Monday, 24 October 2016

too much technology

I can't keep up.  I really can't.  I am so much not a digital native I feel I know how Pocahontas felt when she was transplanted to London.  And I am not even stupid.  Just very, very baffled.  The only consolation is that the Systems Administrator is baffled as well, and the SA is normally good at digital devices.

The new tablet arrived.  It is the cheapest Amazon Fire I thought I could get away with while being able to see the screen, which meant an HD8.  More than half of the icons on the Home page are for Amazon features, but I'm OK with that: I do not regard Amazon as the Great Satan.  The SA assured me that the Amazon branding was the price I paid for something with the functionality of the Amazon Fire being as cheap as it was.

It arrived with my Kindle library already downloaded, because I told Amazon when I ordered it that it was for me and not a gift.  I was perfectly happy with that, not that I normally read books on my tablet because I like reading on the Kindle.  Something about the quality of the screen and the fact that there are so few buttons is very soothing.  I managed to link to my email account in no time at all, it was just a question of putting my address and password into a box that popped up the first time I touched the email icon.  This was digital technology for non technology minded people, so far so good.  The Amazon branded App store let me download my favourite Sudoku programme as the SA had promised that it would: we checked on the SA's device that Amazon offered that app before I decided on the Fire.

I wasn't utterly convinced by the concept of the Silk browser, because I am a creature of habit and I use Chrome, but the SA said we could download Chrome later.  I really didn't understand why Silk took me to a BT page, twice, after I'd clicked on a link to the film review programme, and gave the device to the SA to look at.  It did the same to him as well, and the SA began to sound irritated, then it stopped doing it without the SA knowing why, or why it had been doing it in the first place. Never mind, it then let the SA access the BBC website and download the most recent film review podcast, which took a few minutes.

And then I couldn't find where it had put it.  Could not find a folder for podcasts anywhere.  Could not find a section in the help page that would tell me how to start looking.  If you wanted to know if a stone had a mouth, how would you know where to look?  Wittgenstein (if it was Wittgenstein who said it), where are you when we need you?  The Amazon Fire comes with a series of pages after the Home page, books, video, games, shop, apps, music, library.  Books was self explanatory and had my books in it.  Video was empty because I hadn't bought any, and probably won't.  I don't think it does justice to any film worth watching at all to try and watch it on a screen that size. Games contained my solitary Sudoku, which is the only game I ever play.  But where the hell were podcasts?  The old tablet had a down arrow icon on the front page that brought up a list of all of them, arranged in date of download.

I gave the tablet back to the SA who began to fiddle with it while emanating bad vibes.  Not as bad as when reinstalling the operating system on an errant PC, but not happy positive vibes.  Eventually the SA announced that podcasts were filed in music, not on the front page which is all adverts for albums I might want to buy (but don't) but in the library of the music section.  Of course they are.

The next time I fired up the tablet it came up with a page for Ceebeebies, followed by a link to a shop to sell me accessories for the tablet, while the button for the home page had vanished. Swiping sideways didn't get me home, while swiping down from the top brought up a menu including Airplane Mode, Blue Shade (what is that?) and Camera.  In despair I chose Settings.  I didn't want any of the Settings options, but it did have the little round Home button at the bottom of the page.  The SA reminded me that I'd taken the cheaper option with adverts at the start of every session.  Which turns out to mean often, as the tablet powers down jolly quickly (though maybe I can alter that using Settings).  I did notice before ordering that it is possible to upgrade retrospectively for another twenty-five quid or so so as to not have adverts.  At the current rate of progress I may be doing so.  Why any advertiser thinks it helps their cause to ram adverts in people's faces that slow them down when they are trying to do something else, and with no prior reason to believe they want to shop for that sort of thing at that moment, is a total mystery to me.

Meanwhile my phone had come up with a message saying it needed to do a software update and I would have to delete some data or unused apps to create sufficient memory space.  I was baffled again.  I don't have any data.  I don't even use the phone as a camera.  All it has on it is half a dozen text threads.  The SA explained that it was not that sort of data but the mess that was left over from having previously used maps and so on, and that anyway the memory of my phone was not very big.  The SA cleared the digital mess out and ran the update, following which the home page looks entirely different.  I am sure I will find my way round it eventually, and the SA has promised to show me how to de-gunk the phone for next time.  Tomorrow, when I have not already overdosed on new technology.

I really can't keep up.  I am going to read a book.  A printed one made out of paper.

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