Monday, 18 July 2011

Technology and me

My morning seems to have been dominated by technology and my attempts to get it to do what I want it to do.

The first thing was the new cordless doorbell. It was supposed to be simple to install. The bell plugged into a normal electric socket and needed no battery ... a definite plus as far as I was concerned. I tested it ... and it worked fine ... until someone rang it for real ... and then it kept ringing ... not once but several times.

The whole thing came without any instructions, but a trawl through the Internet produced a result; this problem sometimes happens when the bell button sticks. So off came the bell button cover ... which revealed absolutely nothing that would cause the button to stick ... and since then it has worked without a problem. I wish I could say the same for my dealings with my telephone company!

I have a business 'phone line which was very useful when I started my business over ten years ago, but since then most of my customers have moved over to telephoning my mobile 'phone, sending me texts, or sending emails. The line is almost unused, so I decided to get rid of it. This involved 'interacting' with the multiple choice telephone system that my 'phone company seems to employ to 'help'/'annoy' (Delete as appropriate) its customers. Eventually, after nearly twenty minutes 'holding on' and listening to interminable music and announcements, I actually spoke to a real person, and they put a 'termination' in place that will come into force once the thirty days notice period has elapsed.

I then wanted to discuss enabling the Voicemail option on my home 'phone line, which is provided by the same telephone company ... but the young lady was unable to help me as she only dealt with business customers. She tried to transfer my call to the right department ... but I was again put on 'hold', this time for over thirty minutes!

When I finally spoke to someone, they had considerable problems understanding what I was asking them to do. The young lady at the call centre kept telling me that my business 'phone line was the only one registered to my address. I explained that it was not, but she adamant that it was. She finally put me through to her Supervisor, who did understand what I was saying, but who repeated the same story about there only being one 'phone line registered at that address. When I finally persuaded her to look up my name and address as a private and not a business customer, she found that I did have an account with them and a second 'phone line. I actually got an apology for the confusion, and an assurance that my Voicemail will be activated within 24 hours.

Having wasted nearly two hours sorting out the doorbell and the 'phones, I moved on to my wife's HP InkJet colour printer, which has been giving her all sorts of error messages about the ink cartridges. I tried all the 'cures' suggested in the user's guide that is supplied manufacturer ... but nothing worked. In the end I switched it off, went and had a drink, came back and switched it on again ... and it now seems to be working.

I will ask my wife to test her printer when she gets home ... and if it still doesn't work it will be going in the rubbish bin tomorrow and I will buy a new one.

Technology and me ... I've got it taped!

18 comments:

  1. Hmm. Bang goes your appointment as my IT Consultant!

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  2. Hi Bob,

    Your experiences with user hostile technology sounded disturbingly familiar!

    Over the course of many frustrating encounters, I have discovered that there are no tech problems that cannot be resolved by using a Twelve Pound Sledgehammer to "break through" to a resolution.

    Now...if I can just figure out which one is the "any key"!

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  3. Tim Gow,

    You mean that you were willing to pay money for me to ask you "Have you tried turning II on and off again?"

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Martin,

    I suppose that it is unfair to put all the blame on the technology I was 'interfacing' with today, as most of the problems i had were trying to get to speak to people to get them to do something for me.

    So you like to use the 'intervention-lite' option? Have you tried using a heavier sledgehammer for faster results?

    All the best,

    Bob

    PS. The 'any key' is just above the 'undelete the mistake I just made' key.

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  5. Are you SURE you want voicemail at the moment? ;)

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  6. I can see the headline now:

    "More changes to OUR Portable Wargame - Changes make the Native Units stronger - It is political correctness gone mad"

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  7. Il Cattivo,

    I thought that I was missing out by not having Voicemail that could be hacked!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Tim Gow,

    Unfortunately my invoice is already in the post!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Il Cattivo,

    My God! I HAVE been hacked ... and my Voicemail isn't even active yet!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Bob

    If its any consolation, it took me an entire 5 hour drive to work out that the interesting random mix that my Ipod was selecting was actually the "all songs" selection played alphabetically by song title.

    PD

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  11. Peter Douglas,

    Thanks to the potholes in so many of London's streets, the iPod function on my iPhone often plays random tracks when I have not asked it to! Every time the car shakes when it hits a pothole, the tracks automatically go on 'shuffle'!

    I think I would prefer your problem to mine.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. I loved the South African Post Office which left a pamphlet with a number to call when the telephone was not working..

    Wish we had kept it.

    Regards

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  13. Talking about printers, I've got a Dell V105 for which the inks are expensive. It's actually cheaper to buy another identical printer and use the cartridges from that, especially seeing as my local shop has them on offer at the moment!

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  14. Arthur,

    Our local council did something equally nonsensical; they put signs on each street light with a phone number to call to report that the street light was not working!

    And people get paid to come up with these ideas?

    All the bet,

    Bob

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  15. Jfidz,

    I have had a similar experience.

    I bought a laser printer earlier this year because the new printer and a spare toner cartridge were cheaper than a new toner cartridge for my existing laser printer!

    This just does not make sense to me but ...

    All the best,

    Bob

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  16. Bob

    Re the Ipod, there's asetting called Shake to Shuffle that you can turn off to avoid the skips (I've had the same problem in the past).

    PD

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  17. Peter Douglas,

    Thanks for the information.

    I will try to find out if the iPhone has a similar method to turn off the 'shuffle' feature.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete