Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Kopfschmerzen durch Technik

My printer has gone senile. I am grateful - sort of - that it still works at all, because it's ten years old and that is a great age for a printer. It's virtually a museum piece. But I did not scrimp when I bought it. It's a good brand (HP) and it does everything, you know the ones, it's a copier/printer/fax, and it has indeed been used for all of that and for cat artwork too, and has given us more hours of devoted service than any other piece of electronica in the house.

But now, in its dotage, it keeps telling me it has no paper. "You have lots of paper!" I tell it. But it doesn't believe me. It goes BEEP! BEEP! I'M OUT OF PAPER. And I shout at it.

Sometimes it sucks in several pieces of paper, instead of one, and prints things out in stripes at the top of each one. Sometimes it sucks the paper in sideways and I get a paper jam. But mostly it just whines that it has no paper, and I rave at it. It's probably funny to watch.

Of course, it's not the only technology here that has lost its mind. My phone has become an interesting paperweight. It was on its second battery anyway, and then the "new" one decided it could only hold a charge for about 5 minutes, but that was the least of it. One day, suddenly, without warning it told me it had insufficient memory to do..........ANYTHING. It would neither receive or send text messages.

My husband thought this would be an easy fix, delete some stuff, right? But what stuff? Unlike most people, I do not have any music on my phone. No games either. In fact my "stuff" levels are pretty much minimal. Nevertheless he deleted all the photos and old messages, and still it claimed its memory was full. OF WHAT EXACTLY? Who knows. I gave up trying to make it work, and have just lived without it. I don't even miss it.

Contrary to popular belief, I am not a Luddite, and when my internet goes down I gibber. I am very used to having information available RIGHT THIS MINUTE NOW, and I am as spoiled as any other modern person.

Unlike others (apparently) I have absolutely no patience with technology. Gimmicks and gadgets are fine if they are intuitive and always work, be they hardware or software. If there's a steep learning curve or lots of bugs, I am very much of the throwing things out of windows school of problem solving. I can't be done with webpages that are hard to navigate ( = psychic powers required) or installation of anything that has more than 3 steps. 2 is better. I like controls (physical or virtual) to be labelled clearly with what they do. Google products' minimalist layouts with inscrutable symbols ("Three lines means customize and control, but we'll make them GUESS that") make me growl.

Ah, first world problems, I know. It's probably better, anyway, that I save my patience for people and take out most of my frustrations on imported plastic that I could always live without if I chose to.

At least it all balances out with the bliss of simple hand tools....wait a minute....



  1. Sometimes I yearn for a good old fashioned type writer. Printers especially hate me. Really. Sometimes I have my husband or oldest son lay hands on it so it will magically work for me. Otherwise it will tell me it has no ink or no paper or can't connect to wifi even though it shows on the screen exactly what it is supposed to be printing. My printer is only a year old and has hated me from the beginning.

  2. I agree, there are times that I wish I had my father's electric typewriter. I loved it, with its almost musical hum and the smooth keys. Granted an actual typewriter is not very forgiving if you make errors, while a computer makes it much easier to fix them.
    My beef with printing is that the ink or toner cartridges usually cost as much as if not more than the printer itself. I use my printer so infrequently that its cartridges tend to dry out before I use it again. So all printing happens on my husband's large laser printer.

  3. I have an HP computer that is more than a decade old and still useable. But I have also seen newer HP models that lasted barely 18 months with a critical design flaw (overheating) and HP customer service has gone from five-star to no-star.