There have been very amusing discussions of the improbability of things that happen in the movies actually happening—the ability of the hero or heroine to find a parking space exactly where he or she needs one, being a common one. In fact, I think that some were recently published on Slaw.
I am now seeing movies and television programmes in which software works flawlessly—the most recent programme that I saw was a (fictional) English TV series on MI-5 in which the good guys defeated a nefarious plot to take down the British Internet by first copying information in the Russian embassy on to a CD Rom and then using this information to send some kind of really serious virus to cripple a Russian submarine doing nasty things to an undersea cable.
The wholly incredible thing about the programme and the successful denouement was the fact that there were no software glitches. Perhaps the members of Slaw do not share my bitter experiences with all things computer related, but that MI-5 could do all that it did (and in less than 30 minutes!) is so unimaginable as to make the usual required suspension of disbelief wholly inconsequential. It’s easier to believe in the Red Queen, Lord Voldemort or the Tooth Fairy than that software, particularly in a pinch, will work well.
I have my computer regularly serviced and given tlc by professionals and keep my protective software up-to-date, but there is not an instance when I use my computer that some programme does not misbehave; it’s usually Windows but Word is a close second. Attempts by me to download upgrades always fail on the first attempt. I feel like Joe Btfsplk—the little man who walked around under a rain cloud—if something will go wrong, it will go wrong with me. Against my better judgment, last week I accepted Microsoft’s offer to install some “new and improved” version of Explorer. Did it work? Of course it didn’t and, had the download worked, I’m sure that it would only have made things worse. I have been wholly unable to download Adobe Flash Player; it simply doesn’t work (even after I had had my computer professionally tuned up).
Am I alone in having endless problems with software? I would be greatly comforted if others had similar problems or knew of a reliable exorcist.