I have always considered myself pretty savvy when it comes to technology. I understand the fundamentals of how computers work and I can function in Microsoft Windows 8 without an issue. I was proud of myself on the day I set up my first Wi-Fi network, although it took me half a day of scratching my head and reading the directions repeatedly, but once I got it up and running my internet hummed along quite nicely.
I’m even capable of hooking up a small entertainment system that includes a DVD player, cable box, gaming system and television without too much trouble. I was able to install, play and thrive in an online computer videogame. My addiction of choice was World of Warcraft, which I played incessantly for over five years. I have since retired from the online realm and have re-engaged in “real life”, as we gamers like to say, because it is infinitely more interesting than the pixelated world created on my computer monitor (see I do know techy words!). Based on these achievements I thought that I was advanced enough in technology to be able to survive in the environment; at least I thought I was until this past weekend when I felt like I was starring in a Star Trek episode exploring where no man (excuse me, woman) has gone before.
Right after Christmas my boyfriend David and I decided to upgrade to a DVR system to record our favorite shows, and TiVo was our service of choice. At first it seemed like it would be very easy to install TiVo and upgrade our system, but boy were we wrong. This “simple project” has since evolved into a living technological monster that lurks in the wires and Wi-Fi system in our electronics; it is the proverbial “ghost in the machine”.
In going through this process I have learned just how much of a technological nincompoop I really am, which trust me is not good for one’s ego. Just in the past week I have learned about N-routers versus G-routers, Z-waves versus broadband, infrastructure networking upgrades, bytes, bits, data, fiber optics, broadband, terabytes, petabytes, yottabytes (yes it’s a word, Google it if you don’t believe me), gigabytes, terabytes, TiVo, Sonos sound systems, calibrating Wi-Fi routers, USB cords, fire wires, parallel ports, upgraded, downgraded, quad cores, Fios, and the holy grail of internet speeds, 75 megabytes per second. I’ve learned so much that my head is ready to explode!
We’ve also had the old standby of screaming in frustration over a pixelating television screen, spending hours and hours on the telephone with customer service trying to “just make the damn thing work,” and cursing streaks that would make a sailor blush! My head is spinning from the technology nightmare that we have entered.
The outcome after all of these efforts is that TiVo does in fact work, but our picture quality is horrible and our Wi-Fi is on par with an asthmatic ninety year old trying to run a marathon. Our Smart phones have become dumb, our Wi-Fi routers now suffer from an acute case of attention deficit disorder (huh, what, you wanted to actually go on the internet now), and our security system has taken an extended coffee break; basically nothing is working right, but at least we have TiVo. Whew!
In my opinion its rather comical how in our technologically advanced world when you try to upgrade one portion of your system, everything else is knocked out of whack. The systems don’t want to play with each other, let alone share, electronics just decide to stop working for no apparent reason, and sometimes I feel like my Droid DNA is just throwing a temper tantrum on par with a three year old. I am now afraid to push any button, let alone the infamous red one, in case I hear an announcement that “this system will self-destruct in 15 seconds”. The bottom line is we are not out of the technological woods yet, but we are hopefully seeing a light at the end of the tunnel; its either that or an approaching blue screen of death!
Throughout this whole endeavor, David has been valiantly fighting the technological monster that is lurking in our house. He has beaten it into submission several times, but it has not yet been vanquished. There is still plenty of reboots, re-configuring and recalibration going on to keep him busy. I’ve pretty much just given up hope that our system will just work, but my honey, being the networking and computer genius that he is, has not yet given up on beating the monster once and for all, that or at least declaring a truce.
The moral of this rant is this: no matter how much we like to consider ourselves as technologically advanced with our smart phones, laptops, z-waves, and what have you, when it comes to actually trying to make these wonders of modern technology work and integrate into our lives, we are no better than primordial man trying to make fire. We like to think that we are the masters of technology, but I think, like in the movie The Matrix, we are slaves to the machines. Ain’t technology grand!