Monday, October 28, 2013

to insanity and beyond

Even in these days of communication by telephone and radio, there is, for many purposes, no better means of communicating with people than a simple letter.

English for Australian Schools - Book 3 [1959]

Many of my once hilarious anecdotes are lost on younger people – the expression "you had to be there" takes on a whole new meaning when "there" means the 1960s.

Letters were delivered twice a day M-F, and once on Saturdays. Just as well the PMG provided such an excellent and efficient postal service back then – despite a proliferation of [unvandalised] phone boxes few of the people we needed to communicate with had phones themselves.

How well I remember the day Aunty Min returned from the phone box at the end of the street, fuming and foaming 'cos she couldn't work out how to make a call. Instead of lining up her pennies ready to drop them in when somebody answered, she had put them in the slot before dialling the number.

A google image search for old PMG phones failed to provide a picture of so much as an AB phone. Tried E Bay only to find these labelled "vintage" phones.

Now Smugg, one of the most evil gods of Karma, has well and truly got it in for me.

The teev crackles and sparkles when we turn it on so now we don't leave it on standby, we just leave it on on.
It's not that we can't afford to replace it – when we bought it a few years ago we had to pay someone to set it up. Now we don't even know what to buy, so complex are all the special features and, so absent, are all the recognisable plugholes what accommodate DVD/VHS player, special device for the hard of hearing, and the box what comes with pay tv.
[Personally, I could not care less. If it ain't on DVD I won't even watch it, but Aunty loves a good UK TV detective story – paint drying with dialogue added though they are.]

For the second time, my touch-screen mobile phone has gone on the blink and as soon as I press the doo-hickey to dial out a call-ended message appears.

Bought some software online and then realised I needed a more advanced version. Sent a message asking how much to move up to the super deluxe program and got a reply with a URL. Clicked on the "forgotten password" button and got a reply with a URL requiring me to enter my email address and password. Should I just give up and pay full price for the swisher version?

Windows 8? Excel 2010? Let's not even go there.

For the second time I have bought TO a decent computer. I use the first one I bought for her - it's fantabulosa.

After 3 months she has not so much as looked at the second one I bought her.

Hers takes fully 30 to 60 seconds to respond to each mouse click. She can't access work files/ emails without using Chrome, and bitches and moans the whole time we work on the problem "together". I made this second attempt to upgrade her because it was a run-out model with Windows 7 installed. While she has long resisted changing to Windows 7, Windows 8 would drive her to the knife block in the kitchen. Of course, I will get there first, because she seems to assume I can help her. No, I will use a self-service check-out before I attempt to use Windows 8 again. She would be on her own.

Managed to find an OEM disc of Office 2003 to upload to the above-mentioned new you-beaut beastie. Does TO want to try and use a "new" email screen? Have decided to set up a gmail account for her and forward an email from each of her 5 million, never-culled, contact list. When old beastie finally dies, at least she'll have access to people's email addresses.

I know there is a folder somewhere on the old system that contains all that address data but a) can't find it and b) doubt if it is readable by Office 2003 unless I link the two machines and ask the new one to import the data. As for her 20,000,002 internet bookmarks…

I have hundreds of vinyl records. I do believe some people pay ridiculous prices for them even if they have been partied on, wined, dined and danced on, used as drink coasters or frisbeed. Today's DJ's don't know nothing 'bout "scratching" vinyl.

Not wanting to sell these vinyls until I have actually recorded all the stuff not available on CD, several years ago I bought a turntable with USB connection.

About a month ago, for the third time, I went 'round and 'round in "logic" loops trying to record from the wretched thing. Admittedly this was only a 4 hour marathon attempt, this time.
Does my sound card work? Followed several suggestions; pc showed me a picture of one and said yes it's working.
Do I really have one, asked another thread? Followed another suggestion and was confronted with a list of hardware stuff gobbledygook but could not tell if any related to a sound card at all.
Went to bed.

It's not that I'm loathe to call for help, but who can I trust? My experiences with other "experts" – plumbers and electricians amongst them – have not inspired trust or confidence. One electrician installed our new downlights, then came back to fix them, then another had a go and a few weeks later one of the lights not only fell out of the ceiling but would not work at all. If cuz #25 had not visited Aunty  and fixed it, the light fitting would still be hanging down from the ceiling.
Which [finally] leads me to my point: - if someone unqualified like cuz # 25 can do what experts can't, why can't I cope with all this IT stuff?

All these things that make life easier just give me ulcers.


  1. I battle often with matters tech, things that are supposed to make life easier and happier. There will be a crunch point in the future where things just work, and we are much closer to that point now than when I first started to use computers, nearly twenty years ago.

    Our ex Brother Friends found a guy who came to their house and sorted out all their computer issues and showed them how to do many things. Best of all, he installed a Linux operating system, which I don't know about and I could no longer be of any help with their queries. I think for the $100 they paid for the visit, they got ongoing help via email and telephone.

    Think of the challenges as being good for the brain, cutting new connections when none existed before.

    1. Andrew, I'll be over the moon when that crunch point arrives - an idea I've never heard of or thought of, but which seems logical and also gives me hope.

  2. Self service checkout :))))) I would rather stand in line for....ever :) than attempt that! It's what I've always suspected FC..nobody knows nuttin' and about technical, even less :)

    1. Ooh, Grace, it was wonderful to see a recent newspaper report that stupormarkets are being ripped off by self-servers who don't always scan every single item... ha ha.

      In desperation one day I queued up at the self service checkout [ssc] - a helper promised me they would talk me through it then pissed off and left me with the transaction half processed.

      The second desperate time the helper did actually come back but it took so long I might as well have queued up behind the people who had filled three trolleys each. Left behind the item I had rushed in to buy.

      Never again. Imagine I might soon be supporting the local IGA family business - especially as more and more brand names disappear to make way for Woolworths' overpriced "Select" brand.