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Why don’t things just work?

June 28, 2010

Help! I can't handle technology.

It’s 2010 and we take a lot for granted. Even the worse diseases are on the way to being cured; you can have full face transplants and you can live in space. Google exists. And does what it does.

Why then can’t I watch a World Cup match online? Why does our internet connection at work slow to a virtual halt every 20 minutes throughout the day? And why is there no coherent way of measuring gas and electricity, and being billed accordingly, in this country?

Tonight I did slightly lose my will to live. My TV has – seemingly of its own accord – decided to be solely controlled by the DVD remote. Fine – for a little while, this didn’t hamper my viewing ease. But then, a week ago, the volume just stopped being a controllable function and it’s stuck on mute. Even though mute isn’t on. I fiddled, I really did – I even found a setup menu with a sound option and fiddled. But nothing I pressed had any effect so I gave up any ideas of “menu” cleverness and reverted, for the fourth evening this week, to savagely yet systematically pressing every button on both remotes. I played with the arrows and buttons on the TV itself. No. The sound only works on DVD function.Which was fine when I still had a bit of Mad Men Season Three to watch. But I don’t now, and anyway, it’s the World Cup and my chance to, for once, pay attention to a global, sociologically fascinating event.

So at home tonight, feeling a bit lonely and far away from everyone and thing, I thought I’d find a way to tune into the football that wasn’t going to the local AGAIN (and on my own, as I did yesterday). I had several backup plans lest the TV remained stubbornly a puzzle. They were: the radio ( but I couldn’t find whatever channel one goes to for sports commentary, and anyway, my one radio is in the kitchen, and is very sticky and it’s a nice evening so I didn’t want to be stuck there fiddling with antennae and tracking buttons); my flatmate’s TV (after much unsuccessful prodding – I didn’t manage to even turn it on – I concluded it was only for DVD watching and was thus more of a computer than a normal satellite TV) and finally, MY COMPUTER. I got to BBC Live Sport ok, meanwhile dully ogling Brazil kicking Chile’s ass in silence, and pressed “watch live”. The wheel of death for 10 minutes. Rebooted and tried again. Nothing. Tried ITV Live since that’s the channel it was on TV. Nothing, then really nothing, as I realised my whole internet connection had been severed.

It came back eventually, but I still wasn’t able to watch anything online. People, I hear, watch and do everything online. The internet, and my computer in particular, despite my expensive BT broadband, doesn’t allow me a glimpse of this so-called online watching, downloading and listening live world. Frankly, having the internet, and a TV, and a radio aren’t doing me much good at all at the moment. I’d just as soon have stuck to my original plan of sitting outside with my Thomas Hardy book this evening – for I must now grumpily conclude that technology is a myth.

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