Androids, iPods, Notebooks and Moshi: My Adventures with Technology

Nothing is simple


I bought some new toys recently. The laptop computer I used for the last five years was fading fast, and I needed a new computer to continue my work as a writer and artist. My cell phone contract with AT&T was up for renewal in November, and a friend persuaded me to purchase my first touch screen telephone. I also recently found myself wishing for an iPad. The cost was prohibitive, so I settled for the smaller and cheaper iPod touch.

With this proliferation of cutting-edge devices now occupying places of honor in my home, you might believe I am technologically savvy. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes to gadgets, I am timid and clueless. I like electronic toys, but they don’t like me. Even the stereo in my car was so sophisticated I never learned to use the radio, contenting myself to only play CDs while traveling. That also proved problematic—on more than one occasion, I accidentally slipped my CD into a small gap between the stereo and the dashboard instead of the CD player itself, losing my musical disc forever within the recesses of my vehicle. On the whole my technological comfort level was likely realized in the nineties when I bought a Super-Nintendo console to play the “Legend of Zelda” game. I must confess I called my brother to help connect it to my television, which established a pattern that has played out repeatedly over time. My brother-in-law hooked up my stereo. The gracious folks at Best Buy walked me through connecting a DVD recorder to my television. A friend set my contacts for the speed dial numbers on my phone.

I wanted a new alarm clock for a Christmas present last year, and my one stipulation was ease of use. I didn’t wish to resort to the owner’s manual every time I needed to set the time or alarm. I received a delightful clock named “Moshi” that both speaks and responds to verbal commands. No menus to select or buttons to press whatsoever; I simply greet Moshi and she asks me what I want from her. Unfortunately, Moshi listens in on my conversations and requests instructions whenever I utter a word with a “shh” sound in it. Moshi also inexplicably believes I’m talking to her when I say “uh-huh.” She has driven me from the room on more than one occasion so I might talk with someone in peace, liberated from the desires of my clock to offer the current time or temperature. Given the nature of my experiences with technology, what in the world was I thinking when I purchased a new laptop, an iPod and an Android Captivate telephone, all within a six month time period?

I don’t know…….



My new computer started it all
My new computer started it all
The "Talking Tom" cat app has me mesmerized
The "Talking Tom" cat app has me mesmerized
I finally learned how to answer the phone!
I finally learned how to answer the phone!
Moshi monitors my conversations to ensure she's ready to serve
Moshi monitors my conversations to ensure she's ready to serve
I never learned how to play the radio in this thing
I never learned how to play the radio in this thing
This is my speed, technologically speaking
This is my speed, technologically speaking
I'll take these guys in the "Go Fish" rematch!
I'll take these guys in the "Go Fish" rematch!

Technological Mayhem


Since we’ve established that even the simplest technological processes represent an enormous challenge to me, what adventures do you suppose there were to be had with my newest, greatest toys? Let’s examine just a few of my techno-foibles, conveniently categorized in chronological order.

Hewlett Packard Pavilion dv7. This HP notebook isn’t the top of the line, but it contained everything I needed and more. It has a webcam, but I am afraid of it and haven’t tried to use it yet. Luckily Microsoft’s “System 7” operating system is similar to Windows XP, and for the most part I have been able to ignore anything I haven’t needed. Navigating this system hasn’t been totally without incident, however—there were some emotional scars inflicted along the way.

At startup an icon resembling a thumb print appeared, ostensibly a new means for establishing user security. I was intrigued at the thought of scanning my thumb to log in but worried that a burn or bandage on my thumb might keep me from using my computer. With no secret files of extreme importance or even marginal interest to protect, I opted for the more traditional user name and password option.

I prepared my mind and spirit for the task of connecting my computer to a printer, but inadvertently attempted to plug the wrong end of the cord into the thing. This is not an “amusing” anecdote—I was ready to repack the printer and return it to Best Buy before a visiting friend noticed the cable was dangling loosely from the side of my HP notebook. Being a gracious guest, there was no effort on her part to mock me for my incompetence. She merely connected the computer and printer correctly and proclaimed the problem solved. Only when pressed did she reveal the unparalleled ineptitude of my blunder.

There have been other minor mishaps, including some confusion regarding how to open the BD-Rom drive. My old computer not only called this a CD-Rom Drive, it opened when I lightly pushed the CD tray inward. My new HP notebook wouldn’t respond to so pedestrian a solution, and it took another half-hour to discern how to load and eject a disc. At least the discs I put in my computer haven’t ended up somewhere in the dashboard of my car. My most enjoyable experience with the BD-Rom drive has been downloading various Hoyle card games. I now enjoy a minimal coexistence with my HP notebook, highlighted with games of “Go Fish” against cartoonish icons.

iPod Touch. I am delighted to download songs to my iPod, even though it predictably took multiple tries to connect my computer with iTunes. I’m proud of my resourcefulness in completing a task that required not just one gadget but two—my computer and iPod (mercifully there was only one connecting cord). I noted with a tinge of remorse that images from album covers didn’t transfer with the songs, but I am content and thrilled to have the Moody Blues, REM and Miley Cyrus all available at the touch of a button.

I am also enamored of the many other “apps” available to me. My favorites so far are “Talking Tom” (a cat that repeats what you say) and “Bubble XPlode” (multi-colored bubbles that burst with the touch of a finger; the more intricate the pattern of bubbles, the higher your score). If you have two iPods with the “Talking Tom” app, they will mimic each other until the batteries wear down. Dishes and laundry sit unattended, waiting for my fascination with these games to wane.

AT&T Android (Captivate) Cell Phone. I’ve only owned this for a few days, but the mayhem has already been considerable. I had to return a phone call from my mother because I couldn’t figure out how to answer the phone in time to take her call. I pressed on-screen “buttons” in vain hopes of chatting with Mom, but nothing worked. It seems the button was not meant to be pushed to answer the phone, but instead slid to the right—live and learn, I guess. A twelve-year old who never saw my phone before showed me how to make a call, and without him Mom would still believe I was ignoring her.

I wanted desperately to connect to Facebook and Twitter with my phone, and downloaded the “Tweet Deck” app to accomplish this task. The app boasted that I could synchronize all my social media with the touch of a button. I touched the button and was told, “This will only take a moment.” That was certainly accurate, but only because it didn’t accept my password. I sat at my computer, cell phone in hand, and typed in the same username and password my phone wouldn’t allow and connected with Tweet Deck immediately. After multiple efforts to “sync”, I opted to manually connect. Facebook remains beyond my reach, but I miraculously accessed Twitter. One would think the worst was behind me with this accomplishment in my resume, but I accidentally clicked another button and the screen appeared to offer a Google map of Denver. This would be handy if my goal was to tweet and travel (twavel???), but sitting in my home office 550 miles away from the Denver city limits, it seemed superfluous.



The future awaits


Despite these tribulations and more, I remain quietly determined to fall no more than ten years behind the technological curve. I stand defiant in the face of technological advances seemingly designed only to frustrate me. With the support of my family and friends, someday I may actually watch a movie on my computer or read a book on my iPod. I may even answer my cell phone on the third or fourth ring—a worthy goal since I’ve not yet learned how to delete messages from my voice mail…..

But for now, if you will excuse me, a revenge game of “Go Fish” awaits.


2012 Update


I have continued to tinker with new technology, and now feel less intimidated by their quirks. (All these toys are quirky, however--do not be fooled.) I have experimented with Kindles, android tablets and netbooks in addition to the items mentioned above, and I was fortunate enough to acquire an iPad 2 along the way. These marvelous gadgets clearly represent the future of personal computers, at least in my mind. They may not replace computers immediately, but I believe in the end a phone or a tablet will be all anyone needs.

Along the way, it is my hope that technology will be developed with the average person in mind. Technology that makes our lives easier, safer or more enjoyable should be a priority. Steve Jobs was brilliant at leading Apple down this path. The Macintosh computer, the iPod, iPad and iPhone all were developed for people, very much like the television, the radio or the microwave oven. What will come next?


Take the technology poll!

Are you comfortable with new technology?

  • No! I haven't figured out how my toaster works yet!
  • I struggle with it but usually figure out what I need to know
  • I am pretty good at figuring out new gadgets
  • Totally comfortable! I could design these things if I had the time!
See results without voting

Comments 34 comments

Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 5 years ago from Los Angeles

We are two of a kind; I am clueless about technology and even the simplest phone is to complicated for me, I never changed the radio station in my car for the last 3 years since I bought it and I use only basic internet skills (writing and answering e-mails, doing research)

It takes me a lot longer to insert pictures into my hubs or to use capsuls than what it takes to write the hub, so most of the time I am frustrated out of my mind, or just keep it as simple as possibles. I finally mastered "cut and paste" so I feel less humiliated by the 5 years old who could do that since the day they were born... oh, well


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

For many years I was the one to open the instructions and learn to hook up and use whatever new thing we bought,and growing up with boys has come in pretty handy to know how to splice and put back together a power cord I run the mower over but suddenly I just hand gadgets over to someone else. Believe it or not I am one woman who does not like telephones and only carry a cell for safety or to check if anyone needs something before I come home, saving me a trip back out and with the latest news of how safe they may NOT be I am glad. For years now it has seemed so stupid that people cannot do a thing without a cell phone at their ear; driving, shopping, I bet they can't bathe without one. I have learned to ignore them though not thinking they are talking to me just because they are behind me talking. Reminds me of a funny thing yesterday though. As I was shopping I just picked up a vase and without looking handed it to the guy behind me thinking it was my husband and said, "Here, hold this." and he did and followed me along until my husband took it from him and said, "She means me." Only then did I see what I had done but I do believe he would have helped out with the rest of my shopping, lol. But we all got a good laugh, I guess I can finally admit I am not 29 anymore.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Thank you for being man enough to admit your tech foibles. I am an easily frustrated tech amateur and have been tempted to bash my Netbook into cyberspace with a hammer. The hard drive on my Netbook has already been declared brain dead and is in the shop for a transplant. Believe me when I say if I didn't consider a computer a necessity today, I wouldn't have one in residence. I am borrowing a defunct Netbook from my neighbor. I will be taking it into the shop as soon as I get the call that mine has been resurged. I have amazed myself that I am able to "jack" this one up to actually accomplish what I need to, although my gyrations are probably more complicated than need be. The techno lingo is where I get hung up. A description of what I need to do may as well be Greek to me. Thank you for sharing a well written, easy read (except for the term "apps"). See? You are not alone.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

I feel so much better now, Mike. I thought I was the only tech-impaired cellphone owner in the universe. I had the same problem with my cellphone until I learned that simply sliding the whatzit would let me answer a call.

Thanks for this funny but educational hub.


ghomefitness profile image

ghomefitness 5 years ago from Chicago,IL

I think all manufactures should offer a you tube type video with step by step instruction on how to use their stuff. I have owned stuff for years and then someone tells me "i love that feature on that machine" and I say what, I did not know. Thanks


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

I struggle with my Android Motorola "thingamajig cell phone. sometimes, I slide to the right to answer and it does not respond in time.. It has way too many "bells and whistles" for me... I have "Apps" for Apps...


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

Mike, Thank for validating my feelings of lacking abilities to embrace and utilize all the amazing functions of the modern marvels of technology. My kids help me a lot and teach me great tips and tricks. I related to your story a lot. Best Wishes on conquering and mastering the awesome powers of technology! Love and Peace :) Katie


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Petra, thanks for stopping by. We are indeed kindred spirits in our struggles with technology. I have to admit it takes me awhile to learn anything new about HubPages or any other web site. It seems that if any odd thing can go wrong for me it will.

My problem is also that the technology lures me in--I am attracted to all these gadgets I'm terrified to "actually use. It's an odd situation that I've struggled with all my life--I like this stuff but I'm intimidated by it.

Thanks for sharing your own "adventures". After all, there is comfort in numbers. Take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Polly, thanks for your comments. You raise an interesting point about cell phones. I have always balked at the idea that we must be able to be reached at any time of the day or night. Before the advent of cell phones, you called someone's home if you wanted to reach them. If they were out, you left a message. That now seems painfully slow to our instant-gratification culture, but we were not worse off by sometimes being unavailable. I wasn't even crazy about my answering machine. I never said on the recorded message that I would "return your call as soon as possible" because I might not. The 24 hour communication cycle is frequently not to our advantage.

Your story about the guy holding the vase for you was terrific! This unassuming fellow was willing to hold the vase just because you asked him to! I would have loved to have seen the look on his face when you handed the vase to him.

Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your comments and loved your shopping story! Hope your weekend was a good one.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Amy, thanks for your comments. I certainly hope you get your Netbook back soon. I applaud your ability to get things done with a borrowed computer. I agree with you in the sense that a computer would be much less important to me if I didn't use it for my writing and artwork. A Google search and checking email is not beyond my scope, but so many other issues are. I am always amazed when someone casually says something like, "oh, you can go online and download the driver to your printer." I'm thinking to myself, "Ya think? If it were so easy, I would have already done it..."

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with your computer.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Drbj, thanks for stopping by. Y'know, they should make it the sales rep's job to ensure that everyone who buys a phone knows how to answer it. After all, if you fail to answer the phone the first time someone calls, why assume it will be better the next time? The only new information we have is what didn't work earlier. I lucked into sliding the button thing. Otherwise, who knows how many missed calls it would have taken to figure it out? Shouldn't the one thing a cell phone do easily is allow us to talk on it??????

Anyway, I appreciate your stopping by. Take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ghomefitness, thanks for your comments. I agree, an online video should be mandatory. It would at least give us a starting point.

Not only do I discover what technology does months or years after owning it, sometimes that doesn't help me. I'm still trying to figure out how to record one program while watching another on TV.....

Oh well. Thanks again for reading.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Dallas, I agree that the phones these days don't need to serve as auxiliary computers. I suspect that they will someday become our computers, but hopefully that won't happen too soon. They should make certain that the one thing a cell phone does better than anything else is work as a phone. Thanks for your comments. Take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Katie, thanks for the comments and for sharing the link--I appreciate it a great deal. Writing this has been liberating for me--at least in the sense of now knowing I am not alone. I will confess that on some levels, technology is becoming easier to use, but I still wonder how much our world might be transformed if ease of use was the number one consideration? To a large degree, research and development folks have always made it the user's responsibility to keep up with the "learning curve" regarding new technology. If it was easier to embrace technology, society might be transformed. As it is, they are likely just waiting for those of us who don't adjust well to die off. I'm not going easily, however!!!!!!!!

Thanks again for sharing the link, I am appreciative. Take care.

Mike


poetvix profile image

poetvix 5 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

Mike, I think you echoed the thoughts and experience of many of us in this one. I do good to send and check email. Anything else is iffy at best. I jokingly say I am electronically challenged but seriously, it's not funny. It's really nice to see I am not alone. Great hub that is well written and relatable.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Poetvix, thanks for reading. I think there are many of us who struggle with new technology, and when some new gadget comes along we are all expected to master it as part of our lifestyle. Engineers and product designers would do everyone a favor if they created something that is easy to use and consistent in how it is used. Until then, it is nice to know we are not alone out there. Thanks for stopping by.

Mike


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

Nice one - I think you'll come to love them. It's nice to be Technology Savvy. I hope you will update us on how you are getting on with them. :)


SUSIE DUZY profile image

SUSIE DUZY 5 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

I too am pretty technology saavy. It took me a long time and a lot of frustration to figure stuff out. But now I truly feel that the world has changed for a better place because of technology.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi, Elena. Despite my fear of all things technological, I think you're right. This is the first cell phone I have ever owned that I have enjoyed having--once I learned how to answer it, of course. Hopefully it is the beginning of a new era for me, and not an indication instead that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. We shall see. Stay tuned.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Susie, I commend you on your technological know-how. I agree that the world is a better place due to our technological advances, and I am always looking forward to the next innovation, even if I need some help dealing with it. The tech journey is thrilling (if intimidating). Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your insights. Take care.

Mike


original010 profile image

original010 5 years ago from Egypt

For a technology dummy like me, you make things simpler.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

Hahaha! Mike, I enjoyed this hub! Now I have found a kindred soul when it comes to modern technology!

I am not exactly that helpless but it just takes me close to forever to learn and be savvy about a new gadget. By the time I usually learn, a newer version has already come out! Hahaha!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Original010, thanks for reading. I am no tech whiz either, and I find my journey through the realm of technology alternately frustrating and humorous. I appreciate your stopping by. Take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Jill, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. If you struggle with technology as much as I do, then we are indeed kindred. I am just like you--by the time I have it figured out, something newer has been put on the market. My friends and relatives are good with technology, which can help get stuff working but it doesn't do much for my self-confidence in that regard.

I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, and I'm glad I'm not alone in my struggles. Take care.

Mike


pmccray profile image

pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

LOL LOL so I'm not alone. Egad I bought a new alarm clock and it sits unused and unplugged because the dang gum thing causes brain damage just to set the alarm.

Whenever I get the bright idea to change my office around I curse myself afterward when I have to reset up my computer.

As a teenager my parents came to me whenever they purchased a new appliance to set it up . . what the heck happened?

Love your subject matter, voted up, marked useful, funny and definitely shared!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Pmccray, thanks for stopping by. I would love to move around some stuff in my office, but I never do for the very reason you mention--the thought of reconnecting my computer is far too daunting!

I also owned an alarm clock that looked as if it belonged on the Enterprise. I woke up at the same time every morning because I couldn't learn how to change the alarm after I had initially set it. Tired of referring to the owner's manual every time I needed to set the time or alarm, I gave up. Moshi still talks too much, but at least I can perform simple tasks without a guide.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope your weekend is a good one.

Mike


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hahahahaha! This is so funny! It would seem that there are many of us all in the same boat, so to speak. Since we have new television sets and an old VCR...we haven't recorded a movie in years! My husband deletes messages from my cell phone...generally just sales calls...because as often as he has shown me how to do it, I don't remember. I don't even give out the number as it is rarely used...just carry it for emergencies.

We have a new thermostat in our house and darned if I can figure out how to program it as I would like. Our neighbor set it for us and I would like it changed. Guess we will have to have the neighbor back over here. Neither my husband nor I can change it.

LOVED THIS! This hub is good for a laugh...keeps us from crying. Haha!

I'm going to tweet this and share it with others. Voting it funny and up!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Peggy, it's funny you should mention the thermostat--I have one of those programmable thermostats also, and I don't know when the heat is going to turn on and off. I originally set the heat to come on shortly before I woke up, so the house would be warm as I dressed for work. It comes on too early and stays on too long now, and about an hour before I have to get up, I am cooked. I don't know how to change it, either, so it could be another long winter. I hope the instructions are still around somewhere, but those usually don't prove all that helpful to me.

I'm glad you enjoyed my article--the struggles can become comical at times! Take care and have a great weekend.

Mike


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

The sad thing is that the book that came with our new programmable thermostat was in just about every language BUT English! We will have to bother our neighbor who installed it to come back and try and teach us how to use it again. At least it is a neighbor. So it shouldn't be too hard to catch him sometime soon.

This hub IS COMICAL and I have shared it with many to give them a good laugh also. Many of us are in the "same boat."


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi, Peggy. I hope your neighbor can help with the thermostat problem. I'm still looking around for the instructions for mine, and when I find it, I can only hope at least some of it is in English. I'm not sure I can absorb a new language in time to set the heat for a fast-approaching winter. Good luck.

Thanks again for the kind words, I'm glad you enjoyed my article. I think all of us share technology struggles at some time or another (mine just never end....). Hopefully technology will someday really become "user friendly." Until then, we just do the best we can.

Take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Zlife, thanks for stopping by. While I don't wish the frustration with technology I endure on anyone else, it is comforting to know I'm not alone. Thanks for your comments--I'm glad you enjoyed the article.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks again. Have a great day.

Mike


H.C Porter profile image

H.C Porter 5 years ago from Lone Star State

although some technology is welcome... I think some makes like so much more complicated and takes forever to figure out. great hub mike!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

HC, thanks for reading. I am becoming a little more comfortable with the gadgets I own, but each new technological advancement is a new trauma. I wish I were quicker with learning how to use these things, but so it goes...

Thanks again for stopping by. Take care.

Mike

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