The evil side of research: software updates

I did the big wrong thing: I updated my software. – and I shouldn’t have. It was one of those days without deadline or meetings. Instead it was a day after having discovered $3 G&T at that one bar. I had not had enough sleep. I imagined blankly staring at a screen was just what I needed. When do you get to do that? Right. During software updates.

Everything went just fine, until I finally gave in to that annoying VirtualBox that had been asking me to update for months. Well, in the end… the update might have  worked, but the screen of Linux  was now only the size of a postcard. I work with finite element meshes which require similar treatment like graphic design. In other words, there was no way I could do my work on a screen that size!

I tried the user friendly fix, I tried the nerd fix, I even tried turning it off and on again. I contacted IT support, I tried all their ideas. Nothing nothing nothing. It’s been a week now, I couldn’t do any work on my PhD. But I have been stuck with a non-research related IT prob. It is horribly frustrating and makes me wonder if I should just book a flight to South East Asia until little green IT dwarfs have solved my problem (or at least an update for the update comes out).

It seemed like a good idea at the time… but what do we take away from it? Nothing more like the coach after his team lost due to player swap: Never change a winning team! Or, as I was taught later on, by my geeky Co-PhDs: Never update a non-commercial software that is working. And I wonder: Is this the stuff everyone seems to know but no-one talks about? Commercial software: Do every update! Non-commercial software: Don’t touch once running!

This is it. I’m giving up. I’ll back up, delete and re-install everything now. And if I never get to finish this PhD, at least I’ll have the skills to work in IT support.

See you out there, Wenx