Every year at this time, we all make resolutions. Just about the end of January, we break them. The cycle is the same over and over. It’s not that we don’t have good intentions, but rather that we are human and change is hard.
This year, like so many others, I resolve to make the New Year better. I am going to lose weight, exercise every day, live my life at a slower pace, and try to keep the joy of Christmas all through the year. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they are all nice thoughts, but I know that next year at this time I will probably be writing the same things.
However, there is one resolution that I do plan to keep, if for no other reason than my own sanity:
I am going to try to make friends with technology. Ugh. We all live in this modern world where technology changes, not year to year or even month to month, but day to day. A new phone is almost obsolete even before it hits the market. The younger generation has the advantage here because they have grown up with iPads, iPods, tablets, MP3 players, and all of the other new technology that we think we cannot live without. Why is it so hard for my generation to understand this new concept?
Take my printer, for example. My old one and I got along just fine — after all, it was just a printer. I pushed the print button on the computer, and it printed. If I wanted to scan something, it scanned. When it broke, as with most tech gadgets, it was cheaper to replace it than to fix it. Of course, replacing it with the exact same model was impossible because they have upgraded that model and made it “better.”
Now when I push the print button, it wants to know which tray I want to print from and what size I would like it to print. I just want it to print what is on my screen the same way it printed the last piece! Is that too much to ask? Apparently so, because it keeps telling me that I am out of paper even though there is plenty of paper in the paper tray. It spits out the first sheet because it doesn’t like it. To me, that sheet looks like the other 259 sheets in there. I also have to go to the setup menu every single time, because it wants to know if I have chosen the correct size, layout, number of pages, and print options. Why doesn’t a printer know it is just supposed to print?
Even my cell phone makes me live life the hard way. When I bought it new, I had Wyatt set it up for me so that I would not have any ridiculous problems. All I wanted to do was to make calls and text. Instead I had to choose from at least 20 different ring tones, just as many different kinds of fonts, and set up voice mail. On top of that, Wyatt informed me that I could get on the Internet, listen to music, read whole books, use it as a secretary to keep track of my appointments, edit photos, and on and on. I know a tear slipped out of my eye when I pleaded, “All I want to do is to make a phone call. Why can’t a phone just make a call?”
Plus, my GPS and I have problems. A couple years ago, before we went to Maine, we got our first one. I was careful to download all the new maps so that we would have all the current information. Any other GPS device that I had used was pretty simple, even for me: You put in your current location and the destination that you wanted, and it took you there. Our new one took us to Maine and then, when we were in the middle of nowhere, gave us directions to the Cayman Islands. Needless to say, when we returned home we parted company with that GPS.
I am not the smartest person in the world, but neither am I mentally challenged. Why is it so hard for me to understand how these technical gadgets work? I figured that the more I worked with the technology, the more familiar I would become with it. Even my PC and I are on a limited, friendly basis. My friend, Steph, still does all the updates and housekeeping to keep it running smoothly. Even so, there are a few things that I have to do along the way. So, guess what, I have a cheat sheet that guides me step by step.
I have tried to rationalize and wonder if it is this whole right brain/left brain theory. I would like to think so, because at least that gives me an excuse as to why this whole concept is so hard for me to grasp.
This year for Christmas, I had a particularly hard decision. I had heard that the Bose Radio was one of the best, if not the best. I wanted to order one, but could just imagine how hard the installation would be. However, the salesman reassured me repeatedly that the model I was looking at only needed to be plugged into an outlet. Come on, even I was not that gullible! In this day and age, there is not one piece of electronic equipment that does not need to be set up or synced to some other piece to make it work.
“I promise you, all you need to do is connect it to an outlet.” The salesman sounded like a broken record as he tried to convince me.
“I do not need to sync it with the radio stations in the area?”
“It does not need to be located in a certain area in the home?”
“I won’t have wires strung all over the house?”
With a sigh, I ordered it and prayed I had not made the wrong decision. When the box came, we opened it, took the packing off, and connected the plug to an outlet. There was music. We waited. There was still music.
One piece of electronics has been made simple enough that even I can use it! My confidence is restored. Perhaps the industry is reconsidering engineering with my generation in mind. Life is good, and there is hope. Now if I could only get my voice messages off my phone!
Photo by Fotolia/neirfy