The inspiration for this blog comes from the fact that I’m going on holiday for a week and as a regular blogger I will be releasing, promoting and tracking my blog while I’m away (hopefully). I have done this in the past using a tablet, but it’s not ideal. I don’t want to lug my main laptop with me so I’ve invested in a chromebook which is small, light and inexpensive, and I hope will do everything I need when away from the mother ship. As I write this it has yet to arrive, so I know I will have to go through the pain of setting it up. And I know despite all the advertising that something will not be as easy as it should be. And/or when I get to my holiday destination there will be problems (sound familiar?). Now don’t get me wrong I’m no Luddite when it comes to technology (I’m writing on a pc, not with quill and paper), but there are times when all these gizmos that are supposed to make our lives easier don’t. In fact they can take frustration to a whole new level.
1) Starting with a simple one, why is the caps key next to the ‘a’ on my keyboard? Making it inevitable that every so often I’ll catch it in error. And why doesn’t the computer recognise that it is not normal to start writing in caps half way through a word? A simple thing, but to someone who spends a significant proportion of the day writing, so annoying!
2) Why is setting up as new pc such a pain? You buy a new top of the range Windows laptop. It tells you there is a simple transfer from your old one to the new one. But wait, only from Windows 7 to Windows 8, what! You go on line, you buy a cable with the software (why is this not part of the deal? Or do they expect you to totally start from scratch, entering everything by hand?). Fine, files transfer easily, but your mail, contacts and diary, that’s a whole new level of frustration. Surely, this is a basic need for anyone buying a new pc? And I haven’t mentioned all those other programs you use. I know, I know, I should have bought a mac – that’s what my son keeps telling me.
3) Devices that ‘talk’ to each other, then for reasons best known to themselves don’t? My kindle wi-fis into the network in my home. It’ll be fine for weeks then I come to download a book only to find it’s stopped and won’t reconnect. Half an hour of frustration leads to nothing, then the next day it works again. Does it do this on purpose? My blue toothed phone links into my car so I can get the annoying calls I don’t want, then when I want to make that important call, guess what?
4) Passwords – 6 letters, eight letters. Letters and numbers. Letters, numbers and symbols. Letters numbers, symbols and capital letters. Some caps sensitive, some not. All mine tend to be variations on a theme, but which variation?, especially on some web sites I don’t use very often. Then you can lock yourself out, or you have to reset your password….
5) My television network gives me the facility to download things I’ve missed or ‘box sets’. Whoopee! Fantastic. Except its connection into my wi-fi network is temperamental. OK try a signal booster, that’s temperamental as well. So every time I want to use it I have to go through set up, which may or may not work. Then it may lose connection half way through the download and I have to start again. So guess what, I don’t use it. The solution, I’m advised, is to have an ethernet cable link to the router. Great, that’s only going to be 20m of cable.
6) Those programs that interfere with others. I bought a new GPS thingy recently and the software needed 64 bit itunes (no, I don’t know why). The next time I tried to upload a cd the cd drive didn’t work. Much fiddling, wasted time and a phone call later, ‘Oh yes, sir, the 64 bit itunes could well do that. Why?’
To me it’s as if the developers of all this technology have the great idea, then hand it straight to the marketing people and no-one thinks of the issues the end user might have. Don’t they road test it’? Or do they road test it, find the problems and can’t be bothered, as in ‘Ah, they’ll work it out’. I’m sure there are other examples you can think of. Maybe we should start a campaign ‘make technology work for the consumer’.
By the way, does anyone know of a reliable wi-fi booster? Oh, and a (I’ve just hit that caps key again!) good therapist. Or perhaps I just need that holiday. Cheers.
As always your comments and suggestion are welcome.