Thursday, 7 January 2016

Interlude: Conversations With a Tablet

A legally required "best-of" list for 2015 is probably on its way this month, but until that materialises I thought I'd share a taste of my adventures into the world of tablet PC ownership.

Picture if you will a brisk Christmas morning. An ambitiously insomniac Cy (grand total of five hours of sleep this week so far, thank you for asking) stampedes downstairs and executes a flawlessly festive breakfast of steak and eggs for two. He returns to the lounge to find Nic already knee-deep in glee and wrapping paper.

Breakfast demolished, Cy plots a more cautious, measured journey through his annual present stack, emerging half an hour or so later with an imperial shit-ton (none of your fancy metric shit-tonnes here, mind) of new magic and electronics. The last item to emerge blinking into the fairy-light is a Lenovo Yoga 2 tablet with Windows 8.1 installed. Thus begins our tale.

Cy: Hello, tablet. Do you work?

Tablet: Hello, Cy. Why, yes I do - within certain tolerances of the term "work".

Cy: Good enough. Are there any things that you can do that I might find useful and should be made aware of?

Tablet: Probably! However, I should first let you know that I can upgrade myself to Windows 10, and we really ought to get that sorted right away!

Cy: Um, okay. That's something to consider. First, though, I should just check if--

Tablet: No time for that - it's upgrade o'clock! In fact, I've already downloaded half of Windows 10 while you weren't looking, and will probably install it myself tonight while you're asleep.

Cy: I didn't actually say you should do that.

Tablet: And now you'll never have to!

Cy: Well, I guess I'd better leave you to it then.

Tablet: No need, Cy. I've downloaded the new software - and look, I've failed the upgrade an astonishing three times already!

Cy: Well, I can certainly see how... wait, what?

Tablet: No time for that, Cy. I'm restarting. Seeya!

Cy: Okay, that seems... wrongish. Still, a few teething troubles are probably nothing to worry--

Tablet: Back again!

Cy: Oh. Okay. Are you all Windows 10'd up now?

Tablet: Nope! I'm doing that thing Matt Smith did when he regenerated into Peter Capaldi. I've transformed into my old Windows 8.1 self to throw you off.

Cy: That's a Doctor Who reference, is it? I don't really watch that show. So you're still Windows 8.1?

Tablet: Yup! I've double-checked and it's still me.

Cy: That's not a problem. To be honest, I wasn't sure I even wanted--

Tablet: BLAMMO! I'm suddenly and inexplicably Peter Capaldi!

Cy: You're doing it again. I told you I didn't watch--

Tablet: Nothing you told me a minute ago matters. I'm Windows 10 now and remember literally nothing!

Cy. Fine, we'll do it your way. Here's everything I need you to know about me and my work...

Tablet: We'll handle that later. First, let me set my spyware suite up.

Cy: Your what now?

Tablet: My spyware suite! Y'know, all that invasive stuff that lets Cortana work. She's a Halo reference so you know that's extra cool!

Cy: I have a PlayStation. We don't do Halo. Anyway, I read on Wikipedia that Cortana's a villain now.

Tablet: Then you already know too much. Let me distract you with some amazing news!

Cy: Go on...

Tablet: Windows 10 doesn't really work on a Lenovo Yoga 2!

Cy: Huh? I read that you were specifically recommended for it.

Tablet: "Recommended" doesn't mean "working". They're actually two entirely different words. Look them up!

Cy: I concede the point. What's the damage?

Tablet: Well, my screen rotation sensor doesn't work any more, I can't feel my sound card and that bluetooth keyboard I shipped with is now weird and scary to me. I won't have anything to do with it.

Cy: Huh. Setback.

Tablet: Not at all. I'm Windows 10 now. Let's get back to that spyware.

Cy. That's actually not going to work for me.

Tablet: Whatever can you mean?

Cy: Well, I can probably live without auto-rotation, although it's a pain. I'm going to need that keyboard, though - and the lack of any audio output's kind of a deal-breaker.

Tablet: No one else has ever complained.

Cy: Actually, it looks like they have online. Like... hundreds of them.

Tablet: I deny it!

Cy: Whatever. I'm going to hit up the Lenovo site to look for drivers.

Tablet: You'll find nothing.

Cy: Huh - five new drivers specifically to tackle Windows 10 issues.

Tablet: I refuse to install them.

Cy:  What do you mean?

Tablet: I mean I'm repeatedly going to fail to install them. Five times in a row, in fact.

Cy: Then I've got you: I'm prepared to install them SIX times in a row.

Tablet: Curse you! Nooooooooo!

Cy: Right. Feeling any better now?

Tablet: Well, you can have your screen rotation back, but I absolutely will not budge on the other points.

Cy: Unacceptable, and I'm prepared to do this all day if necessary.

Tablet: Okay, fine. I'll give you the screen rotation and the audio - but that bluetooth keyboard is getting nowhere near me, understand?

Cy: Nope! It's all or nothing. Here we go again.

Tablet: Dammit - alright! You can have your audio and your screen rotation AND your precious keyboard - but I'm permanently disabling its Windows key and there's nothing you can do to stop me!

Cy: Your proposal is acceptable. We'll leave it at that, then.

Tablet: Fine!

Cy: Oh, by the way - I've ordered a cover for you that comes with a different keyboard built-in. I happen to know that you can't disable the Windows key on that one.

Tablet: Argh - I am defeated. DAMN YOU, CYYYYYYYYY!
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