In the dark ages when it comes to new tech

‘I FEEL I was born in the dark ages’, my mother-in-law always says, mainly referring to the complexities of modern technology like computers, Skype, Facebook and anything in that vein.

And I would tend to agree with her.  Poignantly, because I have just spent the best part of a day trying to download some software so that I can connect my laptop to a printer and print boarding passes for an airline that fines you heavily if you forget to do so. Alas, to no avail. The printer is sitting stubbornly silent in the corner while my computer merrily informs me that the job has been completed. 

Now, I should at this point add that I have a total of four printers, collected over the years. One only works as a fax, another only works in Japan and another still has cartridges unavailable in Spain. My blood is boiling.

They say that information technology is not rocket science, and they may be right, but at this moment in time the darn printer, along with the laptop for good measure, risk being rocketed out of the window. IT ‘balconing’ if you will.

It is not only these devices that send me into a tail spin on a regular basis. My mobile has the same effect, often cutting out at a pivotal moment in the conversation due to sudden loss of reception.

The phone company shrugs its shoulders and confirm that reception is particularly poor in the area, yet there is no discount for the lack of service.

At times, I have considered messenger pigeons or smoke signals as a more reliable alternative. Postal services were not included in the realms of possible substitutes since mail often takes weeks to reach or leave these fair southern shores. 

For expats, there is clearly a lot of benefit in both Skype and social networks such as Facebook, not least since they avoid hefty phone bills on the few occasions coverage is available.

But with the video conferencing aspects of Skype, you can no longer chat away looking dishevelled or while cooking, watching TV or filing your nails, which means you have to do these things another time. Thus you are not in any way saving time and energy as the industry boasts.

As for Facebook, studies have shown that it can bring about depressive tendencies if your own life doesn’t compare with that of your ‘friends’ who seem to travel incessantly, eat out at fine restaurants morning, noon and night and have a gazillion Facebook friends who ‘like’ their every movement, even if just popping down to the shops.

In fact, how these busy people have time to update their status and post all those photos is a wonder. Perhaps they have a personal secretary dedicated to the task?

Instead of un-complicating your life, technology seems to have quite the opposite effect. Even cars are so computerised these days that an Electro Magnetic Pulse device would gridlock us all.

And spare a thought for the Belgian lady, who blindly trusted the Satellite Navigation device in her car when driving to collect a friend from a railway station some 38 miles away, even when she passed several national borders and ended a 900 mile-journey in Croatia two days later. 

As for me, the reason I need that boarding pass in the first place is to fly to Madrid to renew my passport, which has to be done in person for the technological reason of biometric photographs.

I half suspect the machine will decide that I am not myself and reject the application. Next week, I will share my top tips for a day out in the capital, assuming I have managed to tame the uncooperative printer, of course. 

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