100daysofgrievances #10 TECHNOLOGY

I am not a technophobe. I cannot imagine enduring even a week without my Kindle, my phone, my iPod, or a digital radio, I’m just not very clued up when it comes to technology. Take this morning, for example, when I sleepily opened an email on my phone asking me to rate the TV programme Luther. My immediate reaction was to wonder how the hell the TV had told my phone that’s what I’d been watching…

In my defence, I was slightly hungover, exceptionally tired, and it only took me a minute or two to realise that as I’d been watching the series on Amazon Prime, and Amazon have my email address, it wasn’t the great mystery I had first imagined. I don’t like the ‘smart’ TV very much at all (although I have to admit i did enjoy watching all the episodes of Luther – I’d give it 4 stars,  Amazon).  I believe this TV to be unnecessarily gimmicky, and I actively dislike the feature which allows the BF to check up on me. Before he bought it, I stated with a distinct air of superiority, that as I don’t watch TV, and have far more important things to be doing with my time, we really only required the most basic model… He blatantly ignored me, bought his fancy-pants TV, and I figured out the basics when he was in the pub. A few weeks later, he questioned whether I’d been partaking in plenty of worthwhile pursuits – writing my dissertation, reading the classics, going for wholesome walks, and the like – and neglecting the TV as I had predicted that I would. Clearly I answered in the affirmative and was not best pleased when he deftly listed times and dates when I had surreptitiously caught up on gems such as ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’, ‘Secret Eaters’, ‘Embarrassing Bodies’, ‘The Undateables’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Secrets of the Living Dolls’ (men who dress up as weird, freaky dolls – you’ll find it on 4OD…) A nice normal, simple TV would have kept my guilty pleasures a secret!

To this day I still don’t know how to access the memory on the stupid thing (if I did, I would be able to delete it, one would hope), and I have actually considered watching the first few minutes of some less frivolous and more worthy (boring) programmes, just to balance out my viewing stats. The main reason I haven’t is that I’ve got a sneaking suspicion the tattletale TV would report back that I watched only the first three minutes of multiple episodes of Panorama, and I fear that may look even worse. So, I don’t think it is completely beyond the realms of possibility that the TV could have maybe communicated to my phone what I had been watching recently. Obviously I know it didn’t, but maybe it COULD HAVE.

In the manner of a true technophobe, I do (on occasion) fear, dislike and avoid new technology. It’s not often that I truly fear technological advancements (with the obvious terrifying exception of nuclear weaponry, and the somewhat less serious example of new and improved self-service machines – imagine they were in EVERY SINGLE SHOP!) No, it’s more a little niggle of being faced with something I have absolutely no hope of ever fully understanding. Take my Kindle, for example. It is one of my favourite (and most used) inanimate objects of all time, but I find it very slightly scary. I cannot get my head round how I can buy books online on my computer, and then a few minutes after I turn the Kindle on, the books start to arrive on it; do they fly about in cyberspace just waiting for me to switch it on? Are there thousands of virtual books whizzing around everywhere waiting for their owners to turn on their e-readers? I would find it all a little less incomprehensible if I had to plug it in – virtual books travelling along cables is far more acceptable to my not-remotely-technical brain than them homing in on my Kindle from space. 3D printing is another concept which I simply cannot get my head round; surely if it ‘prints’ objects then it is just a machine. A machine like in a factory, which is also programmed to make objects. What am I misunderstanding here? Maybe a lot of new technology merely involves coming up with new NAMES for existing machines…

It also seems to involve making them unnecessarily complicated, too. I recently had to download a thirty page instruction manual detailing how to use the remote control for my boiler. Thirty Pages. Obviously, I couldn’t manage to get the printer to work so had to skim read it all on the screen. And, whatsmore, it wasn’t a case of ‘I’ll do it once and I’ll never have to refer to this book again’… Oh no, the instructions to do even one simple thing (make it go on and off at set times) were so convoluted – if memory serves correctly, I think this particular exercise spanned 12 pages of the book – that I will most definitely have to refer to them again next year. Well, I’ll probably have to find them online again too, as no doubt when the weather starts to warm up again, there will be no sign of them saved anywhere on the computer…

In the manner of a true technophobe, I definitely dislike a lot of new technology too – the aforementioned self-service checkouts to name just one. Seriously, if they can invent a TV that can sneakily force me to relinquish possession of my much-enjoyed upper-hand, then surely they can create a machine that doesn’t need an assistant to override it each and every time I swipe a bottle of beer during the same transaction. I have a sneaking suspicion that when a certain Mr Worrall-Thompson was caught shoplifting a couple of years ago, he was actually just fed up with the machine telling him to remove the items from the bagging area.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/jan/09/antony-worrall-thompson-caught-shoplifting

The final defining feature of a technophobe is a predilection for simple things, and an avoidance of new technology. I have all but given up trying to dodge the inevitable, and certainly don’t go out of my way to avoid anything remotely technical. However, give me a choice between old and new – a real, actual, solid boarding pass versus an easily-deletable, suspiciously fake-looking pass on the screen of a phone, or a clock you can set five minutes fast in an attempt to create the illusion of extra time in bed in the morning, versus a a clock controlled from space and accurate to a fraction of a second – I know which one I would choose!

 

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