Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Technology Fail

StonehengeIf ever proof were needed that inanimate objects not only talk to each other but also conspire with each other, I have it.

The timing is too perfect. I have evidence of a well orchestrated campaign.

The inanimate world around me is crumbling, failing. It is falling to entropy with a gusto that can only be the result of enthusiastic collusion. All my gadgets are committing malicious suicide.

Take my PC monitor. It is barely 2 years old. A nice widescreen Cibox thing. It doesn’t need any drivers because I’m running Windows 7. It should just plug and play and indeed has done so for the last 24 months.

But it has now taken to switching itself off repeatedly within the first ten minutes of being turned on. Initially it would turn itself off just once. I feared something fundamentally wrong with the PC and rebooted each time. But then it started upping its game. It would switch itself off a second time. I soon sussed that the PC itself was still running. So I merely unplugged the power cable from the monitor and then plugged it back in again. Hey presto. The monitor came back on and showed all my work to be exactly as I’d last seen it. The PC is fine. It’s the monitor who is stabbing me in the back.

The damn thing is now switching itself off 4 times in a row before eventually stabilizing into the on position. I’ve come close to punching it twice but I remember reading in the manual somewhere that gratuitous violence can severely shorten the functioning life of a PC monitor.

And then my MP3 player discharged itself yesterday. I don’t mean it kneecapped someone. I don’t mean that it oozed something unpleasant from an orifice. I mean it somehow got rid of all the electricity that I had pumped into it a mere few days ago. Thus I had to do without the usual musical accompaniment that I am wont to enjoy on my walk home from work. Ironic when I was dying to listen to Cliff Richard’s “Wired For Sound”. Because I most certainly wasn’t wired for anything at that point.

The water heater fiasco you all know about.

But we’ve also had a gas fire that has mysteriously switched itself off twice. We have a fan in the oven that refuses to switch off but runs for a good 5 hours after we have finished cooking. We have a leaky shower unit that leaks so much water on the floor I could plant a paddy field. And the non-stick surface on our frying pan is no longer non-stick which is hampering the perfection of my fried egg sandwiches.

And all this before Christmas!

These things need replacing... Karen and I know this but sending / receiving them as Christmas presents to ourselves just seems bad form. And yet to spend extra money on them as well as budgeting for more luxurious Christmas presents is plainly economic stupidity.

We are being backed into a corner by the technology that is supposed to be making our lives easier! It is a conspiracy to undo us, I’m sure of it. Our mod-cons are out to get us. My frying pan wants me on the scrap heap rather than itself.

There is only one solution: to opt out (man).

Want to know what I want for Christmas?

A yurt. And a yak hair kaftan.

I’m going stone age, people. It’s the only way to beat the technology rap.

Expect to read my next blog chiselled onto the side of Stonehenge (be patient – it might take some time)...

Addendum: Thursday 10th November 2011 - the exhaust literally fell off our car this morning. I am not joking. I think a T2 might be after me...




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31 comments:

the fly in the web said...

I bought a mobile 'phone - my first ever and number given to nobody - to co ordinate picking me up from the bus....used it three times and the thing went dead.
I normally think this is me. The 'phone company confirm it wasn't but are tight lipped as to what it was.
Now have replacement and waiting for the worst to happen...spontaneous combustion in a Costa Rican bus?

Steve said...

The fly in the web: the machines have begun a war against us. Personally I blame Arnold Schwarzeneggar.

Marginalia said...

Shite if you're listening to our Cliff's "Wired for Sound" no wonder your MP3 player vomited. Or were you playing "Je t'aime"?

I wouldn't worry too much about your frying pan. It's not as if you were just about to complete a re-entry manoeuvre.

I like the way you tried to convince us you know about techie things " It doesn't need drivers....It should just plug and play.." Nice try: except plug and play as a technology is about as ancient as your water heater.

I'd put your cooker timer clock ahead 5 hours. That should sort out the fan.

Write a letter to Santa!

Trish @ Mum's Gone To ... said...

I would make a firm agreement with Karen not to buy each other presents. Use the money saved to fix the shower and buy a new pan. At Christmas you and your lovely wife can have a wonderful shower together, followed by a decent fry-up. What more do you need!

Anyway if you order presents they'll only end up in a warehouse in Scotland like they did last year.

Dicky said...

The thing I hate most and technology is replacing things I already have, that one day works, and then doesn't the next. As for going all hippy, not sure about that one. Great rant Steve.

Steve said...

Marginalia: I knew I should have thrown in something about "bluetooth connectivity" and the Higg's Bosun. As for "Je t'aime", why would I have that on my MP3 player when I can have The Birdy Song? And as for writing for Santa... everybody knows he doesn't deliver white goods (they tend to get lost in the snow).

Trish: no pressies for Christmas?! I'm so appalled I shall say that again: no pressies for Christmas?! Hang the frying pan! I want a Lego set!

Owen said...

Welcome to the world of planned obsolescence !

Companies figured out that they could vastly increase their revenues by making products that break, and cost more to repair than to replace. That's obvious, I know, we all know this, but it still disgusts me. The yurt sounds good, as long as we still have the internet...

Another viewpoint, which I heard spoken out loud by a slightly deranged person on the Paris Metro the othere day (one encounters all sorts on the Metro !) is that all these gadgets that break down far too soon are made in China, and their breakdown is part of the Chinese plan for world domination, as they hope to cause an ever greater number of cases of severe depression among gadget addicted westerners, leading to mass suicides, leaving the playing field wide open for the Chinese to simply stroll in without so much as a battle... hmmm... just an inebriated wino, I'm sure...

Martin Lower said...

It'll be the thermostat. When stuff goes wrong, it's always the thermostat. And if it hasn't got one, then it probably should have.

Steve said...

Dicky: I agree. It worked yesterday and then has just sat there all night without being molested. So why the hell won't it work today?!

Owen: planned obsolescence... the scourge of the modern age and yet, thinking about it, God started it all with this "three score years and ten" malarky, didn't he?

Martin: I am having grave difficulty locating the thermostat in my frying pan. I'm plainly more out of touch with modern technology than I thought...

Fran said...

I'm so looking forward to seeing you camped bang in the middle of the Pump Room Gardens ...

Gorilla Bananas said...

Stone age man didn't celebrate Christmas - he had a pagan festival in which the least hirsute men were sacrificed and fed to the owls. You'd better stick a few beard-clippings on your chest.

Steve said...

Fran: I need to have somewhere to go to the toilet.

Gorilla Bananas: my chest hair rivals your own, I can assure you. Tis a top quality rug.

About Last Weekend said...

Will look for your chislings next I'm motoring passed the "Henge. Mind you the seventies is in, so at least you'll be chic with the opting out.

Mark said...

Go buy a mac - and not a raincoat. Expensive, second mortgage all that, but what price sanity

Steve said...

About Last Weekend: I'll be breaking out the flares and the platforms and nice woolly parker coat as well then.

Mark: I know, I know. I've heard all good things about Macs... but I'm a PC boy and always will be. Plainly I enjoy being miserable and frustrated.

Rol said...

You have my sympathy. My printer keeps making some very odd noises and chewing up sheets of paper like I chew through blocks of cheese. I'm praying it'll last... for the next two years at least.

BTW, I'm halfway through the nvl and loving it. Full email comments to follow (when I'm done), but you should be very proud.

Wanderlust said...

Has my son visited your house recently? I've noticed a strong correlation between his presence and the sudden breakage of nearby objects.

Meg said...

Recently my cell phone was shutting itself off all the time and not holding a charge at all. Then I started getting messages from the cell phone company telling me it was time to replace my cell phone. My daughter's cell had given up the ghost completely so I used the discount they offered me to buy her a phone. Viola. My phone was suddenly working again. No other changes. I think it is a conspiracy.

Vicky said...

It must be contagious, so far in the last two months, we have had to replace a bore pump, a bore pump switch, the car cost us over $1000 to fix and we had to install new air conditioning for summer!

Steve said...

Rol: you've just made my day. And not just because you are a fellow cheese eater. Thank you.

Wanderlust: he must have superpowers like those guys on "Heroes". Could he please come with me to my bank's ATM...

Meg: I agree. These machines are all working fine. They have been programmed to play at breaking down just so we'll spend more money.

Vicky: technology = money pit.

Tranceformer said...

sdrawkcab s'ti ebyaM
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e
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Mixing management mathematics with best practice benchmarks + an ultra sweet CSR coating = system animation. System lives for system inside other systems, like a virus or sumink. It probably all serves a purpose.

Now that the yeast has poisoned itself by gobbling carbs and the dough has risen it's time to heat the oven and transubstantiate.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

People get their floody showers fixed around here courtesy of the Earthquake Commission. You know you could live a step up from a yurt in my concrete cottage with the coal range that happily burns wood wots lying all over the place here - remember to bring your chopper. On the other hand I've just had to replace a pump (there goes my holiday fund)in my aerated sewerage treatment plant. I'm not allowed to have an old-fashioned pump-free septic tank. Beauracracy reigns everywhere.

Clippy Mat said...

hmm, there's a high likelihood that there's a poltergeist in your house and you need an exorcist.
have you noticed any messages coming through the TV's white static?
things turning themselves off and then back on.... classic symptoms. cliff richard?
you're definitely possessed.
;-)

Steve said...

Tranceformer: congratulations. You have completely broken my mind.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden: I always have a chopper about my person. You never know when you might have to deal with some wood.

Clippy Mat: the exhaust fell off the car this morning. I am not joking. I'm never listening to Cliff again.

lunarossa said...

You're in good company, Steve. Shower, toilet, washing machine, iron and mobile phone. That's my list up to now. And I cannot afford to wish all the above for Xmas. I will have to choose and I think I'm pretty sure that this Xmas I won't receive a visit from Sant but from my local plumper (fingers crossed!). Ciao. A.x

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Apart from my disc-space running on empty, I don't seem to have these high-tech woes. My el-cheapo phone is an efficient communication tool (as long as I remember to take it with me) the television works fine except in a storm (still getting used to pixillation and gasping speech instead of static)and we just don't have all those other 'toys.'
But your exhaust falling off - I can relate to that, I think mine is about to follow. All good fodder for a writer eh ;-)

Steve said...

Lunarossa: kind of glad it's not just me (nice to know it isn't personal) but I wouldn't wish an epidemic of technofailure on anyone.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden: yes, that's what I'm trying to tell myself - there could be a novel in this!

It isn't working.

Jenny Woolf said...

Something a bit spooky about you, Steve, although usually it's the electricity which goes funny around *those people* (if you know what I mean). :)

Steve said...

Jenny: the really spooky thing is I hate halloween.

Being Me said...

You do realise Wired For Sound was my daughter's favourite song for a while there last year, don't you? (difference being, I used subliminal methods to make it seep in to her head so she couldn't stop singing it - you were actually wanting to seek it out to hear it.. which is no less sad than what I mischievously did, granted).

I agree with you on this. And for the record, I would quite like to read your posts carved out in stone (don't read anything into the fact that it'd also mean we'd be waiting generations to read just one post, though...)

Steve said...

Being Me: seems I'd better brush up on my cuneiform script... as for Sir Cliff... I like tall speakers, I like small speakers... sheer poetry. And a great ethos when it comes to buying a hifi.