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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse

Background apps

Nowadays the word app (abbreviation for application) seems to be very popular and ever on the rise in our technological world. In the old days, the common term was program, which typically required installation on a computer. Through time all kinds of apps/programs have been developed and one major type is the so-called background apps, which are equivalent to the running programs of the old days. It is a huge strain on the device’s electronic capacity (memory, ram, CPU etc) to run background apps and I always try to put as many of them to sleep as possible, retaining only the essential ones that I need (e.g. antivirus, internet browser, pdf reader). This was not always possible, however, especially in older versions of Windows where all programs were automatically activated at Login. For this reason, I have distinct recollections of being frustrated by how slow my computer ran for reasons of heavy load (if not overload), which was not helped by the lack of WiFi in those days (unlimited broadband was certainly a massive upgrade on the traditional 56 Kb/s phone-line connection but still of no comparison to today’s astronomical internet speed). Furthermore, I tended to use many downloaders which would periodically download and extract files from various media, which was an absolute speed-killer. There was one occasion when I left home for boarding school and I had inadvertently left my downloader(s) switched on for a indefinite period of time. It had completely slipped my mind to turn it off for my break of absence and avoid obstruction of internet traffic for other users in my household, which was totally inconsiderate of me, though it was surprising how no one ever complained to me about it (probably because other members of my household were not as active on the computer as I was, so running the downloaders while engaging with normal and mundane internet activities probably was not so bad). When I returned home for the next school vacation, however, I was very pleasantly surprised to discover many new files on my computer, many of which I had previously requested on my downloader(s) which proceeded to download them, and in the space of about three months several hundreds of files that I had always wanted to have (most of which I had forgotten about) were stored on my computer. Obviously, I felt guilty about slowing down the system for more than three months, but suddenly and unexpectedly discovering hundreds of new and exciting files was absolutely exhilarating. Looks like running background apps is a good idea after all, despite the extra load and strain it has on the general running of the device. I have said before how multi-tasking works for me, even if it does not work for the vast majority of our population, and one thing that I love about doing several things at the same time is that despite the extra strain and fatigue it has on me, keeping things ticking in the background is time-effective since rather than wait for a particular process to complete itself, it might be advisable to start on a new task and do several things simultaneously. Certain processes can take care of themselves without us looking at them, and this may be a golden opportunity to do some other things that do require our immediate attention. Don’t give up.

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