Monday, July 27, 2009

The Inconvenient Conveniences

When I was a kid, “Back to the Future, Part II” was one of my favorite movies because I loved the idea of living in a world with all of those cool, futuristic gadgets and innovations. From automatic lace-up shoelaces, to 3-D holographic movies, to the crown jewel – hover technology, 2015 could not get here fast enough for me.

And in 2009, I try to keep up the latest and the greatest. I’m on Facebook, YouTube, and I’m a religious Tweeter. My Fiance and I use the webcams on our laptops to talk to each other, and I’ve even taught my parents how to text.

But now, 20 years after “Future, Part II” (how is THAT even possible?), I’m not only cautiously reluctant when it comes to technological advancements, I’m becoming borderline afraid of them.

Because, while I love the idea of technology and “progress”, I’m beginning to sense that my feelings are going unreturned.

It’s not that I’m not mentally adept when it comes to working all of these gadgets and gizmos, it’s that they just don’t want to work for me.

When I went to pick out my newest cell phone, I found one that I liked but asked the sales clerk if this particular phone had internet access and all of the fancy add-ons and applications. Sensing a sale, she started raving about how this phone could not only get online, but would let you watch TV shows, shoot laser beams, and control NASA space shuttles around the outer moons of Jupiter as well.

Not interested.

I asked her if she just had a phone that, you know, was just a phone.

Perplexed, she just stood there dazed and kept muttering, “but it sh-sh-shoots laser b-beams.”

I finally found one that seemed simple enough – I think it can still maneuver military ships at sea, but I have just never asked how to access that option – and I’ve been relatively happy with it over the past year.

It’s one of those flip phones that has number keys on the outside that you can use to text of call people, but then you can flip it open and it has more number and letter keys that you can use to text or call people.

I really don’t use the inside numbers or letters, because, well, the same numbers and letters are on the outside, but there’s been a new development this past week.

The one key you absolutely need to work on the outside key panel is the “OK” button. The OK button is like the King Key because it unlocks the phone so that you can... use it. Well, now, naturally, the OK button isn’t working all the time anymore.

Oh, don’t worry, it does still work sometimes. When it wants to. It can work fine one minute and let me unlock the phone to start a text, then not work the next minute when I go to press OK to actually send the text.

I have the Terrell Owens of cell phones.

Assuming it was just me, I did a little online research on my specific model to see if anyone else out there was having similar problems. Based on the thousands of responses that I found with people experiencing the exact same issue, I’m guessing that the OK button not working is the modus operandi of my phone.

And I’m going to go out on a ledge here and guess that my cell phone provider is in fact aware of this fun, little fact but where is the money for them in making sure it actually works?

They know that if it doesn’t work, you will come back to the store and either have to pay to fix it or pay for a brand new phone.

Brilliant business strategy.

It’s like that bit from comedian Chris Rock where he questions how we can fly spaceships around the sun but can’t build a car that lasts for more than a couple of years. He goes on to say that in this day and age, with all of the medical advances, there has to be actual cures for some of the major diseases; but there’s not any money in the cure, just in the treatment.

Same thing is true with technology. No money in the fix, just in the maintenance.

But it’s not working on me, baby! I’m not giving them another dime. I will just stay angry and let my frustration with an OK button on my cell phone slowly drain years off of my life.

That will show them.

Oh, and if I don’t make it through the end of this column, it’s because my laptop has decided to shut down.

Yeah, that’s a new game we like to play together: Type-As-Fast-As-I-Can-Before-My-Laptop-Quits-Working.

Needless to say I lose every time.

I know what you’re thinking. Why don’t I just take my laptop somewhere to get fixed? Good question and I’d like to think I have a good answer: I did.

This new symptom is a result of getting it fixed.

For the longest time, I couldn’t get my laptop to turn on so I took it to a store to get it fixed and even paid extra to preserve all of my hard drive information (settings, documents, pictures, etc).

After a week, they finally called to let me know that it was fixed but when I was able to turn it on, ALL of my documents were gone. Took it back to the store (thanks for telling me originally guys – did they think I wasn’t going to notice?) and they apologized and refunded my money and told me it was a hard drive issue and there was nothing they could do.

Fine. Whatever. I just wanted it work now. Took it back home and this time, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get back online.

Took it back to the store and waited why one of the guys looked at it. And I waited. And I waited. I waited so long that I had to buy a bag of chips and soda from inside the store just to have some semblance of dinner that night.

He finally diagnosed that a vital video card had been deleted in the original repair and would need to keep it for a few more days.

At least he apologized again.

I can finally get online, but like I said, now my laptop will just shut off whenever it wants to like a narcoleptic AND I can no longer watch DVDs (just as an added bonus feature).

My Fiance keeps telling me to take it back to the store (and I think I probably will have to) but I’m just afraid of getting so angry that I go all Jean Grey on them and summon flames from the heavens down upon the store if my laptop doesn’t work properly again – or even worse, develops a new problem.

Well, I’m going to have to wrap this up.

I’m starting to feel my blood pressure rise and a numbness in my right arm. Where’s my phone? I might have to dial 9-1-1.

That is if the OK button is working.


Katie said...

LOL...i totally understand...i have the old chocolate phone that i have religiously held onto cuz i like the color and the design...HOWEVER this is the fifth one verizon has had to replace! Why? because the sliding action of the phone wears down the connection cable between the battery and the screen causing it to white out the screen after a few months...does EVERYONE at verizon know about this problem? fact thats why they don't sell this design anymore...thats why everytime I enter a Verizon store and show the customer service person my phone they don't even bother trying to fix it, they just head to the back and get me another one...BUT will they give me a good deal on a new one before my two year contract is up, so I can stop using up their apparently vast supply of defective phones? of course not, that would be silly....

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Just Brilliant. I love the full circle humor.


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