Wednesday, 16 May 2012
21. I.T. and me
Okay. I confess. I have a tumultuous relationship with I.T. and the way today’s world is increasingly reliant on machines. While I know our everyday is made more convenient by technology, and though I email, Google and Facebook (still resisting ‘tweeting’ and getting ‘linked’ into anything!), there are times when the whole thing does my head in!
Take tonight for example. My wireless Mac keyboard informed me it was about to disconnect due to low batteries. Then, without so much as a "goodbye", it just shut down! I trudged off to dutifully replace the batteries, but when I tried to re-sync the keyboard, my Mac advised: “a keyboard cannot be found”. Then it found and lost it a few hundred times, each time sending me right to the start of the process AGAIN and again! It took a few deeeeeep breaths to stop me from throwing the (BLEEP!) thing on the floor! Aaargh! Who could I call? Not the ghost busters!
Now, some of my anti-Apple friends may choose this juncture to encourage me to trade-in my Mac for an alternative operating system. But as a multi-system household employing both Apple and Windows in our multiple-tablet-and-laptop home, maybe I need to ask the question. Am I the problem?
Okay, there are things I CAN blame on a remote mainframe halfway across the other side of the world. You know, when things work one minute and then not the next? For example, my AMEX card. Or the sat-nav that conveniently decides to suggest I call the help desk to report “Error 95847” WHEN we are in the middle of nowhere familiar. And so you call that help desk which is ‘answered’ by a machine that keeps failing to acknowledge your input – and then hangs up on you?! Stupid *#$^!
The worst part is when things go wrong, and I try to find the solution by Goggle or other search engines, I hit another dead end. Because although the web throws up a whole gaggle of links to possible solutions, more often than not, its written in IT-speak. Let’s see, I need to look up the “batch file” and check the “DRAM” and “RTF” for the “Bitmap” and convert the “TIFF” to “JPEG” or the “AIFF” will not “ZIP”. WHAT? Why do I need to contact my server regarding the” 404 Error”? Yup. Its all just babblegab to me. And I suspect, even if someone tutored me on the glossary, my eyes would still glaze over – my brain is just NOT built that way!
Maybe the problem is this: mathematical logic is used for the computer programming which sets things in motion in our everyday world. From financial transactions for bus or train travel, to paying for your lunch or groceries, to the mechanics behind the workings of your WIFI at home or the mouse for your computer. And if you, like me, are unable to decipher the complex jungle of tech-speak, you cannot help but feel like a lost cause.
Don’t get me wrong. I am SO grateful for all the convenience I.T. affords me – when things all work swimmingly well. SKYPE, Facebook, email; allowing me to keep in touch with friends and family spread across the globe, in a very wallet-friendly way.
But while I wait for the penny to drop and for the ‘stuff’ I learnt at the computer programming elective I took up as part of my undergraduate course work to become of use (SO many years ago, thinking it could come in handy one day!), I will continue keeping all fingers crossed in the hope that someone (ie at the call centre!) will come to my aid – SOON!