Lessons from Software Updates

Have you ever noticed how, when you’re staring a deadline right in the face, your computer forgets what a printer is? Or your printer decides it doesn’t like the paper size? Or some other weird never-happened-before glitch shows up in your work day?

That happened to me when I was on a project deadline in April. My Word 2007 developed this really strange mouse bug. I could open some documents, use the tools on the ribbon, but not do another thing in the document. Basically the mouse in Word 2007 stopped working. It worked in every other application, but not in Word.

I did the classic computer tech repair for everything: a reboot. No change. I swapped to a different mouse (well, could have been hardware related…) No change. I did an Office repair through control panel. No change. I checked the Windows update log in Control Panel – yep, Office Service Pack 2 had downloaded and installed itself on the 15th (note to self: configure automatic updates to nag, not install themselves) and that’s when the error started. I wrote what I needed to write in Keynote, emailed the document I really needed to print to a colleague to print for me, and told myself I’d fix it on Saturday. Which I did, thank you Google!

I tried a few fixes suggested, but the one that worked for me was this one from Tim Anderson’s IT writing blog, posted by Bence Arendas:

1. Close Word and Outlook
2. Start / Run and type regedit
3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice12.0WordData
4. Rename this key (I renamed it dataold)
5. Restart Word

And it worked! Like a charm! So I thought I’d come and blog about it, when I got here there were error messages all over my blog! I’d done a quick WordPress 2.8 upgrade a couple of days earlier, and it all seemed to be working fine, but I didn’t go into it too deeply as I had been right on deadline for the project. Luckily the error messages in WordPress are very specific and all I needed to do was delete a plugin, so I FTPd to my server and renamed the plugin folder (essentially the same as deleting it because the application looks only for the original name). And bingo, that was all working again too.

Which got me thinking, and is the point of this post:

Software companies really don’t care what the side-effects are of their upgrades. I rarely get ticked when there’s a new free upgrade because with rare exceptions, it usually makes the application run better, and often offers really useful new features. All of that is certainly true of the WordPress 2.8 upgrade, it’s much speedier and that new widget interface is so kewl it makes me laugh 🙂

Oh, back to the point – often when we are on a path of personal growth we become aware of the impact our actions have on others, and for many people, that awareness stops them in their tracks, at least for a while. Also, we women can be so sensitive to the needs of others that we suppress or downplay what we want and need in favour of what others want and need.

In essence, we derail our own human software upgrade because we’re worried about what those we care about will do, think, or feel. We take responsibility for their reactions, when really we have no business stepping into their decision-making process.

What if, instead, we were able to behave like the focussed developers at WordPress, who are interested in making the best software they can make? Their upgrades make sense on a user and technical level, and they will rewrite the code as often as it takes to keep their progress on track. They work within the framework of the main operating systems, and gather input from their community of users. And they make the decisions on what to do next based on the operating systems and the user input, but THEY make the decision on what is best for the continued progress of the application. They always communicate openly and honestly with their community, and offer test versions of the software to anyone who’s intested in helping to test it, and they consider the feedback they get to develop the best possibly outcome for all. Anyone who codes plugins or templates or even just uses WordPress then has the option to upgrade their particular interaction to keep  using WordPress. Or not. The choice is completely theirs.

So how would it be if we did the same thing with our human software?

We decided what direction we wanted to take, after due contemplation and consideration, to be the best Me we can be. That upgrade would make sense on a user and spiritual/consciousness level, and we would continue exploring avenue to keep rewirting the code as often as needed to keep our progress on track. We would be working within our cultural frameword and gathering input from our communities. And WE would make the decisions on what to do next based on all that input and what we feel is best for the continued progress of the being we are. We would always communicate openly and honestly and with compassion for ourselves and our loves ones, and as we moved along they would naturally be helping us test the new ways of being as we implement them into our lives. We would consider their feedback to develop the best possible outcome for all, not just for our ‘others’. We would compassionately allow anyone who interacts with us on any level to make their own decisions as to how they would like to accommodate our evolving selves. The choice would be completely theirs, and completely ours.

Yes, I think there’s a lot to be said for adopting some of the focus of WordPress developers. 🙂 What do you think?

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