Bury my heart at Broken Promise
It all began with a very simple idea. As several of my Acer laptop keyboard functions weren’t working, I thought, ‘Why not just go out and buy a simple keyboard, plug it into the laptop and bypass the buggered bit?’
So I went to my nearest hiphop cutting edge techie centre, and they said, “Smart idea but you’ll have to connect the keyboard using Bluetooth in order to do that – this is the kit you need”.
I did the rest of my shopping, got home, followed the Easy-3-Step installation process, and the wifi button on my Acer went dead. But the new remote keyboard was OK: as if to establish an alibi and evade all blame, it carried on blinking….. which meant “nothing wrong with me nernernenerne”.
At this point, anyone with only one form of wireless kit would be screwed….because in order to understand what’s happened and why, you’d need to go to the Acer website. And to do that, you’d need to be online. And I wasn’t.
But I do have an HP notebook. It only takes about 25 minutes to crawl into action, so I powered him up and went off to write a 160,000 page novel. Its internet access via my Trendnet 658 state-of-the-art router purchased eight long months ago was AOK, so that told me the problem lay with my Acer. I typed the Acer laptop problem into my HP notebook, and you’ll never guess, 12 user forums popped up saying “My Acer has turned off wifi and won’t turn it on again”. (Trendnet also obliged by getting in touch to say that my 658 state-of-the-art router had been discontinued).
One poor soul in the forum did however observe, “Acer has a tendency to switch off wifi if your drivers and Bios settings are out of date, and as you don’t get any warnings from them about being out of date, it can be slightly inconvenient”.
Slightly inconvenient. Right. Not the descriptor I’d use, but anyway I went to the Acer website to get these downloads using my HP Snailbook, and of course realised I was being a twat because I couldn’t download to the Acer. So I Googled how to get a wired connection using an Acer E-157 and a discomboobulated not very trendy Trendnet 658, and the site said you have to get Papal dispensation to pull that kind of shit and I thought feeeeerrrrk that.
Instead, I went into a plastic poubelle [garbage] sack I own marked ‘old tech’. It has an advertised capacity of 150 litres, and sits hidden but packed to the gunnels behind my original Habitat Mushroom design icon wickerwork easy chair. Therein I found two neolithic Mac ethernet connections, and put one end into the router and the other end into the Acer. All this Acer and router stuff put me in mind of the Chuck Berry/early Stones classic track, Route 66.
Well if you ever plan to motor west/taxi my way that’s the highway that’s the best. I was that Easy Rider giving a big, long middle finger to the rules, man. It worked: I went to the Acer download site, and began downloading the previously secret updates. The download space on my at last connected laptop told me the process would take two and a half hours.
While I was waiting, I had another thought. Why not fire up my android and see if the remote keyboard would connect to that? ‘A little learning is a dangerous thing’ Alexander Pope once wrote; but by now it was 3 in the afternoon and all my previouslu scheduled tasks had been blown onto the rocks by technology: what on earth did I have to lose?
At first, all went well. The tablet quickly recognised the remote keyboard (being Bluetooth enabled) and ‘paired’ with it. Unfortunately, the pairing turned out to be that of an Islamist fiery chariot with an early US Gemini capsule. I pressed the ‘a’ key, and a dollar sign came up. I pressed the ‘i’ key, and a q materialised. I don’t like to think what might have happened had I pressed ‘°’, which is OK because I didn’t. But who knows: some day perhaps, a jumped-up sorcerer’s apprentice will do just that – and the Hadron collider will turn Time backwards.
I said get your kicks/ on Route 66.
So to sum up, I went out to buy a solution, and wound up bringing home a grab-bag of problems. The downloads completed at 7 pm, but neither of the compressed files wanted to open.
My tablet speaks to my keyboard, but the keyboard replies in the manner of Ben Bernanke following a mild stroke. The Acer will now only work via ethernet….and has but a deranged keyboard as the communicating tool. And as for my new wannabe replacement keyboard…. it quickly ran away from the field of anarchic Star Wars: where once there was a proper reception signal, there is now only a mild, flickering green light. I’d love to Google why it’s doing that, but I don’t fancy the Geek solution likely to be on offer. I suspect it would be harder then cracking the Enigma Code: perhaps even the Da Vinci Code.
I went for a long swim in a cold pool after typing that paragraph. On my return, the tablet had frozen. It may be called a Terra Pad and it may be made in Germany, but right now it’s about as much use to me as a Paraguayan terrapin – and a damn sight more expensive.
The downloads, meanwhile, are compressed in zip files my Acerloadashit doesn’t want to run. Under extreme duress, it has been persuaded to open them, but I suspect the machine knows only too well that the Universe may well implode if they’re allowed to run amok.
But even that isn’t quite as definitively daft as the page my ‘troubleshooting’ app vomited when asked to restore my choice of routes onto the cyberway. It showed me every public and private network I’d accessed since 2004, and then commanded, ‘Select those networks you’d like to forget’. I’d no great desire to forget any of them, but whatTF was the point of me obliterating a network I was trying to get back? That was, by the way, the sum total of ‘Help’ on offer.
It’s all very well writing mildly amusing pieces about the random disorganisation and brain-muddled nature of hitech in 2015, but there are very serious charges to be brought against the sector as a whole – not the least of which is its arrogant and unremitting ageism. Yes that’s right – ageism: the biggest crime of the modern era perpetrated upon the biggest single demographic alive today, but for whom there is zilch legislation to even begin to rival the homophobia, feminist, islamophobic and race relations body of law sitting there on the statutes to placate those who think a point of difference gives them the right to special treatment.
Whereas for the ageing majority, surely their experience and failing faculties DO give them the right to – at the very least – consideration. I’m angry to the point of violence with online banking sites where, if one doesn’t immediately enter the 57-digit code number, an irritating notice comes up saying ‘This is an obligatory response’ or – even worse – the bloody web page page fades and blames the user for inactivity.
But less controversially, contemporary technology is a crime wrought by yet more of these so-called free market loons who claim sole ownership of the principles of marketing – yet know nothing whatsoever about it, operating whenever possible from the vantage point of sleazy monopolism. Here I would finger Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Facebook and most of the companies they have bought in order to kill real competition….and then armlock the distributors into foisting upon the public both hardware and software that is at best dysfunctional. The sole design criterion for all of this pointless crap is that users should become so frustrated by it, they will purchase any replacement that seems to offer something better….until you try to use it, that is.
Over a century ago, such criminal disregard for product quality and customer satisfaction would have attracted the ire of legislators who put the citizen first – and damned such constructs as Trusts and Monopolies. But in 2015 – where few citizens support legislators, and thus they must crawl to the corporacrats – the layman consumers of technology are left to visit forums…when in reality – as the paymasters – they should be entitled to the support of experts who can speak languages beyond geekygobblejargonbabble.
There are two words that sum up the computer technology sector, and they haven’t changed since IBM was conning business into buying their useless desk-boxes forty years ago: broken promises.
Broken promises are the reason why every home in the West today has wires, hubs, dongles, disks, roaming appliances, mice, phone-connectors, ADSL convertors, dialup wall-sockets and other obsolescent dead-ends taking up entire cupboards, attics and poubelle sacs.
But on a broader canvas still, neoliberal eternal-growth bollocks is based on the same sociopathic mendacity. And that’s why – when even veteran Sloggers wonder why I go on about poor performance of techno products, overpaid footballers, digital television, despicably inaccurate accusations of paedophilia, the use of a myth called Grexit, media dissembling and the War on Terror – it’s because every last one of them is merely another aspect of the same syndrome: the infinite ability of the soi-disant elite to break promises to the very people they promise to serve.
Enjoy the weekend.