In the midst of a mental meltdown Josie flung the computer mouse across the living room where it crash-landed on the floor, startling the snoozing cats. She was tempted to send the laptop sailing after it, but wisely decided it was time to step away for a breath of fresh air instead. Patience wasn't Josie's strong suit, and the recent upgrade of her laptop to Windows 8 was proving to be less user-friendly than she had hoped for...
"Tech Support... the embedded videos on Facebook and my friend's blogs won't play." "You can't play them in the metro view ma'am, you need to click on the tool icon that pops up at the bottom right of the screen and select View on Desktop", you can watch them from there."
"Tech Support... my Yahoo mail isn't working properly, there are no longer tabs at the top to switch between pages, and when I hit reply I am given a tiny box to type in that's about the size of a cellphone text box." "I'm sorry but Yahoo Email's latest upgrade wasn't optimized for Windows 8, maybe it will be included in their next Beta version."
"Tech Support... I can't open any of the Word documents I use, including my monthly budget." "I'm sorry but Microsoft no longer includes MS Word, or a free trial version of it with their software. If you need to access and manipulate documents you will need to purchase a copy of MS Office at the discount price of $169." "Can't I just reload the previous version of MS Word that I already own?" "I'm sorry that version isn't optimized for Windows 8." "Arrgghhh!!!"
Although she liked the concept, Josie struggled to learn to use the new metro view, to find settings which it seemed had all been given new names and hiding places, and all she wanted to do was to check her Facebook, send some email, and post to her blog! It seemed that every new update or upgrade to her tech toys (laptop, tablet, cellphone, etc.) required the acquisition of new knowledge to operate it's system...Windows... Android...iOS. When she bought her tablet the salesman told her she would find Android easy. He either lied about that or greatly overestimated her intelligence.
It wasn't just the "smart" equipment that was driving Josie mad with its endless options, apps, and menus; she never had found time to learn all the bells and whistles of her digital camera before was left in the dust, replaced by cellphones with cameras of their own, and she had yet to pull out the manual to her car to find out how to reset the "change oil now" light that the man at the service station forgot. Sometimes it was just easier to put up with such annoyances than to look up the solutions.
Then there was the new multi-functional remote for the Dish Network and it's new Hopper and Joey. Cute names, really cute. But what was that they'd said about recording five shows at a time? After much fumbling and fussing, she found out that they'd forgotten to mention that three of the five were mandatory Prime Time network stations, so you could really only record two shows of your own choosing simultaneously. No wonder there wasn't an increased charge, nothing gained.
Oh, and don't forget the GPS for the car, which is awesome once you learn to use it, except that every now and then it decides to take you to an "alternative" destination of it's own choosing, having nothing to do with where you intended to go. And it's important to update the files for $69 a year to include any new highways or perhaps a new city they've located on the ocean floor. If you find that a bit pricey, for just $189 you can buy a lifetime upgrade plan, unless of course the GPS itself becomes obsolete before you do.
Josie figured it out one day, it was all just a giant industry marketing conspiracy to keep her constantly wanting and needing something new just about the time she'd almost figured out the last gizmo. She thought it was called "planned obsolescence" or something like that, but she had another name for it... something about the byproduct of a large farm animal. It all seemed designed to make her feel incompetent and very, very old.
Josie found herself spending way too much of her life learning new gadgets and gizmos and how-to's, and longed for the simple days of her childhood when most devices came with an on/off switch, the one and only phone in the house was attached to the wall and calls were made by spinning a numbered dial, cameras were made by Kodak with prints developed from rolls of film at the store, both her watch and the clock on the wall indicated the time by the position of two hands pointing to numerals or numbers, and the alarm clock had to be wound; books were printed on bound sheets of paper that smelled and felt wonderful, mail came to you straight from the writer's hands, tv reception included just two stations - Dad decided which show would be watched and kids were the "remote" channel changers, and if you wanted to know how to get from point A to point B you learned to read a map. She now understood why her Grandmother, who lived to be well past 90 and was raised in the time of kerosene lamps and horse-drawn wagons, was so skeptical of tv news that showed a man walking on the moon. Maybe it was just too much change to assimilate.
Sadly, Josie realized that simplicity had given way to the desire to reach further, know more, and do more. She readily admitted that she loved the Internet, with it's infinite access to information and friends around the world. She loved her smart phone, and her laptop, and her tablet, and her GPS, and her Kindle reader, and the tv satellite dish which enabled her to access a hundred
What if every now and then we "pulled the plug" for a week or so, do you think we would survive?
I'm linking up with Msrupole's Theme Thursday