Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tabletus Interruptus

As semi-regular readers of HM's them thar here missives you will be aware of the tendency for my only child to run over and dance on my paper whenever I have it spread upon the floor. 

I do like to lie on my stomach on the floor to read. I always have. And broadsheet papers are best read on the floor anyway as there's no having to have awkward paper snapping to try and get the pages into optional position for reading of the one article. 

I recently got a tablet. I still got my weekend papers—the Sydney Morning Herald and (lately) The Canberra Times (1)—but instead of religiously reading the Mikey sections cover-to-cover (2), I merely scanned them and put them aside. 

I used the tablet instead. I mainly flitted between the SMH, The Washington Post, Salon, Slate, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Media Matters, and a couple of others. Just dipping in and out on a whim and selecting those stories that tickled my fancy (3). 

Since Sunday morning is theWife's sleep-in day, I was up from just after 7 am through to when theWife tagged me out at around 10.20 am. I spent much of that time, lying on my stomach on the carpet, reading papers and periodicals through my tablet.

This change in medium, electronic instead of spread-out hard copy, meant theBoy (or indeed the cats, who do it as well), couldn't inflict me with their regular bit of dancing on top of my paper. 

Eventually nature called. With a groan and painful rising to my feet—due to my fucked-up hip, due to be replaced in less than two weeks—I hobble-waddled to the toilet. I left my tablet where it was, on the carpet. 

On return, there was theBoy standing, feet together, grinning at me.

He was standing on the tablet. On the screen in fact. He looked like he'd just won the weigh-in at Mini-The Biggest Loser (4).

To my credit I didn't lose my shit (5). I carefully explained that he couldn't play Paperus Interruptus on the tablet and he must never, ever stand on it again. I also had to suppress my sheer admiration for the comedic gall to do what he did. It was actually pretty fucking funny. Even if later I had to cold re-boot my stood-upon tablet when the screen stopped working and I was terrified it was his gleeful assault wot caused it. 

(1) I actually used to get The Weekend Australian. But its naked self-promotion and overt conservative free--market-is-best-Climate-Change-Is-Suspect gibbering infected even its normal day-to-day reporting and analysis. Indeed, so much so that I found, like when listening to Coalition members hark on in Question Time, that I was yelling at said medium more often than I was consuming it with genuine interest. I might, however, get it if we're on the road because I find reading newspapers in the car a relaxing distraction. Despite the fact that reading broadsheets is even harder in a car than reading it in a lounge chair.
(2) I fuck off everything from the SMH except the main paper, News Review, The Good Weekend, and Spectrum. I fuck off everything from The Canberra Times except the main paper, the World section, Panorama and maybe one of the other supplements, only if it catches an immediate interest. If I am out-and-about I will leave those sections on public seating or in cafes, spreading my not-wanteds for the benefit of bored sitters seeking alleviation.  
(3) One advantage of reading a hard copy broad sheet cover-to-cover is at least I get a broad snapshot of national and world news that I might not get if reading online, since I tend to click into stories that will interest me as opposed to simply being in eye shot due to the layout of the hard copy paper. So in many ways the tablet is self-reinforcing of current interests or indeed beliefs. Will need to watch for that.
(4) You just know the _____ producers of that sordid mockery and distorted body shape inflictors have considered exactly that concept and more than one proposal along those lines is in the system. Fat kids yelled at by uber-fit tattooed presenters. What's not to love?
(5) I've been working from home a bit lately, using remote systems. The remote access loses functionality. I can't save files from the web; I can't access drives; and for some reason in Microsoft word I can't use the hot key command string to insert an em-dash. So I've been using a work computer, both the machine itself and using the remote access system, along with my home PC, to get things done. It's been a somewhat frustrating exercise. Files not working on some systems but working on others. Files failing to copy between systems. At one stage I had three separate systems going, with the laptop in the lounge room as another back up, just to do my day-to-day stuff. I've had a quick-to-anger problem most of my life. Fortunately I've learned to mostly dial it back. For example, I rarely lose my shit at my son, even if he's cheekily standing on daddy's $600 week-old tablet computer (slash) life changing event moment. But when dealing with the frustrations of clapped out computer systems and lag and trying to wrangle dozens of people to give me what I need to do my job, I was losing my shit. I was frequently screaming abuse at the world, calling it a c___ on more than one occasion, as well as the various electronica that was not supporting me in the manner to which I am accustomed. Part of the frustration I think stems from the fact that in my day-to-day job I do many varied things, using a multitude of non-standard software, and am doing so with memory intensive files. I am working at the absolute limits of a system where 99 per cent of users simply use Outlook, Microsoft Word, and Excel. It's to be expected. But when you combine the difficulties of that with fairly crappy health and often extreme bouts of pain, I suppose I should cut myself some slack when I do have these feral teary-laced rages and the sheer crap-shittiness of it all. All I can say is bring on TFCWM... UPDATE: Because I work at the limits of the system I send large-sized emails. So I am forever at the max limit of 70 odd meg in my outlook. Then I hit the limit wall and I see red and start screaming abuse at the world again. Fuck me sometimes this job gets to me. As indeed did the snafu regarding my leave forms get to me ... It got so bad I demanded comfort food, had Goodberrys and ate far too much on top of that then suffered crippling gut pain. I can't even have a yummy blow out without copping blow back. Sigh.


  1. Is the tablet ok now?

    I have to confess, I wouldn't have been so calm in your shoes!

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  3. (sorry, unclear)

    I think it's okay. Apart from that one time the screen couldn't be read.

    The saddest story I've heard of tablet-related loss/damage was theWife's work friend. Let's call her Nancy (since I don't remember her name). Nancy was being dropped off home by a colleague when she found she'd misplaced her iPad. They went looking for it, in case she'd left it at work. Alas they found it about 100 metres from her house. She'd left it on the car roof when getting in (hands full of bags and what-not) and it had survived the whole way home until that last corner ... and it was utterly crunched.



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