Friday, April 26, 2013

Techno Fail!

It hasn't been such a horrible week, but it hasn't been such a good week either. It's been the kind of week where you remark at the end of it that you're glad the week is over, but don't feel like you dread the upcoming week.

Isn't that weird, how I've gotten kind of optimistic? I actually look forward to next week a little on the off chance that it might be better than this week.
I'll fuck you up.

Which is either a little bit cynical or extremely Polyanna-ish.

One thing I love in Turkish is that Polyanna means the same thing.

Tech failure has been an ongoing theme. Both of my computers, the home one and the work one, have turned into complete bitches. I mean, they were already crotchety, but they must have figured out I don't really love them deep down.

Not like I loved my old computer that got stolen. Whenever I see one like it, I have to run up and have a look and ask if I can touch it. It freaks people out.

On my home computer, the ad-blocker doesn't turn on automatically anymore. On the work computer, you have to restart it every time the Wi-Fi goes off, which is fairly often. The home one objects to this one Java download it keeps trying to install every morning. The work one takes like half an hour to wake up and start running at normal speed.

I could go on. I've been feeling rather list-making-ish lately.

But today, I had what I believe is a Serious Old Person Tech Failure. A Serious Old Person Tech Failure is when the computer does something computers don't do. Like it or not, and I'm not being ageist here, young people are more adept with computers. I can say I'm not being ageist because computer fluency is akin to language fluency, and there are now digital natives and digital non-natives. We can even take it a step further and say there are digital pidgin speakers and digital creole speakers.

But I digress. We all know what Old Person Tech Failures are like. Worst case, it's like this 70-year-old lady I used to work for. Every time the words disappeared from the screen (this was in the early 90s, mind you, so the screen was black with green letters), she'd freak out. Usually it was because she'd closed something, or hit return a million times, or failed to turn on the monitor, something like that. She never figured out what the problem was, and she was forever amazed I could tell just by looking at the blank screen what she'd done, and fix it.

What do you mean my pizza isn't gonna come out?
I just password-protected a .zip file!
But that's a regular Old Person Tech Failure. Serious Old Person Tech Failure is when someone who is clearly a digital non-native but who is reasonably competent in the language causes the computer do something impossible, just by completing the normal series of steps one normally undertakes. My mom will kill me for mentioning this, but she's a wizard at causing computers to do insane, impossible things. Programs disappear for no reason. Strange words appear on the page. The letter Y ceases to work, but then for no reason starts working again after you uninstall and reinstall iTunes because the button to open photos had quit working. It makes my mom mad when when someone is agog at something her computer is doing and I don't blame her. But it's not her fault. I'm fairly sure she isn't doing something wrong. She's as competent in computers as she needs to be to do whatever she needs to do, which is quite a lot.

That's pretty much how competent I am. I need computers to do more stuff than my mom does, which makes me a little less likely to cause the computer to do insane things.

At the radio place, I'm the old person. The students that run things are total digital natives, and they watch me doing stuff on the computer with that same amused, patient face I wear when I watch people 10 and 20 years older than me using a computer.

The radio, thus far, has not really worked in my favor. Usually whatever makes it stream isn't working. I think, in the last 2 months, I've been on the radio maybe 2 times where I was actually on the radio. The other times I was just in the student center. And today, there was no sound in the student center even though the radio was getting streamed (I checked in the office before I left), and even though I know which dial is the student center volume dial, so there was a good chance that whatever I was planning to do on the radio was going to be heard only by me in these really fancy earphones they have that I love. This was okay but not ideal.

But today, none of the kids were around to fix things and give me patient smiles. Everything was fine when I got there. I did everything as I always do it, got everything loaded and muttered some bullshit in the microphone and attempted to start the song as I always do (it's Windows Media Player, people-- it's not rocket science), and it wouldn't start.

Only it wouldn't start in an impossible way. The button showed that it was playing, but the scrubber didn't move and no sound came out. So I muttered some more bullshit into the microphone and shut it off and set about trying to fix it. Nothing worked, so I gave up on stupid Windows and loaded everything into Winamp. Which did the same thing. So I found VLC and stuck it all on there. The scrubber moved, but no sound came out. Some for Media Monkey and some other media player on there. I didn't mess with iTunes because I'm not super comfortable with iTunes. And I was afraid to restart the computer because I'm a digital pidgin speaker or maybe creole and maybe I would  break something, like the radio or the Internet or whatever. So I was stumped and I gave up and went home.

That's the end of that story. It's not a very good ending, just a bad sign.

At least today it was beautiful weather-wise. So that was something.

Sort of.


Westy said...

One of the worst examples or experience of old person tech failure is when your 75 year old Mum in the UK calls you whist you are in Turkey and says "Son - I have a problem with my PC"..then you spend what seems a lifetime trying to explain a simple answer to her problem but to no avail!.

Stranger said...

It's again the language problem. You say something like "Click the start button..." and the other person starts looking for a button on the keyboard and mouse, getting more and more frustrated at not being able to find it...

And of course, whenever the old person explains the tech problem, it comes out as complete nonsense. That's how I felt when I explained this tech problem to anyone under 30.

agent L said...

Recently I pulled a your mom. I don't know what I did, but my computer will hook up to any wireless network except the one in my home. (typing on a pal's computer now.) Everyone else's computer seems to work fine in my home. Perhaps because I was raised very religious, I tend to be unflustered by these things, and accept them as the God of Computer's divine plan. Maybe I should sacrifice a goat?

Stranger said...

If restarting hasn't worked, the goat could very well do the trick.