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

Computers were SO much simpler in the 80s. Courtesy IGN.com.

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.

Courtesy deviantart.com

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.

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