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Technology Failed Me!

ImageThat was the line my daughter hit me with when she came home from work.  It was an interesting comment since I had just finished this blog on that very topic but was still looking for a title. I’m going to plagiarize her comment.

I hate technology.  Designed to make my life easier but in long run I think it makes it more complicated.  The goal of this morning was a simple task of outlining a curriculum for class this afternoon.  I fired up the computer, started the voice recognition and sat down to do some dictation.  The computer acted as if it had never heard my voice before.

  I re-calibrated the microphone and started from scratch.  The machine continued to act as though I’m was speaking Greek.  This meant for every sentence I typed, I had to go back and find the correct words the voice recognition replaced for mine.  On days when I have a lot of time this is not a big deal.  Today was not one of those days.

 Now I can hear you saying, why didn’t you just type?  The answer is because I have a bum arm and am supposed to let it rest.  Consequently, me and the voice recognition system went round and round.

 I finally got it running fairly smoothly and sat down to type.  I completed my paper and hit print.  We have a Wireless Network in my house.  That means I can be on the second floor hit the print button and the paper will print on the first floor.  This did not happen.

 Last week something happen with our router and the wireless stopped working. Since then, I’ve been dragging my laptop to the printer so I can connect the two by cable.  Yesterday we thought we’d fixed the wireless router. So this morning when I hit the print button I expected to go downstairs and find my prints waiting.  What I found was nothing.

 I trudged back up the steps and checked my laptop. A message read, can’t talk to the printer. I think, so much for the wireless fix.  I unplugged the equipment from my laptop and take it downstairs to try again.  Nothing happened. I can’t get the printer to function at all.  I think, there’s a new printer still in the box on the second floor, I’ll quickly set up that one.

  I found the printer and set it up. It’s the exact same printer as the one downstairs so it should not have been a problem.

 I hooked my laptop with the new printer and hit print. Nothing happened.  I realized there was a disk that I’m supposed to install.  I figured since they were the same printer I would not need additional software. 

 I popped in the disk and hit install.  An error message occurred.  It read, no drivers found, installation unsuccessful.  It directed me to click on a link for more information.  I did this and It read, you ding-a-ling you should not have your laptop connected to the printer while trying to install printer software.  I didn’t know that.

I unplug the laptop from the printer and tell it to reinstall the disk.  The computer cranks away and another error message pops.  It read, if you really want to print do a dos-e-doe, twirl around, clap your hands and agree to sell your first born child.  After you sign that you agree with this try to reinstall the software.  So I signed and waited.  Another error message popped.  It said, I’ve decided we’re not printing today, so sorry for your bad luck.  

 I decided to write the information I typed onto paper. I’m in the process doing this when the computer tells me it’s going shopping to get software upgrades.  There’s no time to think about the idea. It simply said goodbye and my screen went blank. I can no longer access my document.

 I restarted the computer and it informed me it has to install all the upgrades it found before it abandoned me.  Estimated time before I can use the machine is ten minutes.

  Fine, I needed to eat lunch anyway.  I heated up some leftover spaghetti from last night’s dinner and ate while standing at the kitchen sink.  After all I only had 10 minutes before the machine allows me back to work and there was a lot I needed to do.

 Everything complete, I restarted the programs but couldn’t find my file. I looked everywhere. It was as though I never wrote it.  I suppose it’s possible I never saved the document; however, I typically save papers every so many paragraphs.  In my frustration maybe I forgot this time.

 After I searched files for about a half hour, I felt like throwing the printer and the computer out the window.  Logic stepped in and instead, I put on my shoes and went for a drive.  What I needed was a change of scenery.  I decided the comic book store was the place to go.

 At the comic book store, they were playing electronic music reminiscent of the group Tangerine Dream from the seventies.  The store had lots of eye catching, multi-colored paper covers to greet my eyes.  Titles that splashed the exploits of superheroes, imaginary universes and action, adventure films surround me.  Familiar friends like X- men, Wolverine, Ironman, Star Trek, Star Wars and Dr. Who were only a few.  The guy behind the desk was more than interested in shooting the breeze for a few moments.  

 Those few moments in a pop-culture environment with conversation having nothing to do with reality was exactly what I needed.  Feeling refreshed I headed home to tackle my technology nightmares.

 Back upstairs in my office I once again looked at the printer, laptop and thought, I’m going to give this one more try.  Once again I tried to install the software and once again the computer complained.  It told me to click this, click that, say three Hail Mary’s and eat a strawberry yogurt with granola.  I’m not going to let you print. I’ll show the machine who is boss; I’m going to turn this over to my tech squad, hubby, when he gets home.

  I returned to using the voice recognition program with another project.  Like earlier, it continues to be uncooperative. Instead of typing sentences like, I’m going to drive to the store to buy milk.  The voice recognition program typed… and runs were minimal.  These were not the same sentence.  They didn’t even sound the same.  I don’t get it.

 Maybe the moon is waxing or waning or maybe we are getting sun flares causing my equipment to run amok.  I don’t know but I do know if I lived in an imaginary reality like in a comic book, I would find a way to have machines do their master’s bidding. Not the master trying to figure out how to communicate with the machine or the machine doing what it wants when it wants.

  I worry sometimes about the level of dependence humans have on machines. Office machinery running amok is one thing, but I see those commercials for cars that park themselves and find myself concerned.  I hate technology sometimes. I don’t know if I’m ready for a world more dependent on machines.  Then again, machines probably aren’t real thrilled to work for people like me – technologically challenged.