Sunday, June 6, 2010

Technology is NOT my friend

I gave Husband No. 1 a nifty iPod Nano for his birthday, the first iPod to be owned by the older folks in our house, but he almost didn't get to enjoy it because we couldn't figure out how to open the package.

I kid you not. For 20 minutes, we passed this tiny plastic box back and forth, trying to see where the opening might be so we could remove the device without breaking it. Then we considered whether to revert to our first line of defense when stymied by modern technology -- telephone one of our children. But since it was only 8 a.m. and No. 2 son, the D.C. college boy, had probably just gone to bed and No. 1 son, the D.C. cop, was likely drifting off to sleep after his overnight shift, we decided the only morning that should be spoiled was ours.

Finally, my finger felt the piece of plastic that would lift away our cares -- and the package was open. Later, I learned there are YouTube videos online to show you how to accomplish this task. It's comforting to know there are other technology-challenged folks out there.

But now that the package is open, what's next? The tiny thing is supposed to record up to 5 hours of video. Isn't that amazing? But apparently you need to do more than admire it to get it to work. I'm wondering if by the time No. 1 Husband figures out how to use it, it will be as obsolete as we are.

We did learn recently from No. 1 son that you don't have to actually know how to operate an IPod or have it turned on to be in the IPod zone. He says he sometimes puts the earphones on -- but doesn't turn on the IPod itself -- just so people won't bother him. Hopefully someday we'll figure out how to at least do that.

I'd like to note here that we are not Luddites and we often DO like technology. We spend far too many hours on the computer (scheduling a computer-free day last weekend almost sent us to the hospital in withdrawal) and we even own cell phones (though we probably use only about .00005% of the functions).

There's no doubt that technology can overwhelm us. When our kids gave us a DVD player one Christmas, No. 2 son was still in high school and living at home. Any time we wanted to use the DVD player, we'd simply yell up the stairs "Can you come turn on the movie for us?" No. 2 son's graduation gift to us was an all-in-one remote for idiots.

Just last week, I entered the kitchen to see Husband No. 1 shouting "hello, hello, hello" into my cell phone as it was charging in the kitchen. He thought the sound of a text message arriving was the phone ringing.

I could go on, but No. 1 son's Mothers Day gift to me was a new camera, purchased in frustration over too many years of the zoom lens on my ancient Olympus malfunctioning just as a photo was to be taken. Since my niece's high school graduation is today, I need to review the "manual."

I use the term loosely. I'm not sure there are paper manuals anymore. The one for my new camera is on a CD. And it's supposed to tell me what all the odd symbols are on the outside of my camera (also tiny at 3.5 by 2 inches) and on the screen. (Why would T be a symbol for zoom out and W for zoom in? I know it was made by the Japanese, but isn't technology supposed to be intuitive?)

I just inserted the "manual" into my computer and pulled up the index. The "manual" is 196 pages long! If I were to print it out, it would weigh 10 times more than the camera. And how in the heck am I supposed to remember 196 pages of information connected to symbols that make no sense -- especially at my age?

Good thing we have the kids' phone numbers on speed dial (which they set up). Now if I could only figure out the technology that would make them answer....


Karen Kullgren said...

I'm sooo with you on this one. Got an iPod Nano for Mother's Day from my son and am proud I've gotten as far as having imported a few boxes of my CDs onto iTunes. Still none onto the actual iPod but I'm getting there...

chris remick said...

There might be a genetic flaw! Every year I tell my kids not to get us anything electronic because we don't want to have to learn anything. I must admit one year they got it right - I got an ipod and Harry got a GPS both of which we enjoy. This year was the worst - I received not one but two electronic book thingies which I consider an affront to literacy! There is a whole tactile component to reading. Needless to say, both have returned to their seller to be snapped up by geekozoids.

Anonymous said...

Your blog really rang true with me! I had the same trouble getting my Ipod Nano out of the box. Then I had the joy of trying to download and then upload an audio book from the library onto it so I could listen while on the treadmill at the Planet. Still haven't figured out how to do that successfully although others have declared that "it's so easy!" Loaded an audiobook on CD that we have at home, and then tried to convince the Ipod that it wasn't assorted music CD's - that it really would be nice to have the chapters in order! So now when I'm on the treadmill and a chapter ends, I have to try to find the next chapter without my glasses on. Or I get on the treadmill only to discover that the battery has died. I have thought how delightful it would be to see what happens when an Ipod Nano hits the concrete wall at the Planet.

dsm said...

Pat, don't be fooled. My mum can't handle an iPod either.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is, LOL!!! Steve and I have had a iPods for two years -- I still can't figure the damn thing out and Steve doesn't even use his. When I got a new digital camera for Christmas, I opened the manual (it actually came with one) and, while I was trying to figure out how to turn on the power, Justin was experimenting with the fancy fish-eye lens. I still can't figure out how to comment on your blogs without signing in as anonymous. I think I may turn into a Luddite! Robin

Pat Remick said...

LOL -- all these comments do make me feel so much better .. until I realized I'd even written iPod wrong!! Is there any hope at all???