Why can’t things just work?

My lifelong battle with technology of any kind appears to be continuing.

And I am definitely on the losing side of this latest skirmish.

I am one of those people who never expect anything to ‘just work’. And even if it does, I hover around nervously waiting for it to fail. Instruction books are normally about as much use as toilet paper, and the two fail-safes seem to always be ‘Factory Reset’, or ‘Turn it off, then turn it on again’.

After a lifetime of being let down by everything from a mobile phone, to the air-conditioning system in my car, the latest assault troops in technology’s personal war against me are revealed as a recently-purchased PVR, my Kindle Fire Tablet, and the miniature camera delivered just this week.

When I got the camera, it seemed to be working fine. I even discovered (eventually) how to change the German menu language into English.
Keen to try it out, I put it on charge.

The next day, it wouldn’t turn on.
So I plugged in the charging cable, and it worked.
I pulled out the charging cable, and it went black.

It seems that the supplied battery, apparently new in its packet, had not taken any charge at all. This despite the flashing light showing it was charging, then stopping flashing, to let me know it had charged. So I have a camera that works, as long as it is connected to its one-metre charging cable. Short of buying a five-mile long cable to trail behind me on my countryside walks, I seem to have two options. The first is to return it and try to get a refund. That might be tricky, from a German seller who does not trade in my language. Besides, I waited years to get one of these, and they are as rare as hen’s teeth. The next option is to consider that it might be a battery failure, and to buy a brand-new replacement battery online for very little money. So that’s what I have done.

Fingers crossed that the camera actually recognises the new battery when it arrives…

On to more technology, the Amazon Fire tablet. This actually worked pretty well from day one. However, early attempts at reading books on the Kindle App showed pages advancing at will, even when I wasn’t touching the screen. Sometimes, they flew by so fast, they almost got to the end of the book! I was constantly having to restart the books, and then ‘flick-forward’ to where I had been reading. Perhaps I was giving off a lot of ‘electricity’? I had no idea why it was happening. I was just about to consider returning the thing to Amazon, when that glitch stopped, and I enjoyed many months of ‘normal’ Kindle reading. On Wednesday night, the dreaded ‘flick-forward’ started again, happening before my eyes when I was not even actually touching the thing, just holding it by the protective case.

Unable to face the stress of trying to sort it out late at night, I turned off the bedside light and went to sleep.

Last night, I wanted to check the time of a TV programme on the PVR that we use to view and record all our television through. The machine is only six months old, and I have already suffered one compulsory ‘Factory Reset’. When I pressed the button for the Electronic Programme Guide on the remote control, only one channel (out of more than 100 available) was displayed. Naturally, it wasn’t the channel I was interested in. I checked through the instruction book, to find absolutely no mention of any fault like this. As I followed the suggestion that I could alternatively source the channel information via the device’s main menu, the screen went blank.

So that was it. No TV, unable to record anything, and a small black electronic device sitting there sniggering through its metaphorical fingers at me.

I remembered Fail Safe Option Two. The power was disconnected, then reconnected.

After a lot of strange whirring noises and an indicator light flickering on and off, it came back on. With a fully functional programme guide too.

But I know it’s only playing with me…

So, whoever you are, you Gods of Technology, I surrender. My hands are up, the white flag is flying, and I have had enough.
My capitulation is complete. You win, I’m a loser. I admit it. You are the boss, not me.

Now will you please just work?

86 thoughts on “Why can’t things just work?

  1. This is me, through and through. I feel your pain, dread when the remote doesn’t work, and pray I don’t get the WP “anonymous” bug. I hope the new battery for your camera works. Best to you, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually never update anything, John. Maybe that;s why I have so many problems! But in the past, updates have either altered things I liked, or made other things vanish inexplicably. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.


  2. I am sorry to hear, Pete! Just don’t blame me, even if I’m German. 😉
    Seems the built in battery has a malfunction. Will you give me the correct type of the camera? Or can I help you undo the purchase? I will send you an email right away. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂I can’t stop laughing. I really can’t stop laughing. The kindle is flicking because it might be set at interval page changing. About the others, I have no idea. But you made my day. thank you so much. 😂😂😂😂😂😂✌

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Frustrations we share, Pete. I try my best not to engage in technology. My biggest frustrations are not so much equipment breaking but with being on the computer for work and the constant upgrades to Office and the password changes and the being locked out of accounts drives me mad.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I fear this is more common than you suppose all the time software is being out dated just like mobile phones and very soon yours is out of date. It reminds me of the new number plate fiasco on the motor car scene . Is this the rapid advance of technology or planned obsolescence?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Im chuckling at this post, not because I’m nasty, but because It has given me a warm feeling knowing it’s not just me who has these issues, so it must be technology at fault!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I share your frustration – we have devices now that are NOT meant to be worked on my the owner…they are ONLY to be handled by experts…which leaves us completely out in the cold when trying to determine why they choose to freeze up…sorry about your string of frustration Pete!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. (1) The good news is that you can take photos in Dereham! It’s only 3.2 miles away, so that 5-mile-long cable is plenty long enough!
    (2) If you really want to play with Fire, here’s my suggestion. First, don’t stare at it. Twin peeks is all it can tolerate. Then, to keep it from running through the pages, you must say, “Fire, walk with me!”
    (3) I wanted to write a comment about your PVR, but my mind went blank.
    (4) Techno gods for granted.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 1) I have that cable on order! Might be hard to get through the mud by the pig farm though…
      2) A David Lynch pun? You are also on fire!
      3) I still have some old VHS blank tapes. Perhaps I should try those?
      4) I am fast becoming a ‘Technical atheist’.

      Best wishes, Pete. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I feel your pain. There’s nothing more frustrating than gadgets that don’t work properly, especially when they worked fine the day before! When in doubt, reboot, or as I like to say ‘jiggle the handle.’ Most of the time it works. As far as the TV goes, I am lightyears behind everyone else Yes, I have cable that covers most of what I want to watch. But I don’t know how to record programs nor do I care to learn. If I really want to watch something I will, and if I miss it, I’ll wait till it comes around again.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. So sorry to hear about your camera problems, especially when you were so excited about buying it. I have the same sort of techy problems and just assume things will go wrong. I see people sitting on trains working away on their laptops and know if I brought mine it wouldn’t work, wouldn’t connect to the internet and drive me insane. For a couple of days my Kindle as refused to connect to the internet so books I’ve bought wouldn’t dowload. Finally asked Jon. He said: “Oh, it just needs to be told about the Wifi.” Me: “But it has known about the Wifi for years and worked perfectly until now.” Jon: “Give it here.” I hand it over – two minutes later he has sorted it. I download my books and wonder what exactly just happened. I dread having to buy another car – mine still has to be unlocked by inserting the key in the lock – but am greatly cheered by your comment that these automatic things they now do can be turned off.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Most of those car gizmos can still be switched off. Julie switched off the ‘lane-change’ warning on her 2015 car, as it activated every time she overtook anything. But you have to be careful about contravening your warranty by doing so. Read the small print carefully, as it is usually only the ‘safety’ issues that matter..
      I mostly buy Kindle books via my PC. They are delivered automatically to my tablet, even when it is switched off.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My Kindle is very old – one of the first they brought out. I buy on my PC and it says they have been delivered automatically but until I switch on the Kindle and connect to the internet they don’t appear. Jon had a courtesy car the other day and I kept hearing a beeping sound, which was made anytime his wheels crossed the white line. Fortunately, it was only for a day.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. I know exactly what you mean, Pete; I know it’s possibly just ‘an age thing’, but one of my most frequent moans (often at top volume!) is “why doesn’t it just [insert favourite expletive here] work?”; and don’t get me started on built-in obsolescence……… I’ve resolved to try to limit my interaction with new technology as much as possible 😉 Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. As a former ‘techie’ I can assure you that switching off and back on again does actually work in many instances. Often my clients would groan “you always say that Jude”. However technology has advanced since those days and I find it equally frustrating. I got a new phone recently, chosen for me by my son who fortunately is still here and could set it up for me. He also fixed my old, but good laptop. He works in IT and he’s young. Unfortunately he usually lives 6 hours away! As for modern cars I am hoping mine will last until I no longer want to drive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jude. It is good to hear that someone as tech-savvy as you gets confused by phones too. I have hung on to my old one, even though I hate it. I fear that a new one will tip my frustrations over the edge!
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I had a Windows phone and it was never very good, though I don’t use apps much unlike everyone else! With my new phone comes a very good camera, except I struggle to keep the phone steady when taking photos! I can do more on WP with it though which is nice. He also bought me an Echo Dot for my birthday which has caused much amusement. I actually quite like talking to my Alexa! Who’d have thought it!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Haha… so was I Pete! But actually it is very good. I can get ‘her’ to play radio stations or my CDs that I have in iTunes. Create reminders and shopping lists and we have had a few giggles playing some of the trivia quizzes. My son uses his linked to his Amazon account too. That’s a bit too scary for me, I worry about what might get added to the shopping basket!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I have read that they ‘hear’ normal conversation. This has been evidenced by my step-daughter talking about buying a baby car seat, then receiving Amazon suggestions for the very same! I’m keeping clear of all of those ‘assistants’. x

              Liked by 1 person

  13. I had an iPad for all of 5 days and I noticed that it was extremely sensitive. Maybe it had a sensitivity adjustment but the Apple tech didn’t think it did. The screen protector helped a bit but now I don’t care as I’ve traded it in for an Android tablet, something I know much more about. Just the once, I thought I needed to give an Apple product a try. Now I can say “binder dundat, no more!”

    That’s weird about your camera battery. I don’t suppose it’s inserted in wrong? Some of them can go in either way and the little contacts end up on the wrong side. I’m sure you’ve inspected the battery holder for a protective plastic film – some manufacturers do that to prevent the battery from draining.

    Pre-AI technology is coarse and crude, even if it amuses the kids. I spent my life as a Coca Cola tech and when people came to me complaining of losing their money in our “one-arm bandits” I’d empathise with, “Gees, I don’t know why people keep putting their money in these things, I’ve never seen one that works.” When they queried that comment I’d have to explain that as a tech I wasn’t sent to machines that worked! Hence my bias. Would I put money in a vending machine today? Only if I had decided beforehand that l was OK with losing a couple of bucks.

    I’m actually scared of riding in the latest cars and I hope I never have to drive one. I don’t trust them. I was riding in a 2019 Mercedes the other day with a friend. She told me to listen to the engine. When we stopped for a light, the engine automatically turned off and turned itself on again when she let go of the brake and stepped on the accelerator. I asked her, “so what do you do with this thing if the battery dies?” She had no idea and neither did I except to be sure I had a cell phone and a quick dial to a towing service. And then I thought, oh great, what if I’m driving downhill, the thing thinks it’s a stop light and the engine stops? Then it corrects if you cross the center line. Sheesh! What if you were swerving to avoid a rock, or a pedestrian on the street at night?
    Still, computers, tablets, phones are fun to play and work with. If I go on a work trip, say of a week or two, how else could I take my writings, a couple hundred novels, a life time of pictures, thousands of music files, work plans and communicate with the world? I guess we take the bad with the good, or vice-versa, huh?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Sha’Tara.
      It is impossible to see if there is anything inside the battery compartment, as the camera is minuscule, not much bigger than the battery itself. (At least with my eyes, anyway) The instruction book shows only one way of inserting the battery, with the terminals facing you as it goes in. It clicked in, and seemed OK. When the new battery arrives, I will investigate your suggestions further. Maybe ask a child to look into the battery compartment, with the benefit of young eyes. 🙂
      My car is 12 years old, and has no such modern gadgets. If I ever got a new car like the one you mention, I would endeavour to find out how to turn them all off!
      Best wishes, Pete.


      1. Here in BC, Canada, it would be illegal to turn these gadgets off, even if the computerized system allowed it, which it won’t. You couldn’t get insurance if your “approved” system was compromised in any way. Such is the way of it now: full collusion between auto manufacturers, governments and of course, insurance companies. Most people are still convinced that any new technology is better.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well it does enable us to chat about our frustrations online at least! 🙂
          I have a friend with a ‘stop-start’ feature on her car. I told her it could be turned off, and she was greatly relieved once it was.
          Best wishes, Pete.


    2. Yes, a point that no one seems to get “I wasn’t sent to machines that worked! ” Even honest store clerks sometimes gave the wrong change. And both machines and store clerks sometimes gave too much change. I did enjoy and appreciate your comment. Warmest regards, Ed

      Liked by 1 person

  14. understand and feel for you……I have such rotten luck with electronics that Sue makes me sit while she sorts it out…..there is a tree in the yard that has been hit by many items in my frustrations…she has saved me lots of cash….good luck….chuq

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lucky you! I wish my husband had less interest in this stuff so that he would let me stick to the same old phone for the next 10 years. Then I could have time to figure it out properly.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. As for your tab Pete. When you are in the middle of the book, tap it in the center and you will see figures at the upper right hand corner of the screen, from there you can adjust your settings.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 🤣🤣🤣 I deal with these issues on my smartphone. It took me 3 years to figure out my first one properly. Then, it died in my arms one day, unable to charge with ANY available chargers in the market. My husband said it was better to buy a new one than fix an already dead technology… Seriously? 3 years back it was all-new technology. Then he gifted me a new one. I am still trying to figure it out after 2 year. Meanwhile, my husband is on his 4th phone in 5 years! I don’t know how he stays sane.

    Dish TV, I stopped caring about when it declined to show me any channel of my interest in Hindi or English, except the marketing channel. I could, of course, learn other 16 Indian languages, but I found it easier to give up (Cowardice, I know!).

    My office laptop has been an enigma for me too. It keeps asking for security updates and then declines to get them, then every four months, it shuts down, forcing me to visit my office in another city, while I am supposed to be working from home permanently.

    Technology has me groveling on my knees…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Lol–all of this sounds eerily familiar! I, too, have a perfectly functional camera with a battery that refuses to charge. I’d have ordered a new one but this IS the new one! Since the old one also had that problem, I’m now worried that it’s a camera thing and have so far refused to spring for a third battery.

    I do have a suggestion about your Fire tablet, though: it may simply be that the screen needs a thorough clean with a soft towel (and, maybe, a tiny bit of soap). Sometimes dirt or oil from our hands triggers the screen’s sensors. As I live with a dog, cat, and toddler, my tablet (and phone) need frequent scrubbing or they, too, start acting up.

    I hope this helps!

    Liked by 1 person

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