My world has been full of technology related frustrations lately. I love technology when it works the way it’s supposed to. But when it doesn’t work it has the ability to bring me to my knees and make my life hell for hours until I figure out the problem and get it fixed and that is even if it is fixable.
I don’t call a help line until I’ve exhausted everything I can think of and run all the tests and searched all the help files painstakingly. Then and only then will I call the help line. I’ve spent hours on the phone with help lines, usually connected to someone that’s not even in the same country and who’s troubleshooting ability is limited to the screen in front of them. They all have programs and scripts they follow, and if it’s not on their screen, then they don’t know what to do. Usually, I’ve already tried everything they suggest and then they make me do again, waisting my time. Apparently they make you repeat things that you’ve already done because their program moves to the next screen only after they enter a value or specific phrase from your continued error results to tell it what screen is next. I know they get paid for it, so ultimately, it’s only waisting MY time. And ultimately, the conclusion their program tells them is the SAME thing I told them when we first started hours ago. I’ve come to expect it, but that doesn’t mean I like it or even think it makes sense, because, let’s be honest here, it doesn’t make sense.
Last night I spent almost two hours on the phone with the people that make my wireless router trying to find out why my router lost all of my data. ALL of my data. The network I set up in August disappeared overnight. Gone. All my personal settings, logins, everything, gone. Poof. And after those 2 hours on the phone, going through every test available in their little computer help programs they read from, they still didn’t have an answer for me. So I had to set the wireless network up again, which naturally took another hour because that’s just how things work in my world.
This past Saturday night I lost the data in my PDA. I had to install updates to the software because Daylight Saving Time started 3 weeks early due to an act of Congress (in an effort to save electricity, apparently). So I followed the instructions, and, well, it all disappeared. Gone. Poof. I had backups for some of it, but not all it. I sync my PDA with my Yahoo! contacts and calendar, but not everything transfers. So I was able to re-sync Yahoo! with my PDA and restore some of the data, but I lost quite a bit of it. Most notably, I lost all my meeting locations and any birthdays I had entered into my PDA contacts list. The meeting locations are also in a work calendar, so I can deal with those. Stupidly, however, I had not written down those all important birthdays anywhere else. So I’ve had to put a call out to my friends who’s birthdays I couldn’t find anywhere else asking them tell me again what day they were born and now I have to re-enter all of that data.
Teach me to trust technology. Paper trail. The all important paper trail. I forgot it’s importance for a moment and I got spanked for it. Damn.
In the midst of my technology related frustrations, I did have one positive technology experience. I finally got a new cell phone. Same number, because apparently there is no way to put a forwarding message on a cell phone number if you change it (you know, those “this number has changed, the new number is…” recordings? yeah, not an option), but a new phone. It’s sleek. It’s black and silver. It has a camera (shoe abominations, look out, I can now document your existence at any time) and even video. It’s kind of sexy, actually, all sleek and black and ultra-slim (about a half inch thick at most). Fits nicely in my pocket. Even better, it has a nice long battery life.
Anyway, I decided to try the online “contact list backup” program offered by my wireless carrier in an effort to not lose anyone in the phone transition and to avoid the possibility of having to re-enter all my contacts by hand. It’s a simple enough program. You create an account and basically the system uploads your contacts to the online account and gives you a web interface (which is also much easier for editing purposes). You then set up regularly scheduled backups that sync the list of contacts in your phone with the list online. If you make online edits, they get downloaded to your phone and vice versa. If something happens to your phone, you can download that list from the online account back into your phone. So when I got my new phone, I told it to download my contacts and poof! There they were. Easy. I printed out the list “just in case” for nothing, apparently. It worked the way it was supposed to and made my life easier.
Now isn’t that the point of technology, to make life easier?