By Barton Goldsmith/Tribune News Service
Lately it seems that I have had more problems with my computer, phone, and tablet than I’ve had trying to housebreak the new puppy. It seems that device issues are so common these days that I’ve started to make dealing with them part of my morning routine. Wake up, go to the bathroom, feed the cat, let the dog out, make coffee, and fix the techno dilemma of the day.
I’m not ungrateful. I know that without a spell checker in word processing, I wouldn’t have graduated from school or become a writer. Computers gave me a living, and I’ve even become a better speller, but sometimes I long for the dark ages of the dictionary.
True, growing up I couldn’t understand how you could look up a word if you couldn’t spell it, and now all you have to do is say the word and it appears onscreen. It’s really helpful for those of us who deal with dyslexia, but computer-related issues like updates, hacking, and even robocalls are getting in the way of enjoying life. I used to look forward to hearing from friends and family, and now just the sound of the phone ringing is a tiny bit scary.
But there are worse problems. If you’ve ever been hacked, you know what I’m talking about. First you discover that some robot has sent e-mails about free money to everyone on your contact list, and then you get some e-mails from those people letting you know you’ve been hacked or asking if the scheme worked for you. And that’s just the first step.
Now you have to change your password, which I am told you should do monthly these days. There are apps that help you remember all your passwords, but just needing one is kind of creepy. There are just too many people using the Internet to bilk innocents out of their hard-earned money, and too many other people who just want to mess with someone else’s life because they aren’t having any fun with their own.
The marketing calls may be the most annoying, and thankfully new apps are helping with that, but I find that routinely spending an hour in the morning fixing an issue that wasn’t my fault is really cutting into my coffee-by-the-lake time. I have tech support and people I can call, but it still takes time and isn’t any fun, and in truth can cause more anxiety than a traffic jam.
I’m lucky because I have a tech savvy nephew who will come by when things get really out of control. He does this for a living, so for him it’s like cleaning up spilt milk, and it just makes me want to cry. Having kids in your life can make your tech issues much easier. You may have to bribe them, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I suggest you make computer trouble-shooting a regular household duty and tie it to their allowance.
I guess you have to be wired, or in my case rewired, for this stuff. Many people have a hard enough time just taking care of their daily lives, tech issues aside. My number one suggestion (if you don’t have a kid in your life) is to pay for tech support. Your time is the most valuable thing you have, and paying for support will also help you reduce any device-related stress.
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