Updating!


Oh, Lord have mercy….   I hate updating!

I’m the kind of guy who likes diversity (if you haven’t guessed).  Let’s go further than that and say I’m a guy who despises routine.  That was part of the reason I took the jobs that I did — to keep life interesting and as un-repetitious as possible.

Fortunately, when we married, I liked to cook and Peggy didn’t care that much about cooking.  She seemed/seems not to mind the tedium of washing dishes so we had a relatively rapidly reached meeting of the minds. Other parts of our division of labor have not been quite as easy to decide by that one was simple.washing up

Maybe avoidance of routine is part of the reason I love RV’ing.  To my mind updating my computer, or updating my apps, or updating my bookkeeping — is another repetitious job that would do well being avoided — but Peggy resolutely had no interest in taking on that one.

When we started RV’ing I got along on 6 gigabytes of monthly broadband.  In the first year of our travels that gradually went up to 12 gigs per month.  I held at 12 gigs for a couple years and then usage jumped again — but this time Verizon had a deal — I could BUY 15 gigs but GET 30 gigs.  The trick was that you can’t change your data plan.  If you do, you go back to getting what you pay for.  It was a one time only deal.  If you change anything, you lose the deal.

At first that seemed like a gawdawful amount of data.  But, ya know what?  We managed to USE all of that most every month.

WiFiAnd I still use RV park WiFi when I can.

Which brings me to my tale for today…

A few days ago I wanted to update the traffic construction file for my Rand McNally GPS.  I guess they update construction files about once every three months (it might be more frequently than that but once every three months is about as often as I remember to update).

We have WiFi here in the park. So I cranked up the laptop where my Rand McNally docking station lives on (the same one as my Silverleaf engine monitoring system lives on) and started the update.   The docking station loaded, informed me there was an update, and it would take 11 minutes to download.  Great.

I clicked the button and went on about my business. 70 minutes later the temperature bar was still up there on the screen and  it had moved about 1/3 of the way across the screen but the program said… yup… it would take  11 minutes.

Oh, “The heck with this” I said.  I killed the park WiFi, turned on my hotspot and I was all done with the update in about 1 1/2 minutes.  There had to be a bunch of people on the park wifi all trying to get at the same limited bandwidth.  Sigh.

Programmers don’t even think about people like us who live with limited data plans.  When the GPS has a map update — about once a year — the update is fully 6 gigabytes.  That’s more than most of my RV’er friends have in their monthly plan.  What’s worse is that if you attempt to download some of those updates to close to the release date you have to struggle with the streaming limitations at the source… while thousands or millions of other users all try to download the same files.

iphone_apps_appleThe same thing applies to my iPhone and my system software for my Mac Laptop.  A full system upgrade — which happens about once a year — will run 5 or 6 gigabytes and it can easily take 2 hours to download on a moderate connection; five hours on a slow connection.  When we were from campground to campground more frequently I’d try to leave my Apple system updates until we got into a town that had a laundromat with WiFi.  If I started my update before Peggy got her laundry started in the machine I could usually finish updating about the time she folded the last piece of clothing.

App writers routinely update smartphone apps about every 30-60 days.  The other day I checked my update list and there were 30 apps that wanted updating. The heck with that. I decided to wait a while.  It does no harm to miss an update or two (in a row for the same app) and half the time they change the app in ways I don’t like so I think to myself I should have left the old version alone!

Programmers are getting tricky.  By updating their software so often they create a nightmare for themselves in providing the bandwidth for all those downloads.  So folks like Microsoft and Apple have decided to teach their software to self-download — without regard to any data plan limitations.  Windows 10 goes a step further in modernizing it’s software delivery tools.  Microsoft taught it’s operating system to search networks for users who already have the newest version of software.  windows 10If found — or if your computer finds happens to be the one with the already updated software — Microsoft will use any found user to provide code to update other machines.  Pity the poor person who’s in a populous area, who updates early, and who doesn’t know how to disable automatic updates. Their machine may end up an unofficial server to deliver updates to slower-to-upgrade users.  GRRRRRRR.

Apple’s software too wants to download itself in the background and wait until you’re ready to install it before doing the actual upgrade for you.  You can turn your iPhone to Update only on WiFi — but if you’re like me and use a Verizon hotspot that doesn’t help because the hotspot is WiFi and I’m still paying by the Gigabyte!  I have turned off all the possible program switches to prevent the software from using my bandwidth until I’m ready for a new update.  How long will those switches even continue to exist?  I’m sure at some point the programmers will remove the option entirely.

YosemiteWe all use data.  Some of us more than others.  Managing that data use is a real and a serious concern for RV’ers.  There are entire blogs dedicated just to staying alive in the RV Internet world.  If you are a novice, or if you are having problems with your RV data needs — there are a resources out there to help you.  And there are plenty of people who eat and sleep technology who will love to tell you all about the toys and tools you can use to keep up with an ever changing technology.  I’m not one of them. To me a computer is like a hammer.  It’s there to get a job done.  I don’t really care how it works, whether it has a metal handle or a wooden one,  if the head is shaped this way or that — I just want it to hit nails (and not my fingers).

There’s no way to completely avoid dealing with keeping your computer current.  You can get away with doing anything about it for a while but eventually you’re phone or computer just aren’t going to work right any more.  Welcome to the world of technology!

Thanks for stopping by,  I hope reading my blog isn’t as boring as updating your laptop or computer.  And I sure hope it doesn’t take as long — though I’ve been known to ramble on from time time.

I’ll be here tomorrow if you want to chat.

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8 Comments

  1. I’ve been with my internet provider for years, I paid $52 a month internet forever, the plan promised high speed and 150 gigs data a month. All good, right? In the beginning our house had 5 computers on the go – daughter moved out, then middle son, leaving myself, husband and youngest son.Even better, right? Down two computers we should have been laughing. Last June our provider announced additional charges for exceeding our data plan. No worries, we haven’t changed habits and two avid gamers and streamers moved out. Not so fast – inexplicably data usage sky-rocketed. Over the next 6 months or so usage reached a pinnacle of over 800 gigs. WTF? Down 2 computers, not doing anything different – my internet bill reached $165 a month. Long story short – I lost it and demanded an explanation. Internet provider blamed it on Netflix, I called bullshit. (however they agreed to roll back my charges to the original $52 for 6 months, then cap overage at $15 )
    My point being – technology has us by the balls. It’s like charging more for bottled tap water than a liter of gas.Nice work if you can get it and couldn’t fathom life without it, so we pay. Argh and sigh 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear ya!

      On the Netflix topic — that IS a huge data hog. New RV’ers who stream movies often get caught the first month or two with sheer panic with they discover how much data their ‘habit’ costs.

      And you’re right — if you want to live in the modern world there are costs associated with it. And of course the kicker is that few choose to do without. Could the cost of data be what forces us off the road some day? I dunno… it’s a stunning thought but not impossible.

      Really can’t imagine life in one place anymore. Does not fill me with feelings of great and joyful anticipation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was very slowly updating my laptop the other day when Dave told me that my iPad’s hotspot is way faster than our apartment’s DSL. And we have enough bandwidth to use it because Verizon was having a sale when Dave bought his latest phone so we got double minutes for free. I just wish he’d told me that long ago as this was not the first slow update I’ve waited for. Oh, how spoiled we have become.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good that Dave caught the sale.
      DSL is so old skool. I had that 10 years ago when we move to a different part of Milwaukee and thought I was getting something wonderful until I tried using it. Sigh….
      Then when we moved to the school and I had cable internet I was amazed. But sometimes you can only get what’s available where you live and used to be that wasn’t always a very good choice.

      Like

    1. I suspect that’s true about a lot of things including appliances and automobiles. We live in a throwaway society where we have to keep feeding the machine and no one wants to make a machine that has no parts or maintenance profits attached. My father in law died in 2008 after having used the same refrigerator in the house that he built for 50 years. Show me a refrigerator today that will last 50 years! Ha!

      Like

  3. My computer had an upgrade some months back and I’ve had a few smaller ones since then hoping one of the one would fix the problem. I’m still having to wait for Pages to open, so today I timed it. Normally, I used to click on the icon and it opened up–like in 1-2 seconds. Today it took 11 minutes. If you ever hear of a woman shooting her computer, think of me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah — something’s terribly wrong there.
      The thing I don’t like is the difficulty/impossiblity of reverting to a previous version. THAT should be easier!

      Like

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