Ruby Clyde on the gripes of modern technology.

After many years of faithful service, my beloved Nokia brick has died. It had been acting depressed since the iPhone 5 came out: its ringtone became more and more tuneless. It would charge all day and still complain of low battery. Then it just quietly slipped away. I was the one who found it- I guess it had given up. So I’ve had to move on, and have decided to finally succumb to this whole Smart Phone thing.

Due to my lack of Engineering degrees, I cannot make my new phone work. It is the most complicated thing ever. I maintain this claim despite the fact that it is apparently a phone for children. Here are some excerpts from online reviews:

         ‘This is an excellent starter smart phone for kids!’

                ‘My 8 year old loves this phone, she says it is very easy to use.’

It doesn’t even have Snake on it. And what child can control a touchscreen? Children have tiny, stupid hands. I’m sure that they can’t do it if I can’t. I can never seem to hit the right button, so all my texts make it look like I’m drunk or writing experimental poetry. It keeps making noises I don’t understand. I just can’t tell what it wants. My Nokia was at least predictable. Every time I turned it on it would panic and ask what year it was. Then it would calm down and convince itself that it was midnight on the 1st of January 1999. It didn’t worry about the fact that it regularly lost 13+ years, but this new one keeps subtly trying to download updates.

Its quest for self-improvement is nowhere near as obsessive as my computer’s. I don’t understand: these are two absolutely incredible pieces of technology that people couldn’t even have conceived of a few decades ago. They have revolutionised the way we live, put almost unlimited information at our fingertips, connected people who are thousands of miles apart. If they get the latest version of Flash Player, where does that leave me? In some ways they’re already more advanced than I am, (I’ve never seen them screw up simple addition, for one thing) and if I let them have the new iTunes they might as well just move out and get their own place without me. And I’ll be left with parchment and a quill, crushed by the knowledge that I am obsolete.

This is why I only let my stuff update itself when I feel like I’ve advanced somehow. When I got into University, I installed Google Chrome. I uninstalled it when I got my first essay, this is true, but it was a good few weeks. I’ll let my computer have that iMovie update it’s been grumbling about for so long when I get around to watching The Godfather II. Maybe I’ll let Word sharpen up when (if) I graduate. Granted, that’s a long way off, but you have to restart your computer or some shit, and I’m perfectly happy to put that off for another two years.

And yes, I did say iMovie… It’s a MacBook. I’m that girl. I had to save up for many a year to get it, but I regret nothing. I probably shouldn’t have gotten anything made by Apple if I have a problem with technology that believes itself to be superior to humans. But in two years it has never once crashed or frozen (yet another way in which my computer is superior to me). Plus, it throws me a bone sometimes, gives me the illusion of control: ‘another document exists with this name. Would you like to replace it?’ Why yes, thank you computer, I would. Thanks for getting my go-ahead. ‘Are you sure you want to delete this duplicate file?’ Pretty certain: I mean, why shouldn’t I? ‘This action cannot be undone.’ Well, ok, now it sounds like you doubt me. How about we put some trust in the one here that’s capable of emotion? ‘File saved to backup drive.’

You know what? The gadgets probably know what they’re doing. I should just let them get on with their business. I will, however, be withholding iTunes 11.0.1.