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I went to sort out a new phone yesterday - I've been meaning to for ages, but now that my old one was ACTIVELY SEEKING SUICIDE I thought I'd better get on with it.

In the shop i felt INCREDIBLY OLD, also OUT OF TOUCH. The Nice Young Man asked "What sort of tariff did you want?" Tariff? What? Eh? I guess i COULD take it as a compliment, that he thought I looked YOUTHFUL enough to actually have a clue/give a toss about that sort of thing. Once he'd explained that to me - TWICE - we moved on to an even harder subject. "What sort of phone are you after? Do you have any brand preferences? What sort of features would you like?"

EH? What? Features? Well, the "RING" button on my old one had broken, so I'd like one with the feature that you could actually USE it, but otherwise... and then I realised that no, he didn't think i was one of the YOUTH with a brain full of PHONE FACT, he thought I was one of those WEIRD TRENDYGEEKS who buy ENTIRE MAGAZINES which are ALL ABOUT TELEPHONES.

Yes! There are ENTIRE MAGAZINES - and note the plural, there are MORE THAN ONE - that are JUST and ONLY about mobile phones! AND THEY SEEM TO MAKE MONEY!!!!! I looked at him with a mixture of fear and helplessness and very very gradually we went through the options. I've now got a clamshell (look at me with THE LINGO!) which, I think, probably has some interweb on it, but mostly has my phone numbers. Also a camera that switches on when I least expect it, so I now have a lot of UNDER CHIN shots of me looking variously surprised, confused and perplexed.

Walking back to work I felt a sensation I've felt a lot just lately: TECHNO FEAR. Rather than being charged up with GLEE for a New Tour I just felt DREAD. "This", I thought, "Is going to be awful. NOTHING will work the same, I'll have to relearn EVERYTHING, reprogram all the bits I like, and spend FOREVER struggling to cope with what I've lost."

As I say, I've had a LOT of this lately - at work our computer department moved us all over to a system which doesn't work half as well, crashes continually, has none of our old features but, on the plus side, means they can reboot it from their offices rather than coming over to our building. I've also been GRAPPLING MANFULLY with my new camera which - it FINALLY turns out - isn't compatible with VISTA (which I've got at home) using the leads supplied, so I've had to buy a firewire lead. And also, a firewire card, as when I bought it firewire was one of MANY things I thought I'd never need, but did.

And so on and so on - now, I know this will pass, I know that almost EVERY new technological THING I've got involved in has been like this and I've eventually managed to get on with it OK e.g. the whole NIGHTMARE DOOM of Video Editing which is now, frankly, a bit peasy. The thing is, I was rather under the impression that Plug & Play and Modern Computing was supposed to mean this sort of thing DIDN'T happen anymore? A decade or so ago, when ALL new technology required an ENTIRE DAY of labour and telephone calls to grumpy men with beards, I didn't mind because I knew the pain would be SHORT and then everything would WORK. Now it seems things give the ILLUSION of being able to work, but don't, and the grumpy bearded men have been replaced by INCREDIBLY BADLY THOUGHT OUT manuals that you have to download from the interweb.

Hmmm... memo to self: when getting grumpy about Modern Computers, BE SURE TO SHAVE!

posted 3/6/2008 by MJ Hibbett

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Thirty quid for a Firewire card, incidentally? Those robbing buggers at Tottenham Court Road...

I think the last one I got was around eight quid. Thank heavens for local cheap PC suppliers :)
posted 5/6/2008 by Warren

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