Saturday, January 12, 2013

My Electronics Don't Like Me

Seeing news reports about the annual Consumer Electronics Show just held in Las Vegas showcasing all the new and upcoming gadgets brought to mind an old television show.

For those of you old enough to remember The Twilight Zone (the original black and white series with creator Rod Serling also the on-camera host), do you recall the episode first aired in 960 that starred character actor Richard Haydn as Barlett Finchley? Finchley was an odd man, a writer who lived alone in his Victorian surroundings. He contributed to food magazines and similar types of periodicals. He was always in need of a repairman for one piece of household equipment or another to fix the damage caused by his frustration and impatience when something didn't work precisely to his expectations. As time went by, he seemed to be in a constant battle with machines—his typewriter, television, car, even his electric shaver. All his household appliances had the same message for him: get out of the house. He stubbornly refused to acknowledge the messages, so the battle escalated.

And what, you might be asking yourself, does an old television show have in common with this year's Consumer Electronics Show?

Well…it seems that some of my machines, my electronic devices and gadgets, have taken a dislike to me.

My digital cameras clearly don't like me. I've done an extensive amount of photography for decades. In fact, photography is how I got into writing. I've always used Nikon cameras and knew my old film cameras backward and forward. I made maximum use of the various settings to my advantage whether my concerns were depth of field, stop-action, emphasizing motion, or manipulating exposure. I didn't need to think about it, I automatically made whatever setting adjustments I needed to achieve what I wanted.

But that was then and this is now. Photography has become a digital world. I finally gave up my film cameras and traded that skill for the world of DSLR Nikon cameras. It seems like hundreds of different settings and adjustments, none of which come naturally to me. The result is that spontaneity—being able to respond immediately to something I see and produce a creative image—is now difficult. It feels as if the camera is now in charge rather than me having the control.

And then there's my computer. There's something very wrong inside my desktop. There have been numerous times during the last few months when I've been tempted to throw it out the window. I seem to have a lot of things that just aren't working right. I'm afraid I might need to do a reinstall of the operating system. Hate that thought because it will take the better part of 2 days getting all my programs reinstalled and all the updates downloaded and all the files put back on my hard drive and…and…and…. Well, it's an option that I don't like.

Then there was the most recent problem, but I resolved that one after spending half a day fighting with the blogger program on Saturday, January 5th. In all fairness to my computer, for a couple of months Google had been giving me a warning telling me I was using a browser they would no longer be supporting so that some elements of my gmail/blogger might not work properly. Google naturally suggested that I download Google Chrome as my browser. I basically shined it on, ignored the warning and continued to do things just as I had been—until 2013 arrived. Suddenly I couldn't add a picture or graphic image to my blog. After a few hours of battle, I decided to go ahead and download Chrome, but not as my default browser.

Well, guess what! Chrome is now a shortcut icon on my desktop. When accessing my gmail (not my primary email address) or my blog, I double click that Chrome icon to access the internet, go directly to my blog, and everything works perfectly just as it did before the first of the year. No jumping through hoops, looking for some alternative back door with several steps just so I can add a picture. And all's right with the blogger world on my computer.

But my electronic problems continue…there's this new (well, a little over a week ago) problem with my car having to do with some of the dash warning lights (not all, just some) and dash monitoring text readout malfunctioning. It seems to be cold related. Not necessarily the car engine being cold, but the outside temperature being cold.

I have no idea what I've done to anger the electronic gods, but I'll gladly offer up a sacrifice if they'll remove the curse.

No comments: