Tech glitches and Coronavirus matters double our annoyance


I often joke that programmers and others in the tech sector must be abusing various substances because no matter how careful we are, the tech demons will consistently sabotage our very best efforts. I think tech glitches are even more annoying during this Coronavirus period. Why?

Photo of cell phone
Photo by Indie Art South

For one thing I am absolutely numbed by all those “We are with you” messages everybody from creditors to politicians to healthcare facilities are sending out. All I can say is, no, you are not with me, not in any sense other than we’re humans and we’re impacted on different levels by this bizarre illness. I open my email or check my bank account, there it is. “We’re with you!”

Give it a rest, marketing/branding people. Just give it a rest.

I find I am more annoyed than ever by websites that start videos as soon as you hit a page. I get that media sites need revenue and they’re desperate for people to see their ads. Let’s face it. Newspapers and magazines were extremely shortsighted to go for a setup like revenue based on clicks anyway. Most newspapers and magazines have unfortunately dug themselves into holes it will be hard to escape from. But I never watch the ad if it auto-starts despite my setting on my stupid Droid being set at no-autoplay. Go figure.

Then there’s the email. Lord help us. I get email from companies I do business with (Publix and others like you, I’m good with those occasional $5 off coupons!), but I also get emails from companies who do business with the companies I do business with. Political emails? Both sides of the aisle love me when it comes to asking for donations. At least 75 percent of the emails I get on one account (I have three total) are immediately deleted.

Now on to our ‘smart’ TV. It doesn’t happen that often, but on occasion we oldtimers are so frustrated we have to get Rebecca our geeky daughter to troubleshoot it. This is very important, because when my husband can’t connect with Netflix, it’s almost like entertainment has divorced him.

Personally I don’t care if that TV works or not because as I’ve often said, I’d rather read almost anything than watch TV. I admit I do like some documentaries, some specialty programs and content, and I do like music though.

I’ve been watching a lot of Facebook Live lately, and not just because my daughters are doing it but because it’s different and most of the people doing Facebook Live aren’t preaching to me about social issues or Coronavirus comfort.

Speaking of Facebook Live, where would indie musicians be without it? Despite that service during these trying times, Rebecca had a heckuva time this week trying to boost one of her shows. She spent much time over the holiday weekend dealing with folks Facebook hired to take care of such matters, but in this instance, such matters did not get taken care of. When she tries to get the post boosted (at Facebook’s suggestion to ‘Boost this post’ [lol]), it glitches and sends back a message about permissions.

Rebecca and Jen have their own music catalog, so I’m not sure what “permissions” the Facebook powers are talking about. No one on Facebook seems able to figure it out. I’m wondering if the fact she had some fun speaking Russian had something to do with the glitch, but that’s anyone’s guess. As an aside, Rebecca enjoys studying languages and histories, and the Russia motif was part of the fun for Jen’s costume birthday party consisting of two people—Jen and Rebecca doing Facebook Live.

I don’t know how many hours of my life have been devoted to working on glitches with technology. One memorable occasion had me teaching a techie with our Internet provider how to fix a glitch that caused your program to whimsically switch languages on you. You didn’t have to touch anything, and your movie would go from “How are you?” to “Cómo está usted?”

I spent hours on the phone with customer service and got nowhere. So when this happened one time too many, I decided to either fix it or just junk the service. I went to the menu and started clicking on anything and everything. I decided to see what was in the ‘Setup’ folder. I clicked  on that and saw ‘Audio Setup’. So my ‘Default Audio Track’ was set to Spanish. Clicking on that line didn’t fix it. So I dropped down to the next line—‘Descriptive Video Service’. When I clicked that line to ‘Off’, caramba! The ‘Default Audio Track’ switched back to English.

Is that crazy or what?

My fix even impressed the techie who was supposed to fix the glitch.

I could probably write a book about tech glitches and fixes. Most folks I know get very annoyed when a practical solution doesn’t fit what appears to be a simple problem. I think it’s worse during this Coronavirus period because many of us are already on edge, trying to figure out what’s true, what’s not, and whether there’s a single official on Planet Earth we can trust.

I have discovered, however, there is a simple fix for an annoying problem that, regardless of what you do, refuses to resolve.

Warning: this fix only applies to inanimate objects.

I’d bought a printer, a nice one, and the only way it would work was wireless. It would not work if you connected it directly to the computer. It didn’t matter that your computer and the printer manufacturer deemed the devices compatible. The blasted thing chose when it would bestow a printed document on you. One afternoon I found it necessary to print something for a project, and no matter what I did, that printer refused to do its job. I’d paid a nice sum for it (I wanted a good one).

Instead of my usual rant, I calmly disconnected the cables, picked that sucker up, walked out to the pool deck, and in an act worthy of an Olympic discus thrower, hurled that printer across the lawn. When my husband came home that afternoon, he asked what that was on the lawn.

“Mama’s printer,” Rebecca said.

He chuckled, said, “okay”, and headed to the bedroom to change his clothes for a workout.

Maybe my solution for that device was primitive, but it was a blessing to get that technologically infuriating monster out of my life. Wish we could do the same with this bizarre virus wrapping itself around the globe.

(Kay B. Day/May 27, 2020)

Derelict by Rebecca Day
Image of ‘Derelict’ book cover courtesy of author.

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