Most of my work day is spent writing about how people can use technology to be more efficient, so I’m always surprised when it becomes obvious how brain-dead technology can sometimes be. Sometimes it’s the people behind the technology who’ve had lobotomies, but sometimes, it’s hard to tell one from the other.
Here are several reasons I find technology frustrating:
Plug ugly. Don’t get me wrong – I think the USB standard, which allows computers to accept multiple peripherals using the same socket, is brilliant. But why don’t the plugs have any indication of which way they’re supposed to be plugged in? I’ve had to put little circular orange labels on each of my plugs – not to mention the smaller ones that charge my tablets and smartphone – so I know up from down.
Peripheral vision. Why does my Canon digital camera plug into my new Windows 10 computer and allow me to transfer images without any problem when my Canon scanner won’t do the exact same thing?
Search me. Why are web sites smart enough to know that I visited, but not smart enough to know what I did there? I was writing about Comcast Business Solutions, so I looked up its web site. I’m going to a conference in New York, so I made reservations at the Grand Hyatt. My wife bought Frango’s for some co-workers at Macy’s.com. You can guess what happened next.
I started getting banner ads for Comcast Business Solutions, the Grand Hyatt, and Macy’s. Uh – folks, I either completed my transaction or never intended to. Advertising Frango’s to me after I’ve already bought them is a fruitless endeavor. The more logical banner ad would be either something like Godiva Chocolates – assuming I’m a candy aficionado – or a weight loss program – assuming I’m too much of a candy aficionado.
My new best friend. The associated annoyance to making transactions comes when I have purchased something. Why does Macy’s (or Staples or whomever) suddenly think that I want to get e-mail from them every single week? Who wants that much e-mail? Who wants to go shopping that much? (I know, there are people who love retail therapy.)
Close but no cigar. No one likes pop-up ads. I’m frankly surprised they still exist. But even worse than most pop-up ads are pop-up ads that omit the little x that allows you to close them – or makes it so small or puts it in an odd place that you spend more time searching for the close box that you actually spend at the site. Really – not interested.
Shake shack. The associated aggravation to pop-ups comes when a site populates the ads first, and then the content. Some of the ads appear atop the content, and because they tend to be graphically heavy, they take longer to load. So I’ll be trying to read something, and then the text drops down on the screen, so I have to scroll down to find it. Then, because I haven’t clicked on the ad, it disappears, and the content jumps back up again. The day that I can control ad content on my screen – especially for sites that I pay for – is the day that I’ll be happy.
Complaints aside, we can do more with technology now than we’ve ever been able to do before. Overall, it’s a godsend. That’s why it’s such a nuisance when, all too often, it just gets stuck on stupid.