….. or how to overcome the Technology Challenge !
I was born before (eons before!) the 1990s, passed University with honours, and communicate in full sentences with appropriate punctuation: Tell-tale signs that I was pre-destined to be “gadget-ically challenged”. I can easily operate instruments which have knobs labeled “start”, “stop” or “volume”; with some difficulty, I can now press 3 buttons on the key-board simultaneously, with my left hand—Ctrl+Alt+Del; but if I have to choose between 2 icons — say, paint-can Vs paint-brush/ magnifying-glass Vs binoculars— I go berserk!
This is particularly unnerving in plane toilets. If you need to flush the toilet, you need to choose between 3 buttons which have no English sub-titles; and the icons were probably designed by Pablo Picasso. I live in the constant fear that one of them is the “eject seat” button; the honour of being the first Indian to float half-naked in stratosphere does not excite me at all.
Another diabolic instrument is the cell phone. Pundits call it the “great technology leap”: perhaps it is. Yet, I can only see the “great abyss” at the end of the “great leap”. I long for the days when you picked up the phone receiver and got a live human response at the other end, “number please?”
My first lesson about cell phones was: talking is incidental. You need to master at least 11 other things with it—- take photos, shoot videos, send faxes, record conversations, see movies, set up the alarm clock, order food, play the FM Radio, chat, (mailing is passé), measure your heart beat, and publish your suicide note over the Facebook, etc. Never go to a shop and ask “does this phone have clear voice quality?” Such a question would be a moronic revelation of your ignorance. Instead, you must ask questions that make the salesman feel impotent. Examples: “Can this phone survive a fall from Mt. Everest?”; “In the midst of nuclear radiation, can I use this to call sympathetic aliens from Andromeda Galaxy?”; “You say that the dial is made of Gorilla Glass— where are the testimonies from the gorillas?” “Does this make your wife redundant?” and so on. All these are negotiation tactics, and his answers are completely irrelevant. The more you humiliate the salesman, the better would be the final discount. Remember, you actually came to pick up the model already recommended by your 17 year old son: he knows everything and he is all the warranty you need.
The next lesson is: “personalize”. You need to personalize the Ringtone (Phones don’t ring anymore, it’s just a figure of speech, man). The factory set Ringtone was too reminiscent of our bathroom flush and I had to change that. And you need to personalize the Wake-up Alarm noise (it was too alarming). It took me several man(ly) hours to do this. In a bizarre comeuppance, my son had abandoned me —-he said that to learn, I needed to “rough it out” on my own. I could still not figure out the “silent mode”, so for several weeks I completely switched off the power before every official meeting. But I survived!
Disaster struck in the next Board Meeting. Right in the middle of my slide presentation we suddenly had the Royal Marines playing The Light Cavalry Overture— that was my ring tone! Nervously, I groped for the phone in my pocket. The “touch screen” responded immediately. It urged the directors: “Wake up Darlings, Rise and Shine”. Oops, that was the Alarm call. As I pulled the phone out, the camera function kicked in: a powerful flash blinded the Statutory Auditor. I also got a close-up snapshot of the MD’s ear. It might be said truthfully that I had the MD’s ear on occasion. Fortunately, the Chairman saved the day by saying “Gentlemen, may I remind all that we need to stick closer to the agenda of the meeting?”
I have come a long way from that day. I can now WHATSAPP, SKYPE and VIBER to 3 guys in tandem. What I type is absolutely worthless, but hell man, it’s cool! But there is one red icon at the bottom of the screen that I haven’t figured out. Strangely, my son is too old to understand it: he avers that it must be a “security thing”. After a careful examination, I have narrowed down to 3 possibilities:
- It is a secret trigger to an Intercontinental Missile pointing towards Beijing. When the time comes to start World War III, the KGB will let me know.
- It is an icon, when pressed 3 times will sublimate the phone to carbon monoxide in 7 seconds. This is a Korean defence against the Japanese Yakuza.
- It is an “eject” button for the SIM card.
Item #3 is by far the most serious, because I wouldn’t know how to re insert the ejected SIM card ! I am waiting for my neighbour’s grandson to return from school.He is nearly 9,and the only person young enough to offer intelligent advice.