I Don’t Know Shit About Hardware

This is a bit embarrassing to admit as I spend fully every waking hour of my life on some kind of screen, and my job is in software, but I don’t really know anything about computers or care about them at all.

I really started using a computer in college — we had a big desktop at home, but I only used it every so often for playing Maniac Mansion or Ski Free. In college, I used a PC desktop and then at some point, I got some sort of PC laptop. I think it was a Compaq. I used various laptops and netbooks until sometime in my late 20s when I bought a white MacBook and I used that until I was hired at my company. One of the first things that happens when you get hired is that you order your new work MacBook. But my white MacBook was still working just fine, so I kept using it until the first Grand Meetup of my company, when everyone reacted to it as if I had shown up with a typewriter from the 19th century.

After that, I got a new MacBook every few years, and I also got my first iPhone and have upgraded it periodically. I’ve used Pros and Airs and PCs and Macs. And…

They are all exactly the same to me. They all type words onto a screen and they all go onto the internet.

I remember at some point people complaining about the butterfly keyboards of MacBooks and then other people really liked the butterfly keyboards, and it was the first time that it had ever occurred to me to notice any differences in all the keyboards I typed on all day. When I was traveling, sometimes the keyboards in the internet cafes would be really disgusting, and I did notice that. If a key sticks, I notice it. But otherwise, I don’t know, I just start typing and then my hands…get used to it? I just don’t really care. I don’t care about a mouse or a trackpad or whatever; they all work fine. I don’t really notice differences in screen resolution; supposedly it’s gotten better with every new device I’ve gotten, but it all looks more or less the same to me. I don’t notice photos being sharper with a new iPhone camera — people hold up two next to each other and exclaim at the amazing improvement, and I can’t actually tell the difference.

Everyone is excited that the new MacBooks are out, and that they’ve made some excellent changes that are reversals of previous unpopular changes people didn’t like. But I don’t really even understand what changes are being discussed, and I didn’t notice the previous changes that everyone hated when those came out.

I gather that I had function keys for a couple years and then I didn’t have function keys for a couple years and then I did again? There are function keys on this computer now, and I guess I use them to turn the volume up or down. Otherwise, I guess I don’t use those much. I don’t really use keyboard shortcuts or snippets or macros; I do everything the long way and I’m super fast anyway. I don’t really need to go faster; people are always telling me to slow down as it is.

I do notice differences in software. I have only ever used like four apps in my whole life, and there are things that I dislike about them and would change.*

I guess it’s sort of like…hardware is merely a portal to a world of the mind. It’s like my body. I’m not a very corporeal person. I spend most of my time transporting my attention out of the physical world and into some narrative where I seek to become so fully absorbed that any awareness of the physical world falls away entirely. So from that perspective, it makes sense that I wouldn’t really notice the devices themselves.

What is an improvement that I would notice and appreciate? First, if my iPhone screen didn’t break as easily. I use a screen protector and case, but every phone I’ve ever had has splintered eventually. And secondly, if the screens and keyboards were self-cleaning. I do notice when they get crumby or greasy or smudged, and it’s annoying, but I always forget to clean them. So if they just stayed clean on their own, I would notice that and appreciate it. And finally, I do not like buying adapters; I would like to never buy another adapter again.

Otherwise, I’m genuinely good with whatever.

*At the same time, it’s always astonishing to me how much time people spend bitching about changes in software when there are very easy workarounds. Like for example, I use Tweetdeck; I have forever. So I have chronological timelines and whenever something changes on Twitter, it doesn’t affect me at all. But there are all these Twitter power users constantly complaining about the stuff Twitter does like they have absolutely no control over it. Just use TweetDeck!!!! Do people not know about TweetDeck? Is there some other reason power users don’t use it? Don’t tell me; I don’t actually care.

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