Friday, 6 November 2009

Incompetence - don't laugh too loudly

The little technical problems of life - how bothersome they can be. Especially when I find out there was no problem - just lack of comprehension and common sense on my part.

I thought I had a problem with my mobile phone. When I went to type in what I thought was the text box, all I got was numbers, accompanied by a semicolon. Not letters. The phone is relatively new, an el cheapo, bought as a stand alone, and not part of a plan.

I found the instruction booklet, and looked carefully through it. Instruction books are written in simpler language these days. All the same I could not find anything which addressed my problem. Oh damn, I thought, I am going to have to find the receipt, go to the retailer and explain the problem. My heart sank and I felt very daunted. I went through all the possibilities I could think of in the phone's menus. Nothing worked. Should I reset everything? Surely this would not be necessary, as who knows what other problems would occur? Or, I thought, I'd have to ask my children. They, of course, all live in other cities, and might have sniggered at me and said 'Oh Mum!'

So I took the phone with me when I went to the shops yesterday, and called in at a Vodaphone shop. The man fiddled around for a couple of minutes, and then told me that what I have to do with this phone is to enter the number the message was to be sent to before I tried to write any text. So simple. My old phone, a genuine antique if ever you saw one, which has been handed on to Dr P, did messages the other way around, so my mind had not contemplated the possibility of a different way of doing it. It is the same brand of phone, after all.

It is all a bit worrying when you consider that I am the technical expert in this household. And that I gave technical help about her mobile phone to my bell-ringing friend last time we met. We are having lunch together today so we can laugh about this humbling experience.

The computer has been very sluggish for a while, so I have finally got around to making an appointment to get it looked at by a Genius in the Apple Store in the city. This means unplugging the computer and lugging it into the city by bus, hoping that I don't drop it, and that I manage to get a seat in the bus. Fortunately the staff at the Apple Store are very kind, patient and tolerant, and since they introduced their technical help and education system, quite a few 'older' people (ie over thirty) now regularly go along to learn more about how everything works. (Although I would like to eavesdrop on their lunchtime talks and hear some of their horror stories about the average idiot user.) I had several sessions before I bought the iPod, and, as I am considering buying a new computer, I will be able to book in for lessons about it all, so as to make it all easier.

4 comments:

saffronlie said...

It would never have occurred to me either that a phone would be designed so that you entered the number before the text! Although now that I think about it, it seems quite ingenious as it would forestall the problem of inadvertently sending texts to the wrong people because you were absent-minded or accidentally chose their name. (I have also sent many an accidentally blank text in my time.)

persiflage said...

I suppose that since you must dial a number on the landline before you can speak to a person it does make sense!

rhubarbwhine said...

That would have done my head in too!

Meggie said...

I know just what you mean about technical difficulties these days. My Granddaughter can usually work things out for me- if we can get her to visit!
It makes me nervous, as I used to be the technical one, & could read the intstructions & have things up & running in no time. Now, I just seem to overheat, & feel as if I am about to explode.
I console myself by reminding me, that I take a variety of medications each of which cautions one not to drive or operate machinery!