I’m a proud guy. I’ve done the whole bit: A college, fine career, a half century of happy marriage, kids and grand kids. I’m a guy who can do anything!…. So why am I reduced to rubble installing my Wi-Fi? No sooner do I get the modem working, then the router goes on the blink. Trying to synchronize Blue Tooth devices is like “whack a mole”. Nail one little bugger and another device pops out. It’s supposed to be science but it seems very spooky and other worldly.
I can’t be the only klutz in the world trying to figure this out. More than 100 million routers are sold all over the world so there must be hoards of Bluetooth mole whackers out there cussing. Out of the millions of Earthnet switches and routers sold, some must end up in the hands of people whose digital dexterity is worse than mine.
I got a taste of the technological skill level in a remote village on a trip to Africa. One school we visited in Namibia had desk top computer in the classroom.
“How do you like it and how do you use it” I inquired.
A student replied: “It was donated to us but then the screen locked up one day. We have no repair services or Geek Squad.”
“Why don’t you unplug it and then turn it back on again. That often reboots the software” I suggested. Instantly the screen booted up.
How are guys in Namibia going to handle Blue Tooth synchronization? I grew up in an industrialized nation and had decades to adjust to push buttons and plugging in. But some of those devices are shipped to the far corners of the world like, say rural Mozambique, Uzbekistan and Western Brazil. Those curious, courageous Uzbeks must also be befuddled. I share their pain.
Let’s call one of these guys Mr. Aman who grew up in the boondocks of his non industrialized country. With radios he’s cool. But the buttons on his remote and the blinking digital “12:00” on his cable box? Not cool. Imagine the day that Aman wants to rent rooms in his house to attract Airbnb travelers. He’s heading into technology more impenetrable than the Namibian school kids.
His first BnB customer will confront him: “Hey Aman, what is the Wi-Fi access code here?”
“No Wi-Fi access? To get travelers you gotta install a PC, routers and a modem.”
Thus begins a life long voyage into digital purgatory from which there’s no return. That’s a problem because Aman can’t grasp why guests demand an invisible, inaudible Wi-Fi signal. It’s a big nothing. “And yet this guy is telling me that all his customers will demand a signal. Aman may end up in an institution or rehab.
It begins with an instruction manual written in babble. If your native language is Bantu, Uzbek, and Macushi how are you going to translate “bandwidth”, “Bluetooth”, “browser”, “cloud”, “Java”, “RAM, ISP, CPU, URL, or Pfd”?
Are Aman, I and the rest of us taking a step up the Darwinian evolutionary ladder? Or are we sinking into a disrupting technology causing discontent for the human race?
Once I asked my mother why her brother was such a crazy guy. “His problem was calculus.” She went on to explain her diagnosis. “He was a fine young man till he went to college and studied calculus. It fried his brain and he never recovered! He never needed calculus to begin with!”
Now a generation later, as I read my smart phone manual, I think Mom was right. This tech stuff is a disease that’s frying my brain. It’s not healthy and the disease is metastasizing into every corner of the world.