If you have ever been in over your head with technology…
Among other things, my husband has a degree in Information Technology. After many years, I have figured out they taught him never to intervene if there is someone else foolish enough to try and do the job. So. I am the ‘tech guru’ of our household. I have just finished setting up the latest addition to our family of technology, an Apple TV. Silly me, I believed everything Google said, ‘you just plug it in and follow the instructions on the screen to set it up’. Oh, yes, that ole’ fairy tale.
I’ve had Apple products almost since their inception, so I’m kind of used to them. I stay with them because they integrate so well with each other. I was a freelance artist and an early adopter of desk top publishing and eventually I used the computer for most of my design work as well, so I am not without skills.
Less accomplished are my skills of using a remote. Or three in this case. The Apple TV is a toy, a luxury. I enjoy watching YouTube videos, TED talks and the like, but I don’t like sitting at the computer to watch them. I can also view my 30,000+ digital photo collection on the bigger screen, as well as use other apps from my computer. Also I like movies, and for a modest fee, this will let me subscribe to Netflix. (Shhh, don’t tell the satellite provider) Our TV is seven years old. It is not a totally smart TV. It isn’t stupid but it is no longer the valedictorian of its class.
Our daughter had encouraged me to buy the Apple TV in the first place, assuring me it would augment the smartness factor, and convincing me that I had the tech skills to set it up. Ego being what it is, I believed her too.
First attempt: Early in the morning, fail. I send her a text message.
Me: “No success so far, but I think it is operator error”
Second attempt: A couple of hours later…I sat sympathetically in front of the not so smart TV, three remotes lined up in front of me. I did not feel so smart either. The design of the Apple remote is such that you need to be able to access ‘settings’ on the TV to see if the remote is fully charged and connected. Therein lay the conundrum. I could not advance from the screen after selecting ‘English’ as my language of choice. Nothing would happen. But it didn’t happen in English. At least I’d gotten that far, though how, I wasn’t sure. If I have learned anything over the years it is that going back to basics often fixes a tech problem. Perhaps it would help, I thought, if I tried charging the new remote, just in case it was flat and not working. Apple usually sends things already fully charged, but it was worth a shot.
…charging for a little while.
Text reply to my earlier message, from our daughter, who has owned an Apple TV for 7 years and who lives 1000 miles away:
Daughter: “I would help if I wasn’t so far away”
Me: …contemplating why I let her leave home.
I retrieved the charged (presumably) remote and returned to the task at hand. Wot??? Suddenly appearing on the TV screen, the remote shared with me, it was ‘connected’! Well, thank God for small mercies. Upon a
second third look, I realised I had not noticed the track pad on top of the teeny tiny remote. Oh for Pete’s sake, how did I miss that? Yeah, the same way I missed the most important item on my grocery shopping list, yesterday. (Will give myself a personal flogging later.) Finally, I could advance the screens and set things up. Setup finished, and connected to Wi-Fi, I suddenly had a new problem.
How do I return to the regularly scheduled programming on the satellite service? This was dicey. I had screwed this up in the past and it took ages to sort out. Stakes were high.
Daughter: “Once it is connected you need to select the correct HDMI port”
My reply: “Yes, I know that, but I have no idea how to get that screen up on the TV”
I’ve been in this space before. Being technically challenged is surprisingly stressful, probably up there with childbirth–without the Oxytocin or drugs. Stomach gnaws, angst grows. Which button do I push now? Truthfully, I have no idea what a quarter of the buttons do. And I’m the guru.
(Does not even know which remote she should be using at this point…staring, sweating, considering her options, which bears mentioning, the actual ‘options’ button does nothing discernible. More contemplating… )
Incoming text message from my friend, the Bricklayer, who wants to know if he can come THIS very morning to patch something I spoke to him about two months ago. Really? You want to come in an hour? Trying to complete my task at hand before needing to be at the airport to pick up my husband, whose plane was to arrive early, after which a friend was coming for coffee, was closing in on me. Something in my response must have signalled ‘danger Will Robinson’*. He later replied he would come another day.
Fine. Better. I will apologise later, in case I made him feel unloved. I don’t think I did. He is very intuitive and probably just picked up on a vibe.
Honestly, who needs extreme sports to get the heart rate up?
Basically I was just pressing the same button over and over, hoping for a different outcome. Insanity, I know. BUT, then I noticed on the TV screen, a teeny, tiny icon I had previously overlooked. (more flogging later) OMG, that looks like another icon, where did I see that….desperately scans all three remotes at once. Could it be…THIS other teeny, tiny little button that almost looks like that?
Presto. I have just graduated summa cum laude in ‘remote education’. I am wildly happy. Ridiculously happy. But at 8.30 am, I’m also wondering if it is too early to open the bottle of vodka.
I message our daughter about the victory and the vodka, who replies:
“Call it a Mimosa”**
I text back to her: “How did you get so smart?”
Her reply: “Good genes”
I may be technologically challenged, but I raised a smart and funny young woman.
Things always look easier in hindsight, but keep a bottle of vodka just in case. –ardysez
*”Danger Will Robinson” is an often quoted line from a 1960’s TV series called “Lost in Space”. Will Robinson was the son of a family who was supposedly lost in space on an alien planet. His ‘minder’ was a protective, humourless robot. If Will, who was a bit cheeky, would test the limits of their alien situation, the robot would sound the danger warning. Here is a five second clip 🙂
**A ‘Mimosa’ is a drink often served at fancy brunches, that is half champagne or other fizzy wine, plus orange juice
It is 11am in my part of the country and, after reading your enthralling tale, I feel like opening a bottle of the sparkling stuff and making myself a mimosa! No problems in making or consuming!! After some seven years using a computer I am still the most technologically ‘challenged’ person living rurally in the boondocks in Southern NSW. Many neighbours do not even have a smartphone, never mind a computer. Belong to the Telstra ‘Platinum Service’ of very individualistic techies – none agree one with the other and even my current computer can only be described as a hotchpotch of dozens of ideas . . . have looked at the ads of smart TVs . . . . huh: maybe next year . . . . meanwhile Foxtel and free-to-air manage to fill my available time more than adequately . . . hope you are enjoying the Winter Games . . . .
As you describe it, I guess I’m not the most technologically challenged person in the world, it’s just there is SO much to learn, and just when you think you are making some headway, they have all these new ways of doing things so you have to start again. It is good for the grey matter, though, or at least for head scratching! Thank you Eha.
Forrest is the tech guru here. I am almost completely inept handling any problem with the TV or computer. A super techy engineer friend of ours purchased the software for a program that allows one to design their own format to set up iPad’s or iPhone as a TV remote. He set up both of our iPads – and he designed them for our personal preferences. It’s worked fabulously for years now. But, our friend passed away unexpectedly over the holidays, and now we’re in a bit of a pickle if we make any changes or there needs to be updates. Alas, I am not much of a TV watcher, nor do I listen to much music, so I could do without. But Forrest… he has to have TV. I’m sure we will be spending some money to get everything in order. Apple products are our choice too.
I’m sorry to read that your friend passed away unexpectedly, Lori. I know it sounds as if I must watch a lot of TV but I don’t. It’s just that when I do have time, I want to watch what I want to watch and not what the subscription service wants to provide! Take care and thanks for reading and commenting. xx
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I started reading assuming that your were going to be talking about the issues faced by living in Alice Springs!
I am okay with programmes and software on the computer, but hopeless with the hardware side. Remote controls are like stop watches ~ I always inadvertently press the wrong button.
We have a vaguely smart TV which was okay to set up. The real problem was the DVD player way back when. It was a nightmare, not helped by the Fella and I both thinking we were right, when neither of us was! To save our relationship I rang up a technician to put the right plugs in the right holes. It turned out the diagrams in the manual were wrong!
I knew when I wrote that headline, which was about the third iteration, that someone would think I was writing about where we live…must do that one day. Yes, it is just as well that Don leaves the tech stuff for me to figure out instead of both of us trying to do it. We each have our own way of doing things. Just today he asked me for the third or fourth time how to ‘zero’ the kitchen timer which we have had for several years 🙂
Good for you in being so persistent- remote controls are my kryptonite!
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From the sound of most of these comments, you are not alone Donna! xx
A toast to you Ardys. Installing things is not my forte at all and I can relate to your anxiety along the way. Keep that bottle handy.
Once our gadgets are fully installed, I become the guru on dialy use, and have an intuitive approach to fixing things which I trust. Manuals and I do not like each other at all.
I don’t know what I ever did without my smart TV and since its arrival some years ago, I can count on one hand how often I’ve watched normal TV- the tennis, maybe ABC news and the 7.30 report and that’s about it.
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Thanks Francesca. Yes, my purpose of this exercise is to be able to watch the things I’m interested in, at a time that is convenient to me. Recording things is fine to a point. We are astounded at how many channels there are and how little programming seems worthy of our attention.
I hear you Ardys. I am the ‘tech guru’ in my household too. Not necessarily because I am any more gifted than the G.O. but because I’m marginally more patient which is not very patient at all. And although he is reasonably capable technologically he does not use it regularly enough to build up the muscle memory I possess. We haven’t yet invested in a smart tv but we because we are classed as a remote location in free-to-air TV terms we have a Vast box & satellite as I imagine you do too as we see a lot of advertisements for Alice. I got the G.O.’s cousin who is a professional TV antenna-dish installer out to connect the Vast but I do everything else techy related to tv, phones and computers. We have Telstra TV and Netflix now as well as an old fashioned dvd player… and 4 remotes, so I have an additional domestic goddess gig as the entertainment director, informed about shows we might want to watch, locating them, saving them to wish/lists and so on. Sigh. There is no dollar remuneration attached to any of these roles. We do it for love! I’ll have a Mimosa, hold the OJ.
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You are very good company to be with, Dale. I don’t do orange juice either, so we can Mimosa together! Yesterday, Don received his new iPad. He had to set it up exactly when I was trying to put together dinner. At one point when I was helping him I looked at him and said ‘You know if anything happens to me you will be f—–d with technology around here’ And he immediately replied ‘Oh, I know!’. No pay, just some satisfaction to know I’m at least a little bit indispensable!
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