How Much Time, Lord…

…is freaking wasted wrestling with computer software?

This afternoon, in one tiny household in the middle of one faceless city parked in the middle of a far-flung desert: three hours. That’s this afternoon alone.

I’ve lost track of the number of hours I’ve spent on the phone with Apple Support, to say nothing of the number of hours consumed by driving back and forth to Apple stores, by trying to figure out a problem by myself, by reconstructing lost data…ohhhh good grief.

Seriously: the Apple Support folks are a godsend. Without them, by now I would have picked up a number of expensive gadgets and thrown them across the room, to collide at a high velocity with a wall.

Which, one might speculate, would be counterproductive.

These computers we all have, all the manifold devices most of us tote around with us: they’re wonderful devices. They allow us to perform feats of data entry and calculation that would have consumed our lives had we tried to do them with a typewriter or an adding machine or a spreadsheet. This is because they do these tasks at outrageous speed, with little need for thought from the user.

So….why does riding herd on the damn things still consume our lives?

It is Saturday evening. A weekend. Remember those? Do you remember them as “free times”? I sure do: once upon a time you didn’t spend your weekends working.

Today I was on the phone with Apple from 3 in the afternoon until 6 — three hours — trying to figure out why Apple’s iCloud keeps nagging me that something is wrong. Wrong? Wrong with a password, we surmise. Between me and the two excellent gents I worked with, we changed my passwords at least three times, in three different venues. Finally we got online and got iCloud to accept the result…only to find that iCloud decided to quit sending my email to my computers.

The second of said gents, gazing upon the little mystery through a direct connection to my computer, quietly performed a bit of prestidigitation and…zap! Undid whatever was done and disappeared both the conundrum and the endlessly nagging, pointless messages.

In the course of this, I lost track of what we were doing, became hopelessly confused, thought I had lost the new passwords, discovered they were not lost after all, and then realized…waitaminit…these passwords we’re using that are now magically working? They’re the same damn passwords we started out with! And yea verily, they’re still all different.

That’s right. We spent three hours farting around and ended up right where we were at the outset. Only with the software inexplicably working.

For the nonce. We’ll see what it’s doing by the break of day.

Here’s what I think about this:

Yes. The 21st century’s astonishing technology does speed our work miraculously. Makes it easier to perform, by far. Makes our product look far more professional than most of us used to be able to produce with a typewriter and a photocopier and a calculator. BUT….no savings in work time ensues.

Vast numbers of hours may be saved in the performance of routine and mind-numbing tasks. But do we use that saved time in worthwhile pursuits like watching soap operas and shopping for underwear? Nooooo….

Hell, no! Any and all free time is devoured by learning new and unnecessary changes in the software and hardware, by trying to keep the software running, and by figuring out and fixing whateverthefuck is wrong when the damn things go down. In fact, I’d venture to say most of us spend more time working, when you add in the time required to learn, relearn, and re-relearn the endlessly morphing technology and in keeping it running, than we ever did at work with our antediluvian tools.

So confusing and baffling are these ubiquitous devices that even the experts get confused. Two of them, over the past few weeks, have told me that the reason for the mysterious nuisance messages from iCloud was that the passwords on my two Mac computers are different. The key, they felt, lay in syncing passwords. Ideally, I gathered, the same password should be used for both computers. And possibly it should be used for iCloud, too.

After all that wrestling to make this happen, after finding a gigantic glowing golden FAIL at the end of that rainbow, this evening the guy who answered the phone at Apple said…well…noooo… The computers’ passwords do not have to be the same.

Make up your minds, guys!

This one, it appears, was right. We ended up with different passwords for the MacBook, the aging iMac, and iCloud…and with the click of a couple of buttons on his ends, he magically disappeared the iCloud problem.

What the problem ultimately was, I have no clue. Nor do I want to have a clue.

THIS is not what I got a Ph.D. in English literature and history for…

10 thoughts on “How Much Time, Lord…”

  1. Your experiences with Apple products absolutely reinforce my decision to NEVER give Apple a red cent 🙂

    I’ve been using PCs for 30 years and never had the kinds of issues you describe routinely – that’s just nuts – ESPECIALLY for a brand that is “known” for being “simpler” to use than PCs

    I’ve upgraded through dozens of versions of Word and Excel – never had any issues opening old files or losing functionality, either!

    Sorry you’re having a spate of technical difficulties, and I hope things calm down in that area soonest!

    • LOL! I dunno…I’ve found PCs have their challenges, too. And you have to first find a competent computer tech and then hire the person to keep the thing running. Hours and hours of computer help from Apple have been provided for free.

      In fact, there was no problem opening files. The issue at hand was that iCloud kept sending nuisance pop-up messages telling me my computer couldn’t access iCloud because of “a problem.”

      Say what? It appeared (still appears) that data was being stored there and data was being accessed. So whatever this phenomenon was, it amounted to pest stuff.

      It is a problem not to be able to upgrade Word and Excel easily — though if I used the computer’s capacity to run as a PC, that wouldn’t be a problem. I just don’t want to fill my mind with a lot more techno-hassles than necessary.

      In fact, though, it’s no longer necessary to use the PC function to run Wyrd and Excel — when you use the programs in the Cloud, they run on a Mac as well as on a PC. I just don’t want to put my clients’ proprietary work in anyone’s cloud.

      One thing that’s interesting, though, is that the Apple Support techs are indeed so fully immersed in the Apple environment that they truly do not understand how little functionality a program like Pages possesses. Yesterday the guy tried to mansplain to me that I can edit copy in Pages and then save as .doc files. Yeah, buddy: I know. I had to explain to him that Pages doesn’t do “track changes,” or to the extent that it does, it’s inadequate to the job of serious, heavy-duty editing for clients in the sciences and academia.

      The truth is, for the mathematicians and scientists, I should get off my duff and learn LaTex. It’s apparently not very difficult; however, I’ve never found any documentation that explains how to use the program in plain English. Understandably enough, LatTex’s developers assume all their users are highly techie, and so the elide a bunch of stuff that they assume everyone knows.

      {sigh} Probably, though, the issue here is the laziness that comes with age. I’m past the point in life where I want to learn a lot of arcane stuff that will be outdated within a year or two.

    • I am a long time Mac and PC user. I have never experienced any of the issues with Mac that Funny routinely recounts experiencing nor can I recall any of the Mac users I know having Funny’s experience with their Mac products. In general I find Mac OS to have a more intuitive user experience than Windows.

  2. You’re right, Ozzie — there is a stand-alone MS Office 2019. I own it. But I just have not been able to force myself to jump through the technohoops to install and figure out how to operate it.

    And while you’re right that Apple’s OS is more intuitive than Windows, “more intuitive” does not mean “fully intuitive” or “not a hassle.”

    As I young pup, I was ahead of the curve in the techie department — though it was with Microsoft all the way. But over time you fall behind that curve. I suspect two things happen: one is that your synapses slow down so that keeping up with every new revelation becomes increasingly difficult with age; the other is that it strikes you that life is getting short..and really, REALLY you just don’t want to fill up the time left to you with technohassles.

    And…I’d almost be willing to put money on it that a kind of techno-exhaustion is normal. How many people over the age of, say, 60 or 65 enthusiastically WANT to keep learning new tricks to accomplish either the same things they’ve been accomplishing or new ones that they feel no need to master? Any day, I’d rather cultiver mon jardin — a real garden with real flowers in it, not a virtual one. 😉

  3. My daughter is very computer savvy and married to someone who’s a whiz. She had a problem she couldn’t fix last week and he was able to do it. She said “What do people do who don’t have in-home-technical-support? My son-in-law’s reply: They buy a Mac.

  4. My daughter is very computer savvy and her husband is an absolute whiz. Last week she had a problem she couldn’t fix but he was able to get it done. She pondered “What do people who don’t have in-home-technical-support do?” He replied “They buy a Mac.”

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