Help me Technical Support. You’re my only hope.

Computers were SO much simpler in the 80s. Courtesy

I’ll admit it. Technology has gotten away from me. Every innovation, each update, every new feature sends me into an angst fueled emotional crisis; vodka bottles are drained, the medicine cabinet must be locked, and Dr Feelgood Feldman rises to the top of my speed dial list, or whatever we’re calling that now — iFriendFone, iTalkieFavorites, iSpeedyDial, I don’t fucking know.

Facebook mystifies me. Can you or can’t you send a private message to one of your friends? If you can, why not just email? Isn’t the point of Facebook to make your every breath, utterance and rest stop into a public holiday? And why does my page now look like it was laid out by an ADHD-addled first-year graphic design student with a psychotic disorder and an astigmatism? I can’t find ANYTHING on my own page. So I never look at it. Ever.

I can just about cope with Twitter, though I have no idea what the point is. Tumblr, I am told, is a new social media must, as is Pinterest. I tried to set up a Pinterest account but they put me on a waiting list. Apparently it’s very exclusive — some kind of virtual country club or ivy league college. Later, they sent me a congratulatory email when they magnanimously bestowed an account upon me. Am I supposed to feel thrilled at being included? Again, I don’t fucking know. And I don’t much care. After fifteen hours of trying to find some kind of technical support I gave up. The social media world will have to spin without me.

Remember the little stylus? I LOVED that.

Hardware poses even greater challenges. While others eagerly seek the newest, shiniest, most cutting edge gizmos on the market, I sit pining for my Palm Pilot and the long dead Vindigo application. I know there are other ways to find a piano bar near 70th and Park, or a shoe repair shop within limping distance of Gand Central, or a bathroom in the Financial District, but they’re all different applications. I just want my one source, and the late Vindigo was it.

I recently got an iPhone because I wanted one simple thing: to be able to see the same calendar and address book on my phone and my laptop. That’s it. Instead, the simple act of syncing my phone to my laptop unleashed a tsunami of technical difficulties requiring no fewer than six calls to APPLECARE, a $50 operating system upgrade for my computer and a $150 RAM upgrade. I got the phone a month ago and I still haven’t figured out how to keep it from duplicating every appointment in my calendar and switching the listings from last-name-first to first-name-first. Nor can I color code the events in my calendar without a slide rule, an HTML brain implant and a TIME MACHINE.

What it really comes down to is this: technology exhausts me. So much so, in fact, that I can barely cope with my own little blog. For example, what is an RSS feed and how do I use it? If I add it to my site, what will the implications be? If I click it on someone else’s post will it inundate me with unwanted comments, put cookies in my laptop (sure there are plenty of crumbs in there, but a whole cookie strikes me as a bit too much), or worse, send loads of unwanted Spam my way? I hate Spam. How come other bloggers have RSS feeds and I don’t?

Here’s what WordPress has to say on the subject of RSS.

Subscribing to a feed is very easy and only requires a feed reader. Most browsers can already read feeds, as can many email clients. In addition, you can download special desktop clients for this purpose, and other websites even provide feed reading services, as well.

By the rest of us, do they mean everyone who didn’t get into Pinterest? Beats me.

Feed reader? Clients? When did I get clients? I don’t want clients — that’s why I stopped working in business. Are desktop clients different from regular ones? Will they be expecting cookies? I have absolutely no idea what any of this this means, so I looked it up in my Dummies book. Here’s what they have to say:

RSS is a format that allows readers to subscribe to your blog and read it in an application — an RSS reader such as Google Reader…The best way to keep track of your RSS subscribers is to replace the RSS feed created by your blogging platform with a feed from Google’s free FeedBurner service…etc.

Feedburner service? Sounds like dinner with my inlaws. I’ll spare you the five step process for affecting this change. It’s full of redirects, logins to accounts I don’t have and hyperlinks. For example: “Use the new Feedburner address in the hyperlink for your Subscribe button or link, not the original one created by your software.” Is it me? Can you follow this?

All of this is entirely too much like a flashback of sophomore Geometry, which I slogged through for what seemed like decades and barely managed to pass. It was all well and good when we were looking at shapes and vectors and points and angles, but then one day we turned to theorems and proofs, and we might as well have been talking about feedburner plug-ins.


Interestingly, the following year I scored highest in my class on some kind of standardized math exam. At the time, owing to some very high grade under the counter substances, I couldn’t even recall taking it. The teacher gave me a filthy, accusatory look, like I’d been hiding algorithms in my bra, and promptly started calling on me in class, which made it a lot harder to skip doing my homework.

So I’m wondering, if by some remote chance I master RSS, SEO, XML, DNS and the myriad other ingredients in the electronic soup of the world wide interweb, does that mean I’ll have to start showing up for class and turning assignments in on time? If it does, I’m out.

With props for inspiration to the tallest and the baddest, our own Cristy Carrington.

About WSW

Writer, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.

Posted on May 22, 2012, in Life and times, The Slattern Speaks and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. BTW, I just realized now that you’ve posted about 3 posts which I’ve not been informed about, even though I’m following this blog. Just decided to punch in your website and voila, I see all this stuff you’re writing. Is this not also a failure of technology?

    Let me have another glass of wine and ponder that.

    • Apparently I am not the only person this is happening to. If you, or any other blogger, is seeing a drop in readership, you should get in touch with WordPress.

  2. my brain has a threshold. I think it’s been met. I’m with ya.

  3. I just typed a long, well-rounded, funny, deep, meaningful comment, and by some techno-nightmare-glitch it disappeared.

    So you’re stuck with this.

  4. You’ve given me a technology headache. Pass the vodka.

  5. As a person that has had a help desk job in the past, I too suffer from this malady. It’s just moving too damned fast to keep up and I’m running flat out after it.

    • Oh now that is very discouraging. On the other hand, once we abandon hope, we are finally free. Or something like that. Thanks for stopping in!

  6. There are so many things that are here today and gone tomorrow. I’m not convinced that twitter is all it’s cracked up to be. Does it have a use? I suppose, but very limited. Facebook likewise, they will all go my way of other techy trends.

    • I’ll put on a red dress and throw a party the day Facebook goes under — which may be sooner than we all think. Of course it will be replaced by something far worse — who am I kidding? Rode Apple Jct is looking better and better, Kenton.

      • About two years ago I put a lot of time on twitter trying to draw persons to read my blog. In two months time over 4,500 visited my blog. Not many returned, if any. My blog will actually appeal to few. I know that going into it. People on twitter want the story told in 140 spaces or less. It is not likely they will go to a site and read 500 words.
        As for Facebook. I’m don’t see its value for me or for that fact anyone except friends and family keeping in touch.

  7. Your post seems to indicate that you have issues with technology. I’m a total newbie. I wander through the tech world without a clue and crap falls into my lap. I read all the books and knew less than when I began. Open a bottle of Pinot, put on a favorite CD and kick back. The shitstorm will pass and everything will be the same. Except you’ll be relaxed. Sometimes I’m sorry I quit drinking, facing the crap sober sucks.

    • I’ll have to take your word on that. You know what they say, “I’d rather face the crap with a bottle in front of me than a …” Oh never mind.

  8. I have same problem with you

  9. clearly, you need the help desk number – 4222. somehow or other this call dials me straight to India where I am on first name basis with a bunch of “English” speaking lads and lassies. thing is, its British english…you know, the kind they spoke in England ages ago. so after getting a new laptop and a new blackberry within the same month (ok, if you must know, I dropped the old blackberry while trying to get a jump on a plane departure in CA and scrambled the screen brains to make it look like the northern lights…incoming calls only after that). Anyway, with two new electronic devices in hand, I have become a regular and have racked up such an account with the Brit speaking Indians that I am now getting holiday cards, etc.. Such lovely folks but no doubt having therapy session groups where my name is mentioned as the primary source of their job challenges.

    I so identify with the issues you mentioned…great article!

    • Thanks, Madi! I wish I were on good terms with tech support, but they seem to resent the ranting and cursing and generally unhinged tone of my calls. Who knows why?

  10. mjcache (Mel Cope)

    Hey WSW, I’m in good company, someone who also hates social media and technology with the same amount of vitriol as I do. Long Live Luddites. Bring back the chisel and stone tablets and I’ll be happy as Larry – they were working just fine.

  11. I hear you. I have trouble with my iPhone and I’m a bit of a techie. What I think is happening is that the creators of these gadgets are getting lazy in the “ease use” department and trying to blame it on the consumer when they can’t figure out how to use the latest f&^%ing gadget.

  12. I couldn’t have done it any better, dear Slattern. Bravo! Now, let’s wait for our RSS feed savior to come in on his or her white stallion and explain to us what an RSS is and why we are feeding it. I mean, my cats are getting mighty expensive to feed on a daily basis; can I really afford to feed an RSS…particularly if it refuses to sleep with me in bed at night or greet me at the door by rubbing its face against my ankle? Anyone have a four or five year old kid they can lend the Slattern and me for a day or two to explain all these technical issues to us?

  13. I feel ya Wen. It’s a jungle out there! Drink soon? I can travel…..

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