half now. When I need to develop for .NET or test browser compatibility I run Windows XP, Vista and Server 2003 as virtual machines using VirtualBox from within Ubuntu but this is becoming a rare occasion.

    In reality all three operating systems have their strengths and weaknesses. I happen to prefer Linux because I’m an open source kind of guy and, like the totally sexist girl analogy, I’m being continually surprised at its hidden depths.

    Most people get frustrated with their operating systems because they get cluttered or because their hardware is out of date. Most people think that the new operating system they buy is better but this is probably largely due to the fact that it’s a clean install with better hardware. I like to reinstall my OS every year, buy new hardware every three years and chuck RAM at it in between times.

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  7. Bnonn,

    We have a non-violent, harmonious relationship

    You mustn’t have a Brother multifunction printer then eh? πŸ˜‰

    What distribution do you use Bnonn?

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  8. Damian, your comment about cluttering, reinstalling, and OS/hardware age are very relevant. My PC is just over 4 years old. I bought it with sufficient power and upgrade ability to not have to replace too often (financial matters are relevant in my situation).

    It’s quite likely that I would be impressed with any new system I bought – for a year or so anyway.

    I did a clean reinstall a year ago and am hoping to avoid doing it as frequently as you imply.

    Although the latest WindowsXP update precipitated a lot of frustration I guess my ongoing problems do relate to clutter – and that could be a personality problem. I suspect I would also clutter an iMac and precipitate problems on that platform as well.

    Come to think of it clutter (untidy personality) could also explain my problems with other domestic relationships!

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  9. Ken: Do it.

    I’m a software developer, and I swim in Microsoft Technology. Microsoft Technology is geared up for businesses and servers and databases and communications. As such, there are a couple of key things you need Microsoft for – There will eventually be a bevy of web applications that will be exclusive to IE7, such as Microsoft CRM. If you need these applications regularly – and since these applications are the source of my livelihood, I do – you need to be running Windows on a PC.

    If you don’t need those applications regularly, you have to be insane or ignorant to be running windows on a PC. If you particularly want the PC format due to hardware or architecture reasons, run Linux. If you just want something that works without crashing, then by the love of all that is good, buy a Mac.

    Even if you occasionally need the Microsoft-specific web applications every once in a while, I’m pretty sure you can have a secondary Windows installation on a Mac these days just in case you need it. I don’t know what the Mac version of Microsoft Office is like. Do Macs use OpenOffice exclusively? I really don’t know. Either way, I’m pretty sure that OpenOffice will install on a Mac. I haven’t checked, but I’d be amazed if it didn’t.

    Keeping a Windows-based PC is like keeping a wild wolf as a pet. If you specifically need the capabilities of a wolf and you have the expertise to handle it, then you can get a lot done. If you don’t need anything quite that ferocious, you’ll get a lot more pleasure and much less heartache out of a dog.

    Go with the Mac. There’ll be some teething problems, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

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  10. I see the metaphors are widening to include pets!

    Yes, apparently there is a apple version of Office (extra cost). And there are ways of running Windows (using Bootcamp), or Windows, Linux, etc. (using an extra Parallels Desktop).

    I checked this because I have software, such as Photoshop, in the Windows format and wouldn’t want the extra expense to upgrade to an apple version.

    While I’m contemplating the cost of converting to an iMac perhaps I should try installing Linux on my PC. At least that would give me a bit of experience.

    Any recommendation about which version to use, and how to get it?

    I’m not too worried about learning to use a Mac (I have used them before in the old days). It’s just the current investment I have in software and files (I know my image database software ThumbsPlus isn’t available in an apples version).

    And, yes, my current Windows does behave more like a wild wolf than a pet dog.

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  11. Working on the same specs (20″ screen, 2.4GHz, 250GB hd, 2GB RAM) here’s a bit of a comparison:

    iMac 20-inch = $2079
    Dell Inspiron = $1149

    Both prices include GST and come with operating systems.

    Me? I’d get the Eee PC 900 for $749. 22cm wide and the coolest thing on the planet right now IMHO. (Or get a Dell at the same time if you want to spend around two grand).

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  12. I like Ubuntu personally. You can download the ISO and burn it straight to a CD if you have the ability and from there you can run it as a live CD on your PC without it touching your existing Windows installation. It runs a bit slow, mind – because it has to read from a CD. If you like it you can take a backup of your work and install it straight to your hard drive.

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  13. I bought my first Mac in March, after my ultralight Windows laptop crashed. The MacBook Air was meant only as a portable, and my Vista desktop would remain my primary machine. The Mac has since become my primary and I am continually finding ways to replace the functionality of the PC.

    I’ve had the Vista machine since October, and had not really noticed what everyone was saying about the system errors. After I got the Mac, I realized that I had been so used to a buggy OS, that I just lived with things like random re-boots and mind-of-their-own screensavers. Leopard just works when I need it to.

    I am not a total convert, and a lot of things still tick me off, but overall, I’ll be hard pressed to buy another Windows machine.

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  14. Thanks for the links, Damian. I’ll download it and have a go.

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  15. Haven’t read all the posts (bad, I know), but let me tap away in the vain hope some of this might be useful.

    I more-or-less use all of Linux, MacOS and Windows, although much less of the latter as my work is largely Unix-based in many ways (MacOS provide access to the Unix layer under it).

    One thing you should bear in mind is that you’ll have invested a surprising amount of time in learning your way around the OS and the software you use and know how to get common tasks done. As a consequence, for work settings I generally first ask people if they can face some “downtime” re-acquiring these skills. (If staffing costs are high, I favour the IT lot making all options available and not force one system on the company…)

    For more specialised uses, what the user wants to do has to be factored in, but for a home computer, I think its less of an issue if you’re happy to accept a little time learning.

    Linux, I’d think is still best left to developers and the like. It was and still largely is a solution to their own needs for all the “desktop” claims made. If you want to try it, there are some distributions of Linux that you can run from DVD which can serve as trial packages without installation on your hard-disk. From memory Dick Smith has some of these for about $NZ10.

    As far as the crashes go, the real solution is good backups, ideally ones that you can “roll back”. (Time Machine in Leopard should support this, but I’m still with the previous version of the OS; I don’t jump versions in the middle of contracts!)

    Incidentally, you can run Windows on the Intel iMacs as well as MacOS and it runs very well on them. In fact ironically its one of the better hardware to run it on. I do that and it works fine. You can either install it as an alternative OS to boot into using Apple’s “Boot Camp” (free with the OS) or have it run “in parallel” using Parallels or Fusion. (You have to pay for Windows either way.) You can do the same for Linux, too, but I have no experience in that as I have dedicated Linux servers, so I have no need.

    I’m inclined to get large external hard disks and chuck in plenty of RAM to help things not get bogged down. The external drives are cheap enough and help you move large amounts of data between locations among other things.

    I’ve had various “flavours” of Unix-based OSes up for months without reboots. For various reasons MacOS isn’t quite up to this, but I think I’ve had one system crash on this iMac this year so far, to give you some idea. (Although I probably reboot the system roughly every fortnight for one software installation or other, which probably helps clean up lingering memory leaks, etc.)

    For what its its worth, I have a rule of thumb, that the more add-ons you install that in some way work at a “systems” level, the increasingly greater chance of mischief. In the case of anti-virus software, its not something you want to skip unfortunately.

    Enough for one night?!

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  16. Well, I’ve got as far as installing Ubuntu on an extra HD. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to give me access to the internet through my wireless setup (although it recognises it). Searching through the help notes there seems to be a problem with my USB adapter (DWL-G122). While I have tried to follow instructions for handling this they haven’t worked.

    I guess it’s the problem of installing a new OS on an existing set up.

    So I’m stuck with trying to get my head around all the computer technology and don’t know that I have the patience for it at this stage of life.

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  17. Ken,

    For what its worth, one of the advantanges and at the same time disadvantages of Macs is that they have a limited range of hardware to support, so device support and driver issues (which seems to be your problem) are much less of an issue.

    Linux and Windows have to support a far wider range of devices (and hence drivers). Its a mixed blessing of course. On one hand you get more options with “open” hardware, but on the other your device might not be (fully) supported.

    Just a loose thought.

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