Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tech Rant

OK, so I decided that 2008 was the year to stop grousing about my sub-par technology (slow, and slow-witted, and--I presume--virus-clogged cell phones and computers). In an attempt to rectify this, I set about things in a methodical way. After researching Verizon vs. AT&T and convincing myself there wasn't much of a difference between the two providers service-wise, I proceeded to contact AT&T (with whom I had gone out of contract many moons ago, apparently) and ask if the new(ish) Treo 750, which I could buy for $99 after rebates etc., was compatible with the Palm technology that has been running my contacts, calendar, tasks, and, yes, even the quote log, for years. I spoke to some joker named Malcolm, I think, who assured me, in answer to my explicit question about same, that the 750 would indeed be compatible with Palm technology. On the strength of that, I went ahead and ordered the new phone.

Then I decided to buy a new computer. The Dell guy couldn't have been nicer, and one of the many decisions I had to make was whether or not to have Microsoft Outlook pre-installed on my computer. Given that I was comfortable with Palm, and all my data were on that platform, I saw no reason not to save myself the money and declined. Made sense, right?

To AT&T's credit, the phone did arrive very quickly (yesterday, and I had ordered it Saturday). I spent the better part of yesterday trying to get it set up. While I could send and receive calls and text messages, I couldn't access the internet. I had to call AT&T customer support to get their assistance with this basic function. It involved taking the battery out of my phone (huh?) not once but twice while Olga, bless her heart, "set switches" or somesuch. After that 22-minute task was completed, we moved on to trying to get my phone to "push" my Gmail e-mail directly to my phone rather than my having to "pull" it from the internet. (Let me note here that this was another explicit question I asked Malcolm, and he informed me it would be no problem.) We still have not solved this issue, but I decided to give up the ghost on it for now.

We next turned to the issue that I was not able to sync my phone to my laptop, which has all the aforementioned data on it. That, I was informed, is a Palm issue and so I had to call them. After being on hold for almost 11 minutes, I was disconnected. I called again and got Max, who informed me (after some back and forth) that the new phone I had was NOT compatible with the Palm technology. Huh? It says "Palm" right on the front of the phone. I swear to God. In any case, it is a Windows phone, and so my only option is to purchase the Outlook software (remember, the software I told Dell not to put on my computer because I didn't need it?) and then go to a website entitled, I kid you not, www.chapura.com (huh? again), and download some other software that will convert my Palm data into an Outlook-compatible format. Clearly, we can all surmise how easy and trouble-free that experience will be. OR...I can send back my new phone (lucky me! they will pay for the shipping) and get the Treo 680, which has fewer capabilities and pay an extra $200. For an older phone with fewer features. Wait, can that possibly be right?

Let me venture a thought here. I am the first to admit that I am not the most technologically adept person on the planet. But I am adequately so, and of above-average intelligence. How is it that it took me something like 2.5 hours to set up a new phone for use? What about all the other poor saps who are even less adept than I? How are they supposed to wade through all this muck and mire? Shouldn't the phone companies and OEMs make this whole process a lot more seamless and user-friendly? May I also point out that, in my lawyering days, the time I spent with the various above vendors would have cost them about $600 minimum. (Granted, the firm got that money, not I, but the logic still applies.) Don't they owe me some kind of rebate for my time?

I swear, as good as my life is in so many areas, technology just ain't one of them. It's like when I was recruiting people for the computer systems department of D.E. Shaw (my first job out of college) and my computer would literally break down every 3 weeks or so. Given that we received all our resumes for said systems professionals via e-mail, my computer was literally biting the hand that fed it.

1 Comments:

Blogger Matthew said...

There ain't anything wrong with any man here that can't be cured by putting him near a Mac and an iPhone.

5:32 PM  

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