Technology Bytes Sometimes

By Vicki Hughes      Posted December 2, 2013

I have been using a computer daily since about 1992. This in no way makes me a techie, but I have spent my share of time on the line with tech support, and I know the drill: Turn it off. Turn it back on. That fixes about seventy percent of my technical difficulties. Men should learn this when dealing with women, seeing as how they sometimes forget that all important second step.

The other day it occurred to me that I am credited with far more technical savvy than I feel I can honestly say I possess. However, I remain strangely in charge of more and more technical devices. This is much the same way I hated math in school, yet most of my adult jobs have been heavy on the math. It doesn’t seem fair, but it’s the way it is.

Here are some startling facts about my lack of technical savvy:

I have no idea what LTE is on my phone, but if I felt compelled to solve the mystery, I’d Google it. Most everything I know how to do with a computer, I’ve Googled. I’m still very fuzzy on RAM and gigabytes and the relative importance of processor speeds and memory. My primary concern is, can I get on Facebook, shop on Zappo’s and download books from Amazon? If the answer is yes, I have what I need.

Whenever I use iTunes, I try various random maneuvers, and I am never entirely sure,from one attempt to the next, what worked and what didn’t. When it works I do a little fist pump, and when it doesn’t work I curse my ever growing dependence on all things electronic, and feel tears of frustration pricking at the backs of my eyes. And then I always marvel at the literal millions of people who apparently are much better at this than I am, and then I weep for realsies.

Sometimes when I am typing a Word doc, it disappears entirely, for no reason whatsoever, and then I have a tiny meltdown. I have been known to have a very strange effect on electronic devices, including making wrist watches run backwards. When things glitch out around me, I attribute this to my animal magnetism.

In spite of this I am notoriously bad about backing up my data. It usually only happens when my computer takes matters into its own hands and simply refuses to let me pass go or collect two hundred dollars until I back some shit up. This generally follows a period where I have been systematically ignoring some pop up window, vaguely telling it, “Yeah, yeah, I’m sure.”

If you ever join us on a night when we are attempting to watch a DVD with my Mom, and I am trying to get the Closed Captioning to work, pack a snack. This endeavor alone will explain to you why I have a favorite martini glass. Our very long suffering daughter usually has to intervene before somebody says something unfortunate.

My iPhone has that clever Siri to help me with a variety of tasks. Why can’t my TV simply respond  when I say, “Turn on the friggin’ Closed Captions, will ya? I’m not getting any younger over here!” That’s a feature I’d pay extra for. And I’d love it if my remote was all voice activated, and would respond to questions like, “Remind me again what happened last week with that snarky guy on Revenge? I was texting during that part, and missed it!”

I occasionally pass along a techie tidbit to someone frighteningly less adept than I am. I recently shared a contact with a friend, meaning I forwarded someone else’s contact information from my phone contacts directly into a text message. All he had to do was click “Add New Contact” to magically have that person’s info. He quietly took me aside, and as though we were passing state secrets, he said from the corner of his mouth, “How did you do that?” I showed him the drill, and then we both felt smarter.  But these tiny sparks of hope are so rare.

Any device that needs to be plugged into the back of our TV, DVR or DVD player with a red white or yellow cable, is probably going to make me twitchy, and say things like, “Maybe this is not my calling.” And the words next to those ports, printed in black on black? Could those be printed any smaller?

I have angry, angry thoughts towards the maps function in my iPhone, and it has caused me on more than one occasion to long for the simplicity of a paper map, and a compass. Or a homing pigeon. Nevertheless, I keep using it.

Passwords that contain capital letters, symbols and numbers make me increasingly hostile, and in my opinion will be the catalyst to convincing the masses to accept the mark of the beast, simply to avoid having to use such absurdities to do things like rent a movie or order vitamins online. Why does my vitamin ordering history need to NSA levels of security?

There are tiny icons on my phone RIGHT NOW that I am completely unfamiliar with. One looks like paperclips in love. I have no idea what it means.

I’m contemplating buying a new tablet, and this is stressing me out. I’m fraught with despair because I’m convinced that whichever one I buy will lack the one feature I truly can’t live without, but will have forty-seven I don’t even know exist.

In spite of it all, when I am enjoying a glass of wine, and weather stalking my friends around the country, comparing our ten day forecasts, I’m all in. When I am texting friends and loved ones all over the USA, while the alfredo sauce gets happy, I am in love with this technology stuff. I am convinced it is here to stay. Happy Cyber Monday.

© Vicki Hughes 2013

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