things that bug me about tech


Usually I’m a defender of how tech impacts the quality of my life. And in general I am very happy with the ways the digital technology has improved my access to information via books, online reference access, music and people. I also realize that digital technology has changed the way I do many things. For example moving from typing on paper to typing on a screen and only printing it on paper if need be. Also making music notation and recording have improved immensely due to new tech . All good stuff.

The basic bug I have is poor design. Or at least that”s how it seems to me.

One recent problem I have had is with a little application on my phone called Evernote.

The idea is great. I should be able to make little notes to keep on my phone. I can do it online so I can type them in with a larger keyboard (I text but am not proficient at it. Some of this is that I have a scar on one thumb which makes thumb texting next to impossible). Also Evernote allows one to append a picture or a recording to a note. It even has a clever little box you can put in a note so you can check things off a list. All good, right?

But recently I have found relying on this app is not a good idea. More than once I have found myself in a store and unable to pull up the latest version of a list of stuff I have wanted to remember. It should sync automatically across platforms, right? Not so.

The final straw came this week when I had pinned (as they say) a couple of notes on the access window of my phone. Evernote allows one to take a picture of a web site and then recall it in a note. I had done this with a couple of books I wanted to look at when I was at the library. It’s the equivalent of jotting down a call number for a book.

Only it’s not. Because when I called up the notes, instead of seeing my note I saw a little message that said my note was loading and would I like to upgrade my Evernote to Premium (i.e. pay version). The note never loaded and I ended up looking up books at the library’s online card catalog.

Yesterday I went grocery shopping. I simply took the list from the fridge and put it on a clip board. High tech.

And while I’m bitching, I am annoyed by the design of web pages (like the New York Times) that insist on having two pages for an article. So if I notice an article is several web pages long, the first thing I do is try to get a single page in front of me. I do this because I often have to refer back and forth in an article and it is cumbersome and annoying to have to load each page back and forth in order to do this.

I also have decided that moving things on the computer screen should be a matter of choice for the viewer.

I have found that movement on a screen draws my eye and interrupts my concentration.

No doubt that’s the intended effect. It reminds me of a famous quote (famous to me) of an advertising exec I read in a news report once, “People LIKE advertising,” the dope said.

Well, this person doesn’t.

And my final complaint (in THIS list) is when I pull up a page online and it automatically begins audio or video or often both. I have been known to simply close the window and either re-evaluate my need for the information I was seeking (i.e. forget it) or find it elsewhere.

I attribute some of my frustration to my own eccentricities, but surely some of this is bad design.

2 thoughts on “things that bug me about tech

  1. Hello.
    I can relate somewhat to your intollerance of technology. Im a gen X guy who has continued to struggle with tolerating lame technology given such advances. Case in point the prior sentance grammer corrected me by putting a period between give and such. I had to retype it twice on my iphone. My opinion is that technology should work in an effective and efficient manner, make things easier and should not be so presumptious (or i guess the people who design it should not be that way).
    I did not know your thumb scare prevented u from things. I could not tell the way you play piano so well. Hope ur well.

  2. The texting is the only thing I have noticed that the thumb scar affects. I actually have a bit of a problem using my fingers in general for some touch screen things, so it might be also an old guy thing or just getting used to touch screens. We are well. We are planning to do something for Catherine’s birthday. Sneaked up on us during a busy time. Love to all from Dad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.