Sunday, 19 January 2014

Random thoughts on Coping with Unreasonable Problems

So, among other things, humanity is known to be pretty great at adapting to things. Different conditions and so on. It's one of our very useful traits which has helped lead to us being the dominant species on the planet. Come to think of it, I already wrote a blog post a while back which I guess kind of touched on this point, talking about how people remain themselves, and remain people, even in severely straitened circumstances. In general it's a significant human trait. On the one hand when confronted with an inhospitable environment we can devise tools and stuff to make it more hospitable to us, and on the other, a lot of stuff we can just get used to, mentally adjust to the state of affairs.

I'm just wondering if in some cases this could be considered a bad thing.
Specifically the second one. I'm not going to go on some rant about how technology is bad and we should never have come down from the trees in the first place. I'm all for the manipulation of our environment to make it suitably hospitable. But our ability to mentally adjust to things I think may sometimes lead to us putting up with things we probably shouldn't.

My main example, the thing which largely prompted this line of thought, though in some respects it's not such a great example, is my laptop. The machine on which I am right now typing this blog post. My laptop is in the midst of the throes of an incredibly slow death. And I do mean sloooooooow. It started acting up ages ago, which is somewhat my point.
My latest tribulations with it have revolved around the s key. It doesn't work as it should. I have to be quite forceful to get it to work at all, usually, and then sometimes it'll give me multiple sss instead of just one. As I put it on facebook, "I have to make an effort to achieve the middle ground between peech impediment and ssnake impresssion." This is frustrating when typing but I can deal with it. For passwords containing an s, I may put my mouse over where I'm up to in typing so I can tell if I've eventually gotten one s or several. The big issue is of course videogames, WASD being a fairly standard control system. For a while I just put up with it, and got somewhat used to hitting the s key in the precise way that still worked most of the time. But it got worse, so looking for a solution, I levered up the key. Didn't find a solution, but left it like that for a while and played like that, and I was surprised at how quickly I grew accustomed to hitting the little thing usually under the key rather than the key itself. But, still wanting a better alternative, I then switched to keeping the controls in the same configuration of keys, but all shifted foru to the right. And again, once I got used to having my hand in a different place, I rapidly got used to it, to the point that trying to switch back actually briefly confused me.
Now, I am not saying this is bad. I mean, I shouldn't really have to do it, because I should really have a fully functioning keyboard. But given that I have this problem, it's handy that I can switch fairly easily to a viable alternative. On the other hand, I should maybe find some sort of computer-fix-y shop place and have them take a look at it. That might be a more sensible solution in the long term, especially given that my laptop also endures some weird audio bugs, probably faulty USB ports, the casing is a bit cracked, at some point some part of the hard disk got corrupted making it take about 10 hours to fail to complete a backup, screwing up some files and breaking the webcam (Though that one I eventually managed to fix); and sometimes when I start it up again after hibernating the screen either stays completely black so I have no choice but to switch it off and on again by the power button, or more commonly just without the backlight or some such thing so I end up having to peer in ridiculously closely to distinguish the mouse cursor from the background so I can tell it to restart.
All these are things I've managed to get used to. But I shouldn't really have had to get used to them, and if I didn't have this ability to cope with such problems, I would have more impetus to actually get them fixed. As it is, until recently, I never really gave it enough thought to realise "Oh hey, my laptop's actully pretty ****ed up now, isn't it?"

On the other hand it's really good that it allows me to deal with the issue of my laptop not actually being that good (To the point where the first thing I do after restarting it is open task manager to end all unnecessary processes in the hopes of bleeding a few more precious frames per second out of my video games), because I can't afford to get a new one. On the other hand, I suppose if I couldn't deal so well with that, maybe that impetus would carry over into my attempts to find a job.

And I'm sure there must be other examples of things like this. Problems you can deal with, but probably shouldn't have to, and so maybe it'd help if you couldn't deal with them because then you'd bother to fix them.

I don't know really. I just had these thoughts and wanted to write them down.