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There is a belief commonly held by marketers and pollsters and people who study such things that those of us who are "of a certain age" are technology-averse.

We just don't like those fancy newfangled doodads with all their lights and buttons and thingies. We think the Internet is the root of all evil, Steve Jobs was the devil and whenever someone mentions "the Cloud," we look upward and wonder how all our photos got in that.

Now, as an official representative of "a certain age," I can say, that's simply not true. And, in fact, I'd be more than willing to make that point to any of those marketers, pollsters or people who study such things who care to call. As long as they don't call on the house phone, since we turned down the ringer once and I don't know how to turn it back up again.

See, the thing is, we're not "technology-averse." We love technology! We're ecstatic about being able to order our coffee from miles away and pick it up without actually having to speak to anyone. We're big fans of that holiday classic, "A Christmas Without Malls." We're amazed that our golf clubs are the result of more research and development than the first lunar lander.

We just ... want it to work.

I realize that might not seem a deal-breaker to a lot of people, but we do tend to operate under the general notion that, if you're going to go to all the trouble of purchasing something, a certain expectation of usefulness kind of comes with it.

If, for some strange reason, I were ever able to wind up with Ferrari in my driveway, and if it didn't start, I wouldn't be "automobile-averse." I'd be wanting the car to, you know, move. I mean, my coffee isn't getting any warmer.

Take, for instance, the other night's TV-watching extravaganza at the Smith Silicon Valley. Thanks to technology, we have access to about 700,000 channels. Thanks to the reality of television, there was nothing on any of them we either wanted to watch or hadn't already seen.

Now, most folks would have quit while they're ahead and picked up a good book. But there's a certain inverse proportionality to channel surfing. The more obvious it is there's nothing to watch, the more frantically you continue to search for something in a sort of TV death spiral that leads to the 57th viewing of a Bourne movie or Texas Hold 'em Poker games.

However, we subscribe to something called a "streaming service," which, since all our emails are in "the Cloud," makes perfect sense. So, instead of just a paltry 700,000 channels, we now have access to a virtually unlimited number of shows, films and documentaries. All of which appear to involve odd kids, space aliens and people either getting into or -- unsuccessfully -- out of the drug trade.

Problem is -- and here comes the wrinkle in technology -- in order to "stream" shows, you have to actually be able to access the "streaming" service. Which means first you have to find the remote control. No, not that remote control. The other, super secret decoder ring one that opens up the magic portal that allows you to binge-watch reruns of cooking shows. And the fact that you can't find it, while not technically a "tech" issue, is a further illustration of a larger concern.

Then there's the matter of pressing the tiny little, largely unmarked buttons on the device in just the right sequence with just the right pressure to either keep searching or start a movie. Which devolves into just pushing the buttons hard and as fast as you can in the hopes that the little creatures who live inside the remote will wake up and start the show.

OK, OK, I know there aren't any little people in a remote. They're actually in an office in New York, and pushing the buttons wakes them up.

After about 30 minutes of pushing buttons; yelling at each other to push the buttons in a different way (which didn't work either); discovering we needed to "update the service"; discovering we don't know how to update the service since we've moved past the instructions and can't get back to them because, well, we're pushing buttons as fast as we can here, we found a highly recommended series and started watching, only to discover ... we didn't like it.

So, a device we paid good money for to do something we don't really understand provided us with options we didn't really want and then didn't work to provide them for us.

Yep, technology. Who doesn't love that?

Commentary on 11/17/2017

Print Headline: Technology pushes buttons

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