Zen and the art of upgrading

It’s funny how attached we become to objects. Generally, I’m not the kind of person who gets upset at the loss of things — they are just things after all — but my geeky side adores products that combine form and function in a pleasing whole.

While at the gym during the week I started my Creative Zen V Plus MP3 player, as I always do at the beginning of my workout. By accident I turned on the recording function, attempted to stop it, didn’t do that so well, so I just shut down the Zen instead, planning to re-start it. Alas, alack, my Zen crashed. There is an appropriate analogy in that last sentence. The workout seemed more of a chore without my music. I found it hard to attain the right mood without it.

It took several days of patient negotiation with my Zen for it to get over its sulk at my mashing of its buttons. Now, it has upgraded firmware, which I hope will stave off the chance of future crashes, and I can face going into the gym again. I would have been very disheartened if I had to return the Zen for service. It’s become an important aid.

While contemplating my attachment to my Zen, I realised that I would be equally discombobulated if my laptop became problematic. I’ve had it two years, and in that time I’ve used it to write a couple of scripts, and lots of short stories. It doesn’t get as much daily use as my desktop computer, but I think of the laptop as my writing machine (even when I cheat on it and use the desktop to write). It’s the piece of equipment that got me through Clarion West last year without a hiccup. I treat it with care and ensure it’s updated regularly. No games clutter its memory. It’s for writing and research only.

Yet, one day the laptop will fail or become so obsolete that it will be useless. I will become enamoured of another machine, and transfer the data to its memory. I will view the faster, sleeker computer as essential to my life… until it needs replacing.

Man, I’m fickle.


  • de staic

    Is your laptop running some version of Windows or is it a Mac or Linux box, Maura?It **is** amazing how we humans become attached to things. Losing the use of them can border on the traumatic for a while until we either replace them or do without them altogether.

    • Maura

      The laptop is a Windows XP machine. The good thing is that it could run Linux quite merrily if I update to another laptop in the future. I do have an ancient laptop that works as an extra terminal in my dining room – mainly it’s used to access the music server from there. We try to put all old machine to good use, so we do recondition a lot of stuff and pass around any useful bits to new homes.

  • Brian

    i know what you mean.Even though I was late, I spent 10 mins looking for my ipod headphones cos I couln’t face the thought of an evenings work without my prescious podcasts! Talk about panic.

    • Maura

      Heh, well I brought my fixed Zen with me to the gym… and realised I’d forgotten to pack my headphones! Argh!Except I was able to borrow a set from the gym. They weren’t as nice, but were better than nothing.

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