Technical I am not

I can bake a pretty good fruit cake, make yummy shortbread biscuits, cook a tasty chicken sate, but technical I am not. I was spoiled as my late husband did all the technical stuff for me. He was a gadgets man and could programme. I couldn’t even change a print cartridge, far less do a print test so when he was sick and dying and since, I have had to learn the hard way.

I learned how to do a print test with my photo printer, but that followed my husband to another place, so I now have two new printers.  I will face into how to do a print test on them when I absolutely have to.

January was a month of things not working, including myself, and as the month progressed the amount of things not working seemed to increase daily.

In a health kick last year, which failed miserably, I bought a very expensive juicer. Son put it together and I filed the instruction manual away so safely I couldn’t find it.   So it has remained decorating the kitchen work surface idly gathering dust since last June.

A flood whilst I was abroad (don’t ask) necessitated the purchase of a dehumidifier and I filed the instruction booklet for that as safely as I file all instruction booklets.

The dehumidifier suddenly didn’t work properly and I remembered I had read that it had a filter which needed cleaned from time to time.

It was whilst searching for the dehumidifier instruction booklet that the juicer instruction booklet came to light.

Everyone tells me they either gave up on juicing or gave their juicer away because of the trouble cleaning it.  I juiced merrily away – forgetting for the moment about the dehumidifier filter that needed cleaned in the excitement of juicing every bit of fruit I had in the house.  Missing from the juicer instruction booklet was the detail of how to clean the machine.  I tried to dismantle it myself with no success.  Asked for help on FB and a friend suggested googling for an answer.  This worked really well as I discovered a youtube video which showed that cleaning the machine was merely flushing it through with water.  I hastily re-assembled the pieces I had managed to dismantle from the machine and with jugs of water the juicer was soon cleaned.

I returned to the mystery of the filter on the dehumidifier.  My problem was that I couldn’t work out how to remove the filter from the machine – no flushing through this time – but a couple of days spent intermittently pulling and tugging. I finally found the correct angle and the filter was duly cleaned and replaced.  I was euphoric with two successes in two days, but just as one door opens another closes.

Suddenly I couldn’t receive phone calls or return missed calls on my mobile whilst at home. After three visits to the local vodafone shop to check out my phone I was sent home to check out my vodafone sure signal box.  A word of advice before you make a call to help desks is to have the product number with you.  I had to climb on a stepladder to get the number I needed on the sure signal box, but eventually, with the help of a very patient young woman, my phone is up and running with five bars again.

The broadband failed last week – at least the connection dropped to snail’s pace and it is usually excellent.  I have great support from Rapid Broadband and very quickly one of their patient engineers sorted me out with a new router box and connected almost everything up again.

My Acer computer was struck by lightning when I was abroad last year – this was at a different time from the time a radiator sprung a leak.  Well the pinhole leak had been dripping perfectly for some months the plumber reported.  It was only when someone walked over the saturated rug in the sitting room that the problem was discovered.

Back to the Acer, when I was abroad visiting family.   That also followed the path trodden previously by my husband and the photo printer.  The Acer was his after all but it was not being returned in the condition I had inherited it.   The new Brother printer had been connected to the Acer but the printer was at least salvaged and works now through wireless – but just not at the moment.

I reverted to using my Samsung laptop with the dreaded Windows 8. This mysteriously upgraded itself to Windows 8.1 without any prompting from me and then failed to work.  It is still in this present life but completely unusable.  I discovered, after a series of phone calls being bounced between Microsoft and Samsung, that Samsung software is not compatible with Windows 8.1.

At the moment my Dymo label printer will not speak to my Applemac mini, and my Brother and HP printer are in the huff with the computer too.

My Sky box uses the wireless connection if I want to load up programmes I have missed and that’s not working either.

So there you have it.  I am still on a huge learning curve and it is good to know what you can do and what you can’t do and that technical I am not.



IT and all that!

If you watched the episode of Cilla on ITV on Monday night – pure nostalgia for those of a certain era – two aspects might have seemed strange depending on how much of your three score and ten you have consumed.

Did people really hang around streets waiting for the phone to ring in the red and glass box?  ‘Cilla’ and her beloved ‘Bobby’ were waiting for a phone call from Brian Epstein for the chart listings of what was to be Miss White ‘s first No 1 on the pop charts of the day.

In the village I grew up in the phone box was the only means of immediate contact with family and friends.   Or more importantly to we teens, to receive a pre arranged call from a boyfriend or potential boyfriend.

If it was raining we would stand inside the phone box, gaze firmly fixed on the heavy black Bakelite handset willing it to come to life.  Others might begin to queue for their turn to use the phone. They’d jingle coins in their pockets, count and check they had the correct change to pay for the call and peer through the thickened glass to see if we were actually speaking to someone on the phone.  We ‘d haunch our shoulders, turn our faces away from those outside and form words silently pretending we were already speaking to a caller.  Handset to our ear, fingers pressed keeping the line open, we’d smile and nod pretending to be in scintillating conversation.  If the phone actually rang, our ruse was revealed and often we would have to pass the handset to whomever we had kept outside waiting in the rain.

It was another era of course and a time when you would not have dared to keep an adult waiting in the rain.

IT and communications have moved on, amazingly and wonderfully, in the past fifty years or so.  Even as I automatically type ‘IT’ I have moved on as that would have gained me a black mark and a dramatic red slash across any typing handed in for correction from my shorthand, typing and book- keeping schoolteacher.  Punctuation was king.

Technology is king today even stretching to the world of hospital X-ray.   I have had a fair few over the years and thought I knew the routine. One used to have to sit half dressed waiting until the radiographer checked whether you had moved or breathed out at wrong time.  If so the whole process was repeated.

In a pristine bright room I follow the instructions, ‘arms forward, deep breath, relax,’ and I drop back into the wheelchair.   Seconds later I can dress and wait to be taken back to the ward.   The X-Ray has been checked on screen instantly in the radiographer’s booth.  Another miracle as these IT advances mean results are so accurate and more instant than the time it took Epstein to inform Cilla, ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ had reached number one in the charts, but that was even before the era of ‘Top of the Pops.’

The religious divide, the second aspect from Monday’s programme, is for another post.