Fri Sep 17, 2010
I switched to Ubuntu a few months ago, but lately I had to run Windows to convert some VHS video tapes to mp4. The tapes are usually 3 or 4 hours long, so I leave the computer working at night and the work is done when I wake up in the morning.
Yesterday morning I was surprised to find the computer running Ubuntu, even I left it running Windows. A power cut? A lightning? Nah, it’s a laptop… A really nasty Windows bug? I checked the video file and 30 minutes were missing from the end. I wondered what had happened, until I realized Windows had installed some updates and rebooted on it’s own, even there was a program running. I find this annoying, even dangerous.
In my case this automatic reboot “feature” made me waste time. But what if I was on a deadline doing some 3D rendering? what if I expected to access this computer remotely, or if it was in charge of controlling some physical devices in meatspace? I know the feature can be switched off, but I believe it should not be on in the first place. Not like this. I’m sure this feature has caused trouble more than once to people around the world.
Two changes would make it less problematic. One: reboot only if the computer is idle. If I have a program running using a lot of resources, maybe it’s for a reason. Two: send me a notification e-mail. I probably receive it on my cell phone. This way I have a clue about what went “wrong”.
It looks like the developers did not consider I might not be sitting in front of the computer when it’s telling me ‘hey, I’m going to reboot, save your changes’. Good that I will be done converting these tapes very soon :)