I don’t know why it is that everything technical that needs doing around the home or office, seems to be the primary responsibility of ‘the man’. That somehow men are supposed to be good at these sorts of things, that somehow ‘they’ tend to like it and that it is a kind of fun hobby for them? It’s OK for a woman to say “I am not much good at these kinds of things” (when she really means I am not interested and cannot be bothered) but when a man protests it’s as if he is a bit simple or perhaps not a ‘real man’.
I like to think of myself as an advocate for technology, but only when it works. Too often I find myself investing what seems to be hundreds of hours into trying to get a simple piece of software or technology (principally designed to make my life simpler) to run as it should.
Sometimes I think it must be something to do with me, but then when I scratch the surface and do some research on the internet (also very time consuming) I find that hundreds of other people (mostly men) suffer the same fate, but are too ashamed to admit that ‘the technology’ has beaten them. (As if it were a failure of theirs, rather than the supplier).
For example, what could be simpler than going out and buying a GPS for a motorcycle?
I recently purchased a Garmin Zumo 660 with detailed maps of Western Europe already installed. I bought it because someone told me that I could plan my motorcycle trips on my laptop using very easy to use software and then simply download my routes on to the GPS – sounded great. But when it came down to it, I didn’t even get past first base!
1. I registered the machine on-line, no problem here
2. I installed the maps from the CD provided onto my PC, no problem here either
3. I downloaded updates for the PC maps and tried to register them – I was asked for a product key.
4. The product key provided did not match the format requested and did not work.
5. After several hours of searching and re-registering I retrieved a separate code, but that did not match either. (During this process I went from high to low, several times – as each time I thought I had cracked it).
6. Three weeks later, no response from Garmin support and still no maps that work
HOWEVER: When I phone the shop where I bought the GPS, the salesman said “yes the codes often do not match, this can be a problem – try phoning the Garmin support line” (3 EUR per minute)! (If the sales guy knew this, when I purchased the GPS then he should have warned me and I would have left it in the shop. He certainly did not hint that I would very likely waste an entire Saturday on what should be a ten minute task)!
The point I am making, is that simple things like software codes and download procedures have been around for years now, there should be no excuse for these procedures not to work first time.
We are in danger of making everything we produce far too complex, without offering any real tangible benefits. Anyone that has owned an HP Office Jet printer knows that quite often you need to pull out the power supply and hard re-boot it, to get it to do even the most basic of operations. To my absolute horror, I found the water dispenser in the office requires the same technique! Does a water dispenser really need a microchip in it? Does this increased technology, offer any real advantage to the end user?
Men are dying of heart attacks, far too young – and I wouldn’t mind betting that it has nothing to do with the pace of life or stress levels caused by ‘normal’ work but more by being given the responsibility for getting badly designed and insufficiently tested technology to work, while their neighbors are sitting on their balconies laughing and drinking sangria, listening to music via their I-phones!
So it’s back to my Garmin GPS and another vain attempt to master something that perhaps is not meant to be. Why do I allow myself to be seduced by this stuff in the first place?
Have a good week,