The Sage Grouse

I’m With Stupid

My land line wireless phones have a digital screen that is so faint, featuring tiny LCD font displays, that I have to dash for my glasses when the phone rings, only to learn that it is someone to whom I do not wish to speak.

My new GPS has a tiny color screen which displays endless little icons representing trips which I do not wish to take. I just want to see the latitudes and longitudes. My old GPS, whose display has faded to a ghostly apparition, boots up and shows the compass and the latilongs right away. The new one takes several days. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but when I need latilongs for a bird or dragonfly sighting, I do not need a trip down technology lane.

My Blackberry confuses me most of the time. The contacts in the Blackberry never have the information I need. The internet browser is slow and confusing. The GPS feature is a fun and useless plaything. The phone part works great.

My Sony Vaio, a really expensive laptop, suffers from an identity crisis. I think it’s a wonderful, useful, multi-tasking device and it thinks that it is a pretty piece of decorative steel/plastic sculpture. Inert sculpture. Like, a rock. I can’t use most of the features it boasts  because the hard drive crashes on an irregular but inconvenient schedule, rendering it the luggage equivalent of a rock. I am about to be on my fourth hard drive, if the IT guys can find one.

The GPS in my Mazda CX-9 shows a lot of roads and streets. In an urban setting, it probably works beautifully with the voice prompting feature. It ain’t so good in the countryside. The voice barks out useless advice as you are steering toward that fishing hole: “Turn left to go to Chicago.” The screen shows county roads, except some are missing. But if you want to shrink down the scale to show where on the county road you are lost, to relate to the rest of the neighborhood, the roads all vanish on the screen. “You Are Here,” as a dot displayed somewhere between Carlisle, Devils Tower and Hulett, just isn’t very helpful. This is so depressing, a guy might have to stop and dig around in the trunk for a refreshment.

Canon’s camera designers moved all the buttons from the EOS 40D to new places on the 7D and I apparently missed the instructional meetings. Interfacing with the 7D, a stupendous piece of computer technology, for me is a lot like being Sigourney Weaver facing down the alien. Okay, okay, I know, that’s a wild exaggeration, but the anxiety level isn’t.

I bought the state-of-the-art Olympus sound recording device and studied up, only to get distracted by work for a year and put it away, then I got the inspiration to take it to the music festival. I accidentally hit a button buried deeply in a perplexing menu which only a teenager could decipher, and inadvertently set the infernal device to record for only two minutes. No light, message, warning, shock or vibration or other signal was provided to alert me to this mistake. I have a bunch of two minute snippets of jazz. I finally figured it out at home, trying to record warbler songs. Now it’s fixed. It took me two hours; it would have taken a teenager 15 seconds.

Ladies and germs, I am the technology poster boy for a charred smoking butt caricature of a Happy New Tech User. I don’t want an iPad or a Kindle or an Android-clone electronic shocking device. I am about to the point of making my spouse and dog pass through a metal detector daily in case I am about to become a computer-dominated Stepford Husband.

Stepford Husband. How would you tell the difference?

Mindless of the aphorism “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” I have now bought an Apple MacBook Air. As if struggling to understand electronic cameras, GPS and recording devices and a periodically crashing PC were not enough.

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  1. Dewey, in your dreams. I love that MacBook AIR. It’s built-in photo software decodes even Canon’s proprietary RAW encoding. Wheee !!

  2. I feel your pain! It doesn’t help either to be an “early adaptor” of the latest & greatest technology…as the newest versions of anything just seem to perplex this aging but adventurous user!