- A 45-Year-Old Scolds Tech Companies!
Geezers don’t despair. Younger people feel it, too!
Photo by Jason Yoder on Unsplash
“Tech is now for all of us, and yet the tech companies keep focusing on the nerds who want fancy gadgets.”
Other than the fact that she starts out by apologizing for sounding like “a grumpy old man” (ageist stereotype)…
I was thrilled to read New York Times tech columnist Shira Ovide’s article, “Tech Forgets About the Needs of the 99%.”
Shira is 45. And in the piece, she quotes a 2019 article by another young guy, 42-year-old Nilay Patel, “Everything’s Too Complicated.”
I’ve been hesitant to admit my own frustrations. But when I’ve allowed myself to let it rip, my contemporaries leave reassuring comments. A different kind of “me-to” movement?
Technology and the Vulnerable
Don’t Kid Yourself — That’s ALL of us!
So it turns out, I was right. It’s isn’t just grumpy old men and frumpy old women.
Technology was supposed to make life easier. Yes, I can sit at my desk and visit libraries and data bases all over the world. I can chat, reserve, buy, and examine just about anything from the comfort of my home. I never have to talk to anyone. (Not that that’s necessarily a good thing…)
And, oh, the hours lost in a day! At least one to figure out why my wireless printer isn’t communicating with my router. Push the red button on your router. What red button? This router doesn’t have one.
An hour later, when I finally give up and call tech support, I’m …you guessed it: Ask to “hold.” A very nice and knowledgeable young man finally answers. He patiently walks me through the rebooting process, but by the time my machine is back on line, I’ve lost interest in what I was trying to print.
My laptop is a mess. I don’t use one quarter of its features. And after all these years using computers, I’m embarrassed to admit, I still lose files because I don’t know which “directory” I’ve used. I did fine with filing cabinets.
And don’t get me started on my phone — or the TV for that matter.
I have occasional moments of triumph. A few weeks ago, I actually “cast” a live performance of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee from YouTube onto my television. I was in Paris, 5000 miles away, watching my 18-year-old grandson in New Jersey as “Barfée,” the boy who spells with his foot.
Don’t ask me to show you how I did it, though. I think it was beginner’s luck.
And while we’re on the subject of programming providers, why is it that each one goes by its own rules? Spectrum in New York City works entirely different from Atlantic Broadband in Miami. Maybe the Parisian companies are better, but how would I know? Everything’s in French.
Shira said it best:
Most people don’t have the time and brain space to care about anything other than the basics of using their phone, computer, television set or other bare necessities and apps. And that’s perfectly OK and normal. What’s not OK is that the biggest and richest companies on the planet often don’t cater to those needs.
I like her idea of technology companies hiring “chief normality officers” to assess whether their products are useful — and needed — for the rest of us. But I’m pretty sure we won’t see that happening anytime soon.
In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to work on figuring out how to become as “smart” as my phone…
- Date of publication:
- Fri, 06/11/2021 - 09:13
Click on the link - it will be copied to clipboard