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Technology Angst

I'm going to cry. No really. I'm going to cry. My iPhone won't sync the notes I write on it with Outlook. After hours of forums and fiddling, I've discovered that some spotty software developer at Apple has decided that notes written on an iPhone go into an email account (why??!), which some other spotty-faced developer at Google (and I have great sympathy with all acne sufferers, but god knew what he was doing afflicting these bastards) decided should be in my Gmail account (it's an email address, not a folder to keep stuff), and which some spotty-face at Microsoft decided wouldn't show up without crashing Outlook on my incredibly slow and totally knackered Dell, designed by.... some other spotty-faced nutter.

I'm a graduate engineer from UCL (lord knows how) and regard myself as technically literate. I read New Scientist, BBC Focus (fantastic mag!), watch endless science and tech documentaries, and am a member of the Royal Institution. I founded a number of (b)leading edge companies over the decades and am probably considered by most people who know me to be at the forefront of information technology - it's usually me who friends and family turn to, to sort out their techie problems. And I'm crying. I'm hopelessly confused and in an endless chaos of trying to find hidden controls, Active X upgrades, Java plugins, passworded account admin for this, that, and the other, written in anything other than English (at least it started as English, but got gobbledygooked by the legion of spotty faces), to prevent, or start, my array of PCs, Macs, iphones, ipads and now even my TV and house phone, from become BRICKS... the new word (also a verb - 'to brick') for converting a piece of electronics into a building block.

I will personally break the nose of the next person who says 'it's all so much simpler with Macs'. IT'S NOT. It's bloody not. They have a spotty-faced language all of their own to pile on top of all the other spotty-faced languages complicating my formerly simple and harmonious life. Don't you just love it when your computer asks you 'Do you want gloppychunt to change the fartypant controller in your naggersnort driver? Doing so might destabilise your computer and create a lifetime of crashes and moments when it stops you doing anything, by stalling to think about some crap instead of letting you type.' How in a universe of mysteries could I possibly know whether it would be a good idea or a bad idea to click 'OK'? How on earth would anyone know, including the spotty-face himself who clearly isn't human and doesn't know what other stuff has been done to my PC, Mac, iPhone etc and all the other connected bollocks on the internet and elsewhere, all concocted by him and his mates?

So what's to be done with this cacophony of complexity and interconnected confusion (that I helped put there - many a spotty-face has helped himself to my wad of foldings over the years)? The answers lie in positive and negative forms. First the negative actions I recommend (and might be arrested for in some future purge of all dissidents, or digidents as I predict they will be called).

  1. Live with it by deep breathing, yoga, meditation, alcohol, sleep, enforced power-cuts and dancing around a blazing pyre of spaghetti-wired digi-bricks.
  2. Sell all your hardware and buy Apple shares with the proceeds. While you're at it, cancel all mobile and any other electronic contracts you've been duped into buying over the years, and now can't use.
  3. Join a monastery (preferably atheist), or move to Surrey where there's no broadband or cell signal.
  4. Suicide also looks good right now, but I don't want to leave my wife with the problems of finding all those fucking passwords, IDs and increasing numbers of keypad thingies that can unlock virtual places that control, and are meant to free up (huh?), my life.
  5. Never invite a smug Mac user to a dinner party and blackball them from all clubs and neighbourhoods (I'll come onto US spelling in a minute).
  6. Knight, or make senators (if that's what you do in the US) all good people who freely offer solutions in online forums to sort out spotty-face problems. Maybe one day there will be a way of them automatically intervening before you do something horrendous to your computer. Gods, all of them - except the ones who were spotty-faces in previous lives, and now spend their days atoning for the chaos they originally perpetrated.
  7. Garotte all spotty-faced software developers. Who needs progress anyway? At least threaten them with knotted ropes if they don't:....
Take positive actions:
  1. Rather than kill them (I know, it does sound good, doesn't it), force the spotty-faces to speak and write English. Do NOT let anyone under the age of 60, and especially a spotty-face who grew up in Beijing or Bucharest, write anything intended to be read by humans (as opposed to computers - where they can continue to write all the bollocks they like as far as I'm concerned).
  2. Force all dialogue boxes and other communications from the planet 'spotty-face' to be checked for comprehension by a little old lady in Milton Keynes. 
  3. Time the little old lady to perform any operation deemed necessary by the device. Anything taking longer than 2 minutes, including the cup of tea and biscuit, or which requires RFM (Read the Fucking Manual) or FUQ (sorry FAQ) automatically fails.
  4. Spell check everything and don't let anyone, spotty or otherwise, make a new word by combining two or more old ones.
  5. Freeze the use of the English language and the number of ways you can use words like Driver, Device, Folder, Save, Document, Account, Update, Synchronise (Yanks, it is spelt with an 's', and Spelt is the past tense of Spell, so stop underlining these words with squiggly red lines! It's our language - the clue is in the name - you are only borrowing it).
  6. Make IT companies talk to each other first before releasing their kool crap onto a public who previously didn't hate them with every cell in their bodies.
  7. Don't invent another file type. Decide on the best one for each thing (eg. images or documents), swallow your pride, and stick to them. 
  8. Scrap all plug-ins, add-ons and extensions. Get it into your spotty skulls that we, your customers, don't give a damn whether Chrome or whatever comes with or without something included, or how it uses the bloody thing. Just make it work. Sort it out between all the spotties involved wherever they work, don't confuse us or pretend we care. And certainly don't ask us to understand any of it or have to sort out the conflicts planet Spotty has created.
  9. Make computers block everything nasty automatically, and allow everything that's not. Don't ask or tell us anything we can't possibly understand and shouldn't have to. If, for reasons that shouldn't exist, the computer can't decide for itself, ask the user in very clear English what to do. At this point I would also allow all other carefully scrutinised (yes, it does have a second 's' and not a 'z') natural languages at the user's behest. Simply saying 'do you trust Java' (an island in Indonesia where they grow coffee) or some unpronounceable something to 'access your hard-drive' (doesn't that increase fuel consumption and wear out clutches?) means nothing to humans and will always be allowed by sweating panic-stricken users anyway. If it can't be decided automatically or as a very last resort asked clearly, then refer to 'positive actions 1, 2 and 3'.
  10. Get rid of all wires, but only when mobile and other telecom companies enable your bricks to get a signal - and not play 'pretend we're all nicely connected' in the meantime. But if you really do need wires - MAKE THEM ALL END IN THE SAME BLOODY CONNECTOR.
Any more ideas on this theme, gratefully received.


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