Yes, the Wolvog’s dislike of iOS7 continues to this day. Sometimes he’ll go a few days without mentioning it, but then I’ll be tucking him into bed and he’ll mournfully tell me that he misses his old operating system. He has spent a considerable amount of time Googling, “how to go back to iOS6.” I, admittedly, have also spent way too much time Googling that too. (Short answer, that door is closed.) I wrote the post below for GeekDad about his feelings toward the new operating system (plus a few extra thoughts for you guys).
Image: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr
The Wolvog has a scorching case of Uploaders Remorse, that sinking feeling that comes after you’ve downloaded an app and wish you hadn’t, or upgraded your software after being prompted by an update only to discover that your device doesn’t work as well as before.
He’s usually the type who clicks first and thinks second, and he was champing at the bit to upgrade to iOS7. “Let’s wait,” I told him. “Let’s research it a bit; see what people think about the new operating system.” I am the other type of person. I think first for a loooooooooooooong time and click second. I drag my heels with every download. We read a few posts, and I was unconvinced that I’d like new software.
“Let’s try it out in the store,” I suggested. He waited impatiently for a day to roll around where a trip to the Apple store worked with our schedule. I didn’t love the new operating system once I had a chance to play with it on a sample device, and I told him that I was going to wait a bit longer to switch over. I knew I would need to switch at some point; but I was going to wait to see if later versions of the software addressed the issues I had with the new operating system.
In the meantime, he upgraded his software.
He used his iPod for a moment and then set it aside. He went to read on the sofa, which seemed odd considering how long he begged to upgrade the software, and I went upstairs to work. An hour later, he came into my room, his lip quivering. “I hate the new operating system.” He could get used to the new look, the new set-up, but he couldn’t get accustomed to a new sound. Siri’s voice had changed ever so slightly; it was less robotic, less hesitant. The fluidity of sound made him feel as if it wasn’t his Siri anyone.
[It turns out it wasn’t his imagination. When Susan Bennett stepped forward last week to claim ownership over old Siri’s voice, it was also reported that, “Alas, Bennett’s reign as Siri is coming to an end. Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 7, features new Siri voices, according to CNN.”]
He instantly wanted to go back to the old operating system.
We looked into downgrading and discovered it was too late. The upgrade was a one-way ticket at that point, and he was stuck with the new operating system. He couldn’t wrap his mind around the idea that his iPod was forever stuck with an imposter Siri. He curled up on the floor with my phone and spoke to his old friend, asking her to tell him a story and then crying whenever she spoke.
It was as if a corporation had snatched away his imaginary friend. An imaginary friend who happened to be a middle-aged voice talent living in Georgia, but an imaginary friend nonetheless.
I couldn’t laugh at it because I think it’s sweet that he regards programs as something more than pages of code.
For the Wolvog, programs are like a well-loved pet; the good ones respond with interaction (like a purr accompanying a scratch behind the ears). Siri wasn’t just a computerized voice, scanning a database in order to speak search results. She was an anthropomorphized program that he loved spending time with, trying to figure out how far the software could go. Plus our family has gone through this once before with Clippy. There were huge tears when he discovered that Microsoft knocked off his office assistant friend in newer versions of Word. Maybe if we all looked at programs as fuzzy creatures that can enhance our lives by taking our direction, we would be less freaked out by the idea of diving into code.
He loves programs — especially programs with human-like qualities — in the same way that I love fictional characters; enough so to become a fiction writer as my job. I think whenever you spend enough time with something — whether it is a novel or a program — you begin to feel a fondness toward the creation. I don’t think we’ve ever been in danger of him believing that a program is real, but that doesn’t mean that his heart isn’t at risk. It is since he falls in love with code, and he falls hard. Whether it’s the tiny programs we’re currently writing together in Python or the well-established programs of Clippy or Siri, the boy cares. He loves programs — foibles and all — and wants them to remain as a constant. Caring brings huge rewards, but it also means that sometimes you get your heart broken.
Like when Apple changes your friend.
He won’t remain sad forever. I’m basing this on the fact that while he still keeps a little drawing of Clippy that its creator, Kevan Atteberry, sent him, life has moved on. He will one day be fine with the new Siri, even if he still goes back and listens to old recordings he’s made of the original Siri.
What this has done is make him less trigger happy for the next upgrade. He’ll think long and hard before he clicks on updates, figuring out how deeply the changes will affect him. He may trail a bit behind his friends in having the latest software, but he’ll be ultimately more at peace with each change by easing into it. That’s what people who see programs as more than lines of code need to do.
Are you an early adopter of new software upgrades? Do you like to update your software the moment the option becomes available, or do you ease into change, reading up on the new system (or trying it out) before downloading?