17 Unfortunate (and, as Far as I Know, Unavoidable) Truths About Technology

By  |  Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 10:44 pm

You don’t mind if I get a few things off my chest, do you?

1. If I can’t find a cable around the house that I need and resort to going out and buying a duplicate, the first one will inexplicably appear from nowhere and spring at me, anaconda-like, the moment I return home.

2. I will periodically wind up with a mysterious stack of empty CD-ROM envelopes with the serial numbers printed on the back. 65% of those envelopes won’t mention the name of the software they once held. 85% will have serial numbers printed in an exotic font in which the B, 8, 0, and G look exactly the same.

3. Similarly, I have an entire file cabinet full of power bricks which I can’t identify.

4. At least half the time I call for tech support, I will know considerably more about the product I need help with than the person on the other end of the line. Even if I hardly know anything at all.

5. The only times my TiVo will fail to record a TV show is when it’s one of the rare programs I really, really want to watch.

6. Even if I’ve used a particular type of cable (USB, say) for a decade, I will attempt to insert the connector upside-down at least half the time.

7. The worst problems that Macs can inflict upon you are just as maddening and maddeningly random as the worst Windows ones. It’s just that they happen less often.

8. I can’t always find a backup of an important file I created within the last month, but I can still lay my hands on cartridge-tape backups I made in 1999.

9. When I attempt to fix a computer problem–especially one I basically brought upon myself–chances are better than even that the first thing I do will make the situation worse.

10. Odds are 100% that I will factor a rebate into a buying decision, even though I consistently urge people not to do that. But only 45% that I will remember to send the paperwork in.

11. I’ll click the “Register Later” button in an application’s splash screen thousands of times, over the course of many years, until I’ve devoted infinitely more time and effort that it would have taken to register the software in the first place.

12. If I swap an SD card out of a camera, I’ll reliably place it unprotected in a shirt pocket full of other stuff, forget it’s there, and never see it again.

13. Any camera I buy (with the possible exception of Sony models) will have an on-screen battery gauge that never seems to appear on screen until it’s frantically flashing red to tell me I’m about to run out of juice. The battery will completely die within ninety seconds of this gauge’s first appearance.

14. Most of the time, anything I do involving syncing a PC and a device such as a phone or PDA has only two possible outcomes: 1) all data will be accidentally deleted on both devices; or 2) all data will be accidentally duplicated on both devices.

15. Anything I buy with a metal case, such as an Apple laptop, will develop dents and deep scratches whose origins are inexplicable to me–even if I put it into a protective case the moment I buy it. It’s as if I sleepwalk with my tech gadgets and treat them poorly when doing so.

16. My bookmarks, over time, will be made up primarily of default one from browsers I haven’t used in years for stuff like My [email protected] and items I needed once in 1998, all of which have been imported from browser to browser over the years.

17. If I go into a store and want to be left alone, salespeople will cling to me like barnacles. If I go into the same store and need help, it’ll be like Pompeii or something.

There, I feel better. At least slightly. Thanks for listening.


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. anguswong Says:

    18. As soon as you have finally mastered that particular programming language / API / software, the entire industry will switch over to something completely obscure and unassuming virtually overnight.

  2. DTNick Says:

    I’m guilty of #6. And #7? Very true.

  3. Widgwiga Says:

    Ah, I thought I was all alone.

  4. Robert Says:

    #1 happened to me yesterday. Unfortunately it was a dvi>hdmi cable that costs 30 euro’s.
    I had searched for it for an hour and then decided to buy a new one.
    The day i had the new one i opened a drawer and there it was, right in my face.

  5. ediedi Says:

    #1 & 6- very true
    I’d like to add:
    1 b) having tens of unlabeled cd’s/dvd’s lying around in a draewr, and never taking the time too see what’s on them, and not throwing them away because ‘who knows what could be on them’

  6. Jake Says:

    One of the things I like about Firewire is that the shape makes it much harder to do #6.

  7. Pedro Says:

    #9 and #14 are right-on with me. It was a little creepy, almost 🙂