The updates are driving us nuts - GulfToday

The updates are driving us nuts

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

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In the ‘olden’ days if you wanted to upgrade your toaster or washing machine, or any appliance for that matter, the simplest and uncomplicated solution was to go out and buy a new model that came with the improvements you were looking for. Your toaster didn’t temporarily shut down or stall because it was upgrading its system! Unless of course it actually broke down which meant it wasn’t stalling, it just was no longer working, which isn’t the same thing as upgrading its operating system!

Earlier this week, something bizarre happened on my phone, which happens to be an Android, by the way. I turned it on first thing in the morning, and yes, unlike other people I do turn off my mobile overnight, and there appeared a new App on the second screen. I’d never heard of it nor did I download it. Clearly it downloaded itself through a backdoor of the phone’s operating system.

It was some kind of play TV/Movie app. I never asked for it but there it was installed on my phone. When I went to ‘settings’ to find the App and uninstall it, I found it but was unable to uninstall it; the option to uninstall was simply not there. The only option was to disable it or to force stop it. The annoying thing is that it is now taking up valuable space on my phone and without my permission.

The question I would like to ask every phone manufacturer in the world is that when we buy phones from you, is that device really ours? If it is why is it that we do not have the option to give you permission to automatically download something onto our phones? Why is it that it just happens without our knowledge or permission? And why is the option to uninstall not always available? To some extent, but only to some, I understand the need to install updates to the system that are critical to ensure that the phone, tablet or laptop continues to function but there’s something very wrong to force download Apps that should otherwise be optional because they only offer entertainment value. It’s not just one brand of device I am referring to, I am talking about every device from every brand on the planet.

We have become hostages to our devices. We have become dependent on our devices for everyday living. No one can admit with a clear conscious they get up first thing in the morning and go about their routines without first checking their emails or WhatsApp messages.

Moreover, these constant upgrades to our devices has driven everyone round the bend. Every few days our devices are doing something behind our backs.  All you need to do is to carefully examine your tablet or laptop screen and notice a small animated arrow in a corner doing something. What is this arrow doing? It’s updating your system or downloading something unwanted in the background.

When it comes to the phone I generally let it update whatever it needs to. My fear is that if I don’t let it, the system could mess with the SIM card and the contacts and all the associated text messages and call log that come with them. On the tablet, however, I disable the auto-update button because then I can decide which Apps I want updated and do those manually.  But the laptop and desktop are a different matter. Firstly there is no option to manually update the system, at least none that I have found. To be honest I generally feel nervous about installing the already downloaded updates on my laptop. One reads so many stories in forums from people about how the last update messed up their laptop settings or slowed it down to such an extent that it was virtually unusable.

Like a lot of people, I postpone the installation as far into the future as the system allows. I say ‘allows’ because, unfortunately, there is a point after which there is no alternative other than to update and restart or shutdown. Our new laptops have taken away that choice from us. I don’t quite understand the incessant updates to which we find ourselves hostage, they seem to happen every couple of weeks or so. Some take ages. I once had an update that took over 4 hours to download, install and update. What exactly are these updates doing? I can tell you now that I got no work done that day because the laptop was busy!

In fact, it appears that the newer the versions of the operating system, the more updates it seems to require. I don’t recall our earlier laptops needing that many updates.

Not only do these incessant updates take over our lives they are making us nervous, angry and above all, not letting us get on with our work most of which requires electronic devices!

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