Screen Shot 2012-11-26 at 21.13.20

The Age of Endless Notifications

I have just returned from a three month trip around the ‘other side of the World’ which has meant that my laptop has also had a holiday of its own, in my cupboard at home. My iPad, due to often sketchy internet connections has also been on something of reduced hours.

The break from these tools of the modern age has been liberating at times, but it is the effect the break is having on my return that is most awakening. Upon firing up my laptop I was greeted with a barrage of notifications. Don’t get me wrong, I usually welcome notifications because they can signal some sort of electronic human contact which means that despite my fears, I am still a member of the social race.

These notifications however were of the other kind; they were notifications of updates. Apparently Apple has launched an updated OS – OK, that is an interesting one, but Adobe have also been up to something and so too have Apache and so too has almost every one of the makers of the apps that I use.

Now I am not complaining directly for these updates, heck it is a good thing that Apple and Adobe and everyone else with a degree in computer science is working so tirelessly to make my user experience so much better all of the time. The problem comes when you want to do something whacky, say such as use your computer to do some work.

I don’t like clutter or unresolved items and that is precisely what a notification is, it is a tiny message saying: “oi, you…you need to do something about me otherwise your computer probably wont be performing as well as it might do, and don’t forget how much cash you laid out for me, what a waste of money it would be for me to not be performing to the best of my ability”. Despite this I sometimes have to forgo the immediate update and continue with work.

This leaves me in a difficult position, because now my computer becomes a little like my mum, reminding me that I still need to clean my room or tell me that my car insurance is due – things that I know I should resolve but just can’t find the will to right now.

So, I am now left in the current situation – Adobe are telling me there is a new version of Flash and that I have to close both of my web browsers as well as my music app, not a good start. Then the Mac App Store is telling me three apps are ready for update, not the most distracting however I do keep mistaking the little red reminder as an email notification which is most distressing. Then there is my iPad which has a record thirty app update reminders which is at such a volume that it actually induces a true headache everytime I swipe the unlock button – just imagine the effect this is having on my spontaneous email checking.

I must admit that this is much more of a rant than a useful article because after some considerable thought I cannot really offer any real solution to the issue other than counselling on my part. Let’s face it, the computer wizards need to update things and I would rather them ask my permission than kick me out of Firefox at will to update something I need to use. I will get round to ushering in the next generation of software updates at some point this week, right after I have just done that thing that I turned the computer on to do…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>