Bring on Happy Hour

Imagine you are going on a journey. You get the car out, and then nip back into the house to fetch your luggage. When you get back outside you find that your car has driven itself off to the garage to sort out a problem with one of the wheel trims and it will be there for the next couple of hours.

I don't think that many drivers would put up with this. But computer users get it all the time.

This morning I needed to use a computer that I hadn't turned on for a while. For some reason I thought this was not going to cause me problems. How wrong I was. When the machine woke up it decided to upgrade its Java installation.

Now, I don't use Java very much, I only added the runtimes so that I could run some programs that I needed to take a look at. Java is a nice enough language, it is just not one that I use any more. I certainly don't need an update. Particularly one which takes the thick end of half an hour, and which seems to lock up the machine while the update completes.

Nothing strikes fear into my heart more than the phrase "New updates are ready to install". This usually means that I have to fire up my other computer so I can get some work done whilst checking on the updating machine for buttons that I need to press. You can't just go off and have a coffee, oh no, because as soon as you turn away from the machine it pops up a spurious dialogue box which you have to click on to start the download of the download downloader or somesuch rubbish.

We really need to get a handle on this kind of thing, the tail has started wagging the dog I reckon. I know you can get the machine to do updates at midnight, but this means leaving the machine on overnight, which I'm not always keen to do and is probably not a very efficient thing to do from an environmental point of view.I get really cross when I fire up my machine and all kinds of dross gets to run before I can see my email.

I think there should be a kind of "happy hour" on a machine when it first wakes up. Rather than starting up all the updates, sidebars, screen savers, sync centers, search indexers, de-fragmenters, bluetooth managers and god knows what else, for the first hour of use a machine should just concentrate on running the programs that I start. Once things have settled down, and I'm sitting there wondering what key to press, then the operating system can start gradually introducing the things that can be left to catch up later. Should be easy enough to add and it would make lots of people happier. Including me.