Thursday 23 August 2018

Technophobia 6

Txting is 25 years old. People predicted txt spk would destroy the English language, spelling, literacy… The Germans thought telephones would never catch on and called the directory “The Book of Fools”. (“Radio is here to stay!” Fred Allen US 20s radio star)

Twenty years ago people were puzzled by the idea that one day we would all be trading in information. Now they complain that we are “bombarded with information these days”. They are probably the same people who, in the 80s, called facts “trivia”, and said “Nobody likes a know-all!” Some people need to be bombarded with information.

There was a moment about 30 years ago when it was touch-and-go that men would ever demean themselves to use a keyboard. Some office staffed dragged their feet over the "new technology". But of course they didn’t want to work faster – they might have run out of stuff to do, and somebody would be made redundant.

It's 2018 and...
People are suggesting students shouldn’t be allowed laptops in lectures. For the last time, teach them to touchtype!

People are telling Mary Beard to link her own tweets instead of numbering them.

Deleted every single ‘al’ from the final edit of my little book because I messed up ‘find & replace’. Political becomes politic, also so, really rly & Donald Dond. This is going to take ages to fix. It rly is. (James O'Brien ‏@mrjamesob)

If only someone had told you about temporary files, version control and data recovery techniques. Or even “CTRL + Z”. (@davidjwbailey And search and replace for whole words only – it’s in Advanced Find and Replace. )

Another distinguished academic lamented on Twitter that he had lost "five hours of work" because it wasn't saved. When asked why he hadn't saved it, he explained "It must be this new laptop". Dear professor, name and save your file before you start typing, and then save it every five minutes. Command+S on a Mac, Control+S on a PC. Actually, set up Autosave.

Favourite thing about my job is that nobody else in my department knows how to use a computer, so I get treated like some kind of tech genius because I know where the AutoSum button is in Excel and can search the shared drive for documents. Last week I found my colleague doing a spreadsheet and she was manually adding up 60 rows of numbers using a calculator. (@RopesToInfinity)

Some never quite "got" direct input and typed their copy first on a typewriter, then went round the office trying to find some secretary to input it on the screens (yes, really). (MJ on journalists in the 80s adapting to the “new” technology)

It’s 2018. The Crown Court is fully digital. Why am I still having to decipher police officers’ abysmal handwriting on witness statements? (Max Hardy‏ @maxbarrister)

Isn't technology great? This is what I have to do each month because our FOI software is incapable of calculating 20 working days. (Picture of paper calendar) (@Schopflin)

It is completely unacceptable in 2014 for typing (on Facebook) to behave like the 30-baud dial-up days of 30 years ago. For me, it usually happens when I am trying to type in a status message... 5-10 second lags as I type. It's pretty sad that the workaround is to type a status message into notepad and then cut-paste it to Facebook. (via Google)

Old geezers discover the internet, years after everybody else:
Facebook is helping the left to eat itself: I’ve long suspected that the site is terrible for people’s mental health. (Spectator)

The internet is a powerful engine for increasing income inequality and lowering the level of public discourse. (Jonathan Franzen)

Facebook like an infectious disease, experiencing spike before its decline, say US researchers. (Jan 2014)

A: I will nevah – nevah! – use Facebook.
B: I will nevah – nevah! – use Twitter.
And nevah the twain shall meet.

Facebook users are afraid to join Twitter because they think it will be too techy and difficult, and vice versa.

Non Facebook users are still saying “But FB users all have thousands of friends – who are they? And I don’t want the whole world to see my pictures.”

Non Twitter users say that they won’t join because if they post one tweet, they will immediately get “trolled” – whatever that means.

Andrew Lloyd-Webber: "I never, never tweet, I never...", but he tweeted to say how brilliant Hamilton was.

Twitter is a torrent of vacuous bleating. (Says a non-user.)

Twitter has been around for about 12 years, but it’s well-seen to complain that news stories shouldn’t be about what people say on Twitter, and they definitely shouldn’t be about abuse on Twitter because, well, it’s Twitter and hence rather naff and not quite real.

Middle-class academics are still saying “I don’t do Twitter” instead of “I don’t have a Twitter account”.

But now “everybody” has a smartphone and “everybody” has email on it, they use email like texting. You have to remember which friends will send a vital message via email, Twitter, Facebook, text or Whatsapp.

People have stopped shoving their phones in your face and saying “Look at this funny video!” But your old friends join Facebook but all they do is post political petitions – or unfunny memes about how much better everything was in the olden days. The 80s is now "the olden days", when we were better people without all this technology.

Some people yearn for the olden days when things were “simpler”. Digital technology may be a bit complicated, but it makes life a lot simpler.

As a person in their mid-50s I’ve been pondering recently on just how much technology I’ve had to master in my lifetime, so much of which is now redundant: fax machine, tape cassette, video cassette recorder timer, electric typewriter, word processor and so on. It also struck me that all this was hardware development. Most new tech we have to master is software now, embedded in smart phones that don’t change in their interaction: swipe, touch, etc. The new tech hurdles for us now are how to behave around this stuff. (@MooseAllain)

I've worked with men who couldn't refill a stapler...

I stopped watching TV permanently years ago and refuse to go anywhere near iplayer. 
(via Twitter)

A friend has no photo ID (driving licence, passport), on principle. Says he knows it can’t last, but will “enjoy” it as long as possible.

With all their speed forward automobiles may be a step backward... in spiritual civilization. (Booth Tarkington, The Magnificent Ambersons)

Online facility for listening to music, storing your photos, finding your way has an “upgrade”, losing all the features that made it so useful. Facility says something about "improving the customer experience" while destroying their own product. It also says "It's find, you'll get used to it!" Eventually the lost features are restored one by one.

If you want to "improve the customer experience", do something about this:

To unsubscribe from emails from ebay saved searches, hover on the title of the search. There's nothing on the email itself that lets you unsubscribe. They really, really want to send you emails.

To review a book on Goodreads, you have to rate it first.

At one workplace, the writer of the software manual carefully left out useful information in case we got above ourselves, and spelled it "manuel" throughout.

TFW you discover a software feature that’s been there all the time.

More here, and links to the rest.


  1. At the BBC in the late 1970s, while the rest of us were typing away on typewriters, there was the dinosaur saying 'Time for a little dictation Sylvia!' at which we all groaned because he, with his loud clear public school voice, would insist on dictating his stuff to the group's assistant, using up all her time and annoying the rest of us with the noise.

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