Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Blind Date

My new iPad mini lounged on the counter with its little snap-on hat, but didn't do anything. I sauntered by it a time or two with a breezy insouciance. We were like to victims of a blind date, eyeing each other in the coffee shop, and I had the uncomfortable feeling that my iPad was beginning to regret coming. This is stupid, I thought. I marched over to the counter and snapped off its hat. So, what's your sign?

My confidence was all bluff. Under the hat, I suspected, was a new form of IQ test in tablet form, and as usual I would crap out on the spatial-design section and gain a little back on the spelling part and wait in vain for an essay portion to pop up, and when the results came back I wasn't going to like them. I was not eager to get to know my new friend. Well, let's see, I thought. Let's start with the little notepad thingy. I can type something on that, maybe. A keyboard popped up at the bottom of the page. I decided to get the feel of it; I'm a good typist. THE QUICK BROWN FOC JUMPRF OBRT YHR LSXY FOH.

Shit.

Okay, this was strictly a hunt-and-peck operation. I folded it up neatly and tried to figure out how to navigate over to the internet. How do you make the page go away? There were no buttons. I finally gave up and pushed what I thought was the off button, and my home page with all the little icons popped up. Oh! I hit the browser button, and introduced my Device to my personal facebook page. I figured they'd have to learn to get along sooner or later. Then I traveled over to Murrmurrs and set up a button for it. Excellent! Can I respond to comments on this thing? I selected a comment and hit "reply." A window appeared, all ready for me to put something clever in it. But this time there was no keyboard. I turned the thing right and left and upside down and couldn't find a magic keyboard button. I leaned on the machine in despair and up popped a keyboard. Whoa! What had I done? Could I do it again?

That's how evolution works. You're some bird like every other bird you know, only your beak is
screwy. Basically, you're deformed. Your upper mandible tweaks right, and your lower mandible tweaks left. Depressed, you do what anyone would do to make yourself feel better--you overeat. And halfway through your first pine cone, you discover that your weird bill is superior for extracting seeds from a pine cone. You eventually die a very fat bird, but not before sending your magnificent mutation to the next generation of crossbills.

So I have done something entirely by accident, meaning merely to shut the machine down and let it think about what it's done, and lo--the keyboard appears. I have no idea how I did this, but I will start swiping at things and poking at things until it happens again, and this time I will be paying attention.

Okay, that has nothing to do with evolution. I am not a crossbill. I did not independently come up with a good idea. I am a research parakeet in a psychology lab, pecking at everything in sight until a pellet of food drops out, and even when it does, it's going to take a few more times before I put it together.

Meanwhile, I have switched back to facebook because it had been a whole ten minutes since I checked on my friends, and I don't like to be thought of as neglectful, and when I go back to Murrmurrs, I find I can't summon the keyboard again. I scratch at the screen. I delicately trace my fingertip at points around the margins. I hold my finger down for a second and a bubble appears, but I don't know why. I am about to give up when I remember something I was shown in the Mac store when I wasn't paying attention.

Siri? I say to the machine. Nothing. I put my lips closer to the screen. Siri? Nothing.

It's okay. I don't know what I'd say to her anyway. You like to make a good first impression. You don't want to call a girl up and say right off could you make my keyboard pop up? She might get the wrong idea. Or, like the fellow at the Mac store, she might have no idea where to start with me. Siri? Make it go. It's pitiful.

Maybe Siri is busy with all the other Devices out there. Maybe if everyone wants to talk with Siri at once, they have to take a number. Although Santa Claus manages it.

It's probably not a good idea to get into a habit with her anyway. Supposedly if I can get this Device to work for me, it will communicate with all my other Devices. I don't have that many other Devices, but I'm not sure I want them talking about me behind my back. This could set them all on the road to mutiny.

But look! Right there in the Settings page! It says Personal Hot Spot. I turned that on right away.

Sometimes things aren't as much fun as you think they're going to be.

65 comments:

  1. I'm technologically challenged (ie: dumb) so when I get a new electronic anything I don't bring it home straight away. I take it to my daughter's house and introduce it to her. she's a whizz. Plays with it for 5 minutes, understands it inside out and proceeds to show me how it works. Then she repeats the steps at a pace I can understand while I write step by step notes. Then I take it home and follow my own copious notes until I know what I'm doing. I'm a lot faster at understanding K's instructions now and much less afraid to try pushing buttons on my own.

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    1. You know, I still don't really know how to operate the remote control on the TV.

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    2. But...but...each button is labelled with its use....

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    3. There are the buttons...there are the functions...there is the brain...and there are not always connections being made. I'm just sayin'. You are welcome to move into my house and be in charge of buttons.

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  2. I suspect you did not write this post on your i-pad... Best of luck to you!

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    1. You know, though, I think I got NOTES for this post on the Notepad. Yup.

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  3. Hey Murr! I borrowed my brother's iPhone to do something simple the other day, and ended up giving him it back angrily. "It's not remotely intuitive," I grumble. "Of course it is, you're just not trying correctly," he says. Sorry Apple, you lose. And yes, they do talk about you; did you not disable that option? Indigo x

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    1. I hate the thought of disabling anything of mine. I'd have to build tiny ramps all over the house

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  4. You scare me! I am sauntering over to my local Apple store this week to buy - gulp - an iPad. When I have trouble doing anything on it I will contact you for advice, or maybe just commiserate over my incompetence.

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    1. You do that. I can give you all my advice in about a minute. Because I'm that good!

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  5. I downloaded the iPad manual from Apple and the even better independent one called "The Missing Manual." I'll be needing them soon because I'm getting a new one and will need to know how to put all my apps on the new one. Apps--the real secret of iPad happiness!

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    1. I suppose what I should do is shop around for apps. I downloaded the star map right away and that was it. And I haven't used it yet. Bird songs? That might be nice.

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  6. Wish I could help, but I don't know how to do any of the things you're talking about either, except maybe the pine cone part (so I guess I'm a very mutated bird). River in comment #1 has the right idea, though. If you don't understand something technological, ask a young person. They're born knowing that stuff these days. Talk about a useful mutation!

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    1. That's why we bought the house next door. As a rental. We stock it with young people.

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    2. That is brilliant, Murr. We currently have young ones next door, but we don't own their house. No guarantees that we will always have young ones there.

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    3. Yeah. On the rental application we have nothing about income, but a line asking about computer skills.

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  7. I said, "sure, why not" when prompted and downloaded the new ios7 for my ancient baby. Result: had to learn a whole new set of tricks. I do like the double-tap and swipe up to close open apps better than the old way, which made absolutely no sense at all.

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    1. "I do like the double-tap and swipe up to close open"

      Somehow I'm getting square dance music in my head.

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  8. Once again you have captured it all for us with humor and wit. My visiting company (Octogenarians) came with their new IPODs and it was kind of funny watching them learn to use them...until one of them said, "You know you can send text to your Kindle by sending it to you Kindle email, etc." I am afraid to try it!

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    1. Man. I'm pretty sure my Kindle doesn't do any of that stuff. At least not when I'm around.

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  9. I am the same with any new device. This is a very funny post. Loved the bird learning/evolution thing!

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    1. Strictly a lab parakeet, here. OH! Have you been watching that PBS Earthflight series? Fantastic. They just showed a huge herd of bright green parakeets doing a Murmuration just like starlings. Only GREEN!

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    2. That Earthflight series was on our TVs earlier this year. That parakeet/budgerigar flight was amazing to watch.

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    3. Budgies, budgerigars, yes! My only childhood pet was a green parakeet. Duffy.

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  10. Yep...I meant to type IPADs...see what a techno whiz I am?

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    1. You know? I'm tired of things starting with e or i.

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  11. "Sometimes things aren't as much fun as you think they're going to be." Ain't that the truth! But it is my ambition to die a fat bird. I figure I'm half-way there - I'm pretty sure I've got the "mutation" part down.

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    1. Bottom half or top half? I'm mixing it up, myself.

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    2. Good choice. I knew I could count on you for guidance.

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    3. Uhh, Murr? Make sure you turn that personal hot spot back off. I have heard it can be an expensive.

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    4. If you're asking me to get my personal hot spot off, I'm way ahead of you.

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  12. Hilarious! I love my iPad, except for the fact that it simply won't let me access my Google Calendar. For that, I have to switch to my Android phone. But the problem with the phone is that when I replaced the old one and downloaded my "contact list", it did it three times. So now I have about 2,700 contacts in my phone. And my Young Person with Tech Knowledge has upped and moved to Korea for a year. So when I get really stuck, really embarrassed, I have to schedule a Skype call with him, because there is a 13-hr time difference. When is life gonna get easier?

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    1. Isn't it okay to have 2700 contacts in your phone? That way you know you're more popular than anyone else. Or are they crowding up in there and jamming up the works?

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  13. Hilarious! A winner, with five snorts!

    I'm doing well to keep up with a computer, period. No smart phone, no ipad, no kindle or nook, no nuthin' else. One of these days the whole dang thing is going to fail (I don't know exactly what "thing" I'm referring to, but) and people are going to have to add and write on paper again, and then I'll be in my element.

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    1. Oh man, not me. I can't read my handwriting for shit. I still use a reg'lar hang-on-the-wall calendar and write stuff on it. Then I look at it, and I know there's something I'm supposed to do today, but I don't know what.

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  14. I am starting to believe that jenny_o and I are sisters. I have an iphone (it was given to me), and it still scares and torments me. The computer keeps me on my wobbly toes. And your posts keep me snorting.

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    1. For sure, any new device should be moisture-resistant.

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  15. I hate anything that doesn't come with a manual - and a spell checker.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. Spell check is constantly discorrecting me.

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  16. I felt bad reading the comments on your last post. Again, I found out I was stupid for buying my Kindle, because the iPad could actually go online and my . . . . wait. . . . what? Oh! They were talking about the KINDLE READER.

    heheh. I have the KINDLE FIRE HD. Which is better because it has more initials! And it CAN go on the internet!

    Now I do need to know what the difference is because I'm a masochist and need to feel inferior.

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    1. Not a clue here, hon. I have the black and white Kindle with books on it. I do like it. If it does more than that, it's overachieving.

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  17. Just wait until the next ice storm when the lines go down, the power goes off, and the only way we will be able to entertain ourselves is reading by candlelight, or procreating. What wil all you tech-savy people do then?

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    1. It would take a remarkably tech-savvy person to get me to procreate, unless you just mean the practicing part.

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  18. It's not just iPads. I spent the day with a 5-year-old, 3 TV remotes, a Wii gamepad, nunchucks (don't you love that word?), and a few other devices. I was mystified and lost, and at one point I'm sure I heard him say, "Jeez, Louise." He has an iPad mini, too, and understands it completely. The child can't read yet, and that doesn't seem to be an impediment.

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    1. They're all whizzes. I still think I can out-write 'em. I'm holding onto that.

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  19. My 83 year old mother has a tablet. I don't. I am still learning about this laptop thing. She's loving Kindle. I still read the paper books. She "checks in" on her FB account, but from her assisted living room-she is not where she claims to be. I don't even know how to check in (well, technically, neither does she because she can't tell anyone how she did a "check in"). I'm feeling pretty savvy though. I did get Netflix downloaded to the laptop.

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    1. That sounds useful. We still walk around the corner to the store and get DVDs to stick in our machine. However, I always have plenty of swearing time trying to locate the correct episode on them using one of my many remote controls.

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    2. There is an "episode selection" option usually right next to the "play" option. On your screen. Click the right facing arrow on your remote to get to that option, then just down click through to the episode you want.

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    3. Yeah, well on mine I pressed the right facing arrow till hell wouldn't have it, and nothing. I am the Queen of pressing buttons hard.

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    4. Oops, after the right facing arrow you have to press the OK button for the episode menu to come up. Well, that's what my remote does anyway.

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    5. I can get the episode menu and then nothing happens. Really, it's been a challenge navigating every time. Sometimes I have to start all over and speed through the episodes I've already seen to get to the next one.

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    6. In the episode menu usually the first episode in the list is highlighted. if you wish to see that one then click OK. If you wish to see the next one click down or across depending on how they are listed, the next one should highlight, click OK to watch it and so on. If the one you want to see is not on that page click down to "home" then across to an arrow or "next and page two of episodes should appear, follow highlight and OK instructions again to work through the list. when the one you want is highlighted, either number, or title or a coloured square around the picture, click OK to watch it

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  20. Roxie... having just survived a 3 day blizzard, including 55 hours with no power, I must say my kindles kept me reading happily. The old plain one was great during the daylight hours (isn't that always the way) and once it got to dark to read on the classic, I turned on the fire and read the night away. No worries. Well the fact that we didn't have water either was worrisome.

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    1. OK, I AM impressed! And wow, major bummer about that blizzard! You might want to stock up on bottled water. This could be a LOOONG winter!

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  21. Thank the stars you didn't need to procreate! Oh, no offense.

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  22. indeed. The dogs would have been most offended had I done so.

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  23. Oh, I loved this post! It's definitely one of my all-time favourites. I have a new Android tablet and I'm in love. Except, if I type, or write using the electronic pen, it records a capital letter at the beginning of every word. E.g. It Is Driving Me Crazy. There must be a solution and I shall be as embarrassed as hell when it is found to be a simple push, pinch, tap, tap/hold or swipe. Still, you and I will be so proud of ourselves when we work out what's what on our tablets. Big smiles.

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    1. There's an electronic pen? I still won't be able to read my handwriting. That capital letter thing would drive me crazy too. I'm just not that emphatic all the time.

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  24. You've basically described why me and my Kindle don't get along. Sad, iddin it?

    Pearl

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    1. I kind of think our devices are sad they got stuck with us. Like the new puppy that gets an owner who is too old to play.

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  25. When I was visiting my daughter and her family this week, my five-year old granddaughter discovered Siri quite by accident. Thus began a long and torturous (for Siri) relationship. Did you know that Siri tells jokes, discusses knock-knock jokes, and tells you that the woodchuck might like questions other than those asking about chucking wood?

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    1. So far I've gotten her to divulge the weather. Which saved me from having to glance out the window.

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  26. I like my iPad. It's especially handy as an ereader and it's nice to have when I'm in a situation where I'm reading somewhere. Plus, in addition to web access. FB and emails, I can text from it to other folks who have iPhones. I also like that it communicates with my other Apple products - my desktop, laptop and phone. So handy. I'm a convert.

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    1. Oh dear, I just realized that I don't have my email set up right. I can get them but I can't send them. I haven't fixed it yet because I haven't needed to send anything on it, but I really should figure this out.

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