Patsy Porco

New Year’s Dissolution

In Computer Software, Computers, Humor, Technology on January 2, 2012 at 12:54 am

While everyone else, on this first day of the new year, is thinking about self-improvement, I’ve been contemplating theft. I wouldn’t think twice about going through with it, if it weren’t for my pesky conscience. If I can persuade my conscience that what I’m planning isn’t really stealing, despite indications to the contrary, then I’ll be good to go.

Back around the time the birth control pill was invented, many Catholics started saying that using the pill was not a sin; bringing children into the world that they couldn’t support was the real sin. They claimed that if their consciences were clear, they didn’t sin. I have a friend who calls this kind of Catholic a “cafeteria Catholic,” meaning he or she picks and chooses from the menu of rules. She freely admits that she has an assigned seat in the cafeteria. Many of us see her regularly.

The concept of sinning against your conscience has gained popularity and acceptance in many circles. If you have no conscience, life is a free-for-all, but most of us do, so we have to periodically check in with it before we act. That’s where I am right now.

It all started with my Christmas gift from my husband: a laptop computer. I already have a desktop computer but it’s so riddled with viruses that I have to wear a mask when I use it. A few months ago, I thought it had crashed for good, but I turned it on anyway. I managed to coax it to life long enough to buy and install software that cleaned it up and promised to protect it from attack forever, or until my next payment was due. So, I was back in business, but it was a slow business. It worked, but it took forever to do anything. Then I got a laptop and my internal debate began.

You see, over the years, I had purchased software for my desktop computer and I didn’t want to have to re-purchase it for my laptop. I wanted to transfer everything from my aged desktop onto my laptop and dispose of the desktop. But, I had clicked “I Agree,” when I downloaded or uploaded the various softwares, and one of the things I had agreed to was that I would not transfer it to another device. By clicking “I Agree,” I had agreed, even though what they were asking me to agree to wasn’t fair. But if I didn’t, they wouldn’t have let me buy the software, and where would I be then? I would be without Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, Norton Security, and more. They kind of had me over a barrel.

Now I have to buy it again and I’m not happy about it. If I were going to keep the desktop, then I suppose it would be fair for them to charge me for additional software for my second computer. But I’m not. If I bought a couch when I lived at one house, the furniture company wouldn’t charge me for the couch again if I moved it to another house. I owned it outright. But software doesn’t work that way. I could start a petition, I suppose, but I think I’ll wait for someone more energetic to do it. All I want is my old software transferred to my new computer.

That’s another problem. I bought most of the software online, meaning it was downloaded onto my computer from the mist once I bought it. I should have gone to a store and purchased a disk so I could upload it willy nilly. But I don’t even know if disks are sold anymore. Due to my indolence, I prefer to click and buy. Now I’m paying the price.

So, back to my dilemma: do I download the software onto disks and then upload it onto my laptop (as if I could figure out how to do this!) or do I buy it again?  And while I’m at it, should I print out all of my Kindle books and have them bound at Staples? It annoys me that you can only lend your Kindle book to another Kindle owner if the author has granted permission for lending it. If you own an author’s hardcover or paperback book, you can lend it out to your heart’s content, as long as the lendee returns it (a shout-out to my sister-in-law).

Life was much simpler when you could see and touch things. If I walked into a store and walked out with a disk or a book I didn’t pay for, I wouldn’t have to confer with my conscience; it would be screaming at me (along with the store’s alarm). But when you’re dealing with merchandise that is invisible, sometimes it’s also hard to see the line between right and wrong.


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  1. Sometimes even with a physical disk, it won’t let you reload to another machine because you have a serial number mismatch.
    I agree that if you are transferring the software to a new computer, and aren’t going to use the old one anymore, you are still only using it once. But whether it will work or not, I don’t know.
    I once had a crash on my desktop and we brought it to an expert to clean it up. Without my knowledge he loaded bootleg Microsoft Office. I still us this desktop once in a while, and every time I start up it notifies me that Office is not authorized. But it boots up anyway. Five years now. I don’t feel like I am cheating because I legitimately paid for that software for that machine – I don’t know why the computer guy loaded bootleg.
    And my laptop which I mostly use now has the newer version I paid for.

    • I had forgotten about the serial number mismatch thing. I vaguely recall having that problem years ago on another computer. Oy. I agree that you aren’t cheating anyone since you paid for the initial software. Software companies are running a racket and getting by with it. I really wish someone would start that petition! Happy New Year!

  2. Nice, Patsy! I’m about to get new desktop myself. I was wondering about these things. I do have some disks. Thank our gods that some of my favorite aps (like Irfanview and Nitro PDF are free, and probably due for an update anyway.

  3. Hey Patsy,
    You cannot burn software onto a disk and install it on another computer. You have to make an IMAGE of your hard drive and transfer that you your new computer.
    Nut the best thing you can ever do for yourself is stop buying PC’s
    BUY A MAC 🙂

    • Sylvie,
      How does one make an image of a hard drive? Does the image contain every single thing on the hard drive? Suppose I copy viruses? PCs are cheaper than Macs in the shortrun, but maybe in the longrun, Macs are the best deal because they don’t get viruses. Thanks.

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