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I am technologically challenged. Although I do know how to program a DVD to time record a program or film, when it comes to dealing with a new mobile which I had just bought I am stymied. If only they do not refer to things that make absolutely no sense to me, I think I could follow their instructions. The trouble is that they give you a set of instructions that you follow religiously, and then suddenly they ask you something that has absolutely nothing to do with what you have been doing. This, to me, is exactly like algebra, which makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. What is this: A = B so what is X? How on earth am I supposed to know what their X is? At least I really don’t have to do those exercises any more. But I do have to set up my new mobile phone!

For the past couple of hours I have been trying to download an application that would give me access to my Kindle books. To do so I must go to an icon on the screen and download this application from there. Till now everything is straightforward and easy. When I go to that icon and ask for the Kindle app to have it downloaded the dratted telephone tells me that I have not told this icon of my e-mail address. Do they tell me how to talk to the icon to let it know what my e-mail address is? No, they just blame me for hiding that information from that icon!

OK, I take another tack. I go to the Internet. But it seems that all those gadgets and programs talk to one another without our knowing. When I try to download this application, the Internet does the same thing and says go download it from that icon. After two hours of non-communication with my new phone I have given up. Will have to ask one of my young cousins who is a technological whiz to help me out.

If you are not in the position of understanding the mindset of these gadgets they can really put you down. My previous mobile was state-of-the-art when I bought it, and up till three hours ago when I replaced it by my new phone, there were applications there that I knew nothing about. I came to hate it and have hated it for the past few months with an intensity that should only be reserved to very special relationships. But when it started shutting down for no reason and just going off line whenever it felt like it, that was it! We had irreconcilable differences and I had to replace it by a new one.

It seems that my idea that the more advanced the piece of equipment that I get the better off I shall be, is really quite wrong. The more advanced it is the more unfathomable it is to me. How on earth am I supposed to know how to set it up so that it does what I want it to do and not the other way around? It is supposed to serve me, not me try to keep up with it!

After two hours of intense frustration I have decided to ignore it. I had asked the technician at the shop to transfer all my contacts from my old hated phone to the new one, so have all my contacts there, but nothing else. Then I went to another shop and had them add Facebook and two other applications, which they did. But they did not know the Kindle application by Amazon and that was my downfall!

I am left speechless by the number of things that those modern telephones can do. I think in a bit more time they will start cooking your meals and cleaning your house and bringing up the kids for you. Training your pets, driving your car, and even doing your job for you. All this to leave us free to do what? Be creative? Philosophize? Become artistic? Why is it that we need such sophisticated and advanced gadgets to do everything for us? What are we freeing up all our time and energy for? It isn’t as though we are all, each and every one of us a genius that needs to totally concentrate on our given fields to soar to unprecedented heights of innovation and creativity. Yet still, more gadgets are invented to do things instead of us!

The more the advanced technology, the farther I am left behind. Why can there not be a simplified edition for “Dummies” like myself? There seem to be so many things that are taken for granted as a given that is known to all users which I don’t know. I must have missed that class. And once you reach a certain stage, those givens are a total mystery. Each new piece of equipment or gadget should come with two sets of instructions, one for dummies, where everything is spelled out and where there is a glossary explaining the meaning of every technical word used and specifying its abbreviation, also a video or detailed diagrams showing every step, and another for those people who are not technologically challenged.

At least that telephone came all set up, but some gadgets come in pieces and you have to put them together before they can work. This usually takes me a few days and even then, quite often I find bits and pieces that do not seem to fit anywhere. And the gadgets quite often don’t work. So I usually make sure that they are already assembled and working before I buy them.

A few weeks ago I was writing an article when Pixie my cat suddenly took it into his head to jump up and walk all over my keyboard. Before I could snatch him up the damage was done. My computer started talking to me. Every time I touched it, a serious and rather irritating voice would tell me in full detail all that I had just done! By the end of two hours I was ready to strangle Pixie and throw the laptop out of the balcony. I tried everything I could think of, and even some that were quite unique, but nothing worked, the voice kept on, till I finally gave in and humbly asked for technical help from the geniuses on Facebook. My cousin came to the rescue and really saved my sanity.

This experience was a very good lesson that made me realize that I had done the right thing by not getting married. This was a machine that was driving me crazy because it would not stop talking but which, at the end of the day, had a button that could turn it off. Now had that been a partner, who knows how things would have ended up! Murder is not far off.

For my peace of mind, and for my self esteem as well, I have decided that I shall delegate to those in the know to set up whatever piece of new equipment I acquire and to try to give me a very simplified version of its capabilities and how to operate it. Delving into the complications of all its capabilities would drive me round the bend and would depress me no end realizing how totally inadequate I am compared to that little piece of equipment. So from now on, no matter how sophisticated my phone is, I shall make sure that it knows it is just a phone. These gadgets when they get it into their heads that they are better than you, there is no living with them after that at all. They have to be put and kept in their place.

I shall have to live with my new phone as it is for the next few days till all the shops are open again after the feast holiday, then I will take it and have it licked into shape, but till then I shall ignore it and only use it to the minimum, that should teach it its place and its size. There was a post on Facebook telling you to enter the last three digits of your number in a certain way and the program will tell you your phone’s name. I did, but never got a response. Some gadgets and programs just ignore me. I was trying to find out my late phone’s name so that maybe, when it hid from me, I could call it by its name, it might answer. But anyway, it just didn’t work out, and that phone is now interned in the top desk drawer with its predecessors.

Technology is supposed to be something good for the advancement of mankind, but from my perspective I am not at all sure that that is the case.


2 Oct. 2014