Is it impossible to create technology that doesn’t make me want to scream?
Don’t get me wrong – I love technology. Love it. Just the way Richard Burton loved Elizabeth Taylor, which is to say, passionately, unendingly and till repeated divorce do we part.
Can’t live with it, can’t live without it. But there are times when I’m sorely tempted to try the latter.
- 1. The disappearing software.
- I started off with a Blackberry for my work phone. Wasn’t offered much choice, as it happens, but it made sense given how I wanted to use it primarily for accessing my email on the road.
I’m not an enterprise, so couldn’t use Blackberry Enterprise Server, but instead made use of Blackberry Desktop Redirector to forward email from Outlook to my phone. Meant my PC had to be always on, but that was okay.
Until, that is, an automatic software update replaced – irreversibly – Desktop Redirector with… well… nothing. Yup. That’s it. No more emails for you. Can’t roll back the update, can’t download an old version of the software – in short, can’t do a thing to make the Blackberry useful again. Except to make calls, and who wants that in a phone?
So that’s it, it had to go, replaced by an HTC phone.
- 2. The logo that won’t shut up.
- 3. To move forward, take two steps back.
- To put it another way, I hate technology that forces you to go down one route when all you want to do is take the opposite path.
And what do you know, HTC provide me with yet another classic example of this…
Picture the scene. It’s 1am and I am going to bed. Everyone else is already asleep. I want to check that my phones are turned off so that there’s no danger of them ringing in the night.
iPhone: Press the Home button. If the phone lights up, it’s on, so turn it off.
HTC: no button will make the phone light up if it’s in standby mode, except the power button. And, if the phone was off in the first place, no matter how briefly you press it, the power button will now switch the phone on. Triggering, of course, that stupid logo and sound, which now wakes everyone up – but don’t get me started on that again…
- 4. The feature that gets removed.
- Microsoft are great at this. They will find a nifty feature and then tuck it away somewhere.
Classic examples: “save as a version” in Microsoft word. This allowed you to have multiple versions embedded within a single Word document, and compare those versions at any time, rather than saving 15 copies of your document called “…v1.doc”, “…v2.doc” etc.
Secondly, the minute minder in PowerPoint. This feature allowed you to add tasks and notes to a presentation as it was being delivered. At the end of the presentation the notes became a Word document and the tasks became “to do” items in Outlook.
Both were great features, but both were tucked away where you had no chance of finding them. And, of course, both features have subsequently been removed. Why? Because no one used them! Now why might that have been…?
- 5. It’s mine – let me do what I want with it!
- This one’s just for you, Apple…
I have an iPhone. It’s mine – I know that, because I paid for it.
And I love it.
So why can’t I do what I want with it? I’d like to make it easier to turn on bluetooth, by adding some kind of icon or link on my home screen. But I can’t – Apple won’t let me.
I’d like to add new ringtones – using my mp3 tracks. And I can – if I can be bothered to follow the 74 steps needed. Given that Apple’s designers are geniuses at making things easy to use, I can only assume that the reason this is so fiddly is that they really don’t want me to do this. Why not? It’s mine!! And every other phone I’ve ever owned has made it easy!
And so to the HTC.
Not bad. Bit slow, but I can live with that.
But what I hate with a passion, what drives me incandescent with frustration is the musical bloody logo.
The one that makes a jangling racket every time you turn it on. That has no way of being turned off. To make it yet more ridiculous, this STUPID and unwanted annoyance, this electronic TORTURE appears alongside the classic strap line of – wait for it – “Quietly Brilliant”. Irony bypass, anyone?
Over to you…
So there you have it. My pet hate list. I could go on, but life is only so long.
I’m sure you’d have your own favourites ( or anti favourites!). So why not add a comment to the form below and let us know what really doesn’t work for you!