Things you’ll only know if you’re a technophobe

Are you a competent user of remote controls, computer software and the iCloud?

Things you’ll only know if you’re a technophobe

We’ve all felt it. The rising panic as we realise we’re being outwitted by the technology we supposedly own, and that every menu screen we flip through is probably just making matters worse.

For some of us, this is a near daily occurrence. Here are a few things you’ll understand if you're a technophobe.

1. You’re too scared to use trial and error
It’s easy to assume tech-savvy people have a sixth sense for all things electronic, but mostly, they work things out by fiddling. A tour of the program folders here, a rifle through system settings there, and eventually they’ll work it out through poking and probing.

It’s hard to tinker with confidence when you’re convinced one wrong move could start a nuclear war, or worse, send off an unintended email.

2. Things change too quickly
They say you can’t stop progress, but it can certainly stop you. Today’s tech firms are designing gadgets far faster than you can get used to them, and it’s hard to get excited about the latest household AI when you still think digital cameras are a clever idea.

One of these days, we’ll reach a sort of tech singularity, where there isn’t enough time in the human life cycle to understand all the features on the latest iPhone.

3. People can be super unsympathetic
Otherwise patient, tolerant people can be inexplicably mean when it comes to not understanding tech, as though it’s some sort of moral or intellectual failing. We’ll remember that next time they superglue their fingers together while butchering some basic DIY.

4. The instruction manuals are never helpful
We’re pretty sure that since the invention of the online search engine, the world’s instruction manual writers have started phoning it in. What were once thick leaflets filled with layman’s language are now token printouts that seem to assume you’ll find your answers online.

As anyone who’s typed ‘why can’t I connect to the internet’ into their browser bar can attest, it doesn’t always suffice.

5. You own at least one piece of tech you haven’t a clue how to use
It may have been an unwanted gift, or perhaps you overestimated your own competence, but either way, there’s now a very expensive gadget languishing in your home that you couldn’t use even if you wanted to. We recommend the charity shop. At least that will stop it sitting in the corner judging you.

6. You assume technology is all-powerful
When technology seems to be able to do everything, it’s easy to assume that it can do anything. If we can send a probe to the other side of Pluto, why can’t Google tell me where I left my keys?

7. You still need hard copies of everything
You’re not familiar with ‘the cloud’ – you’ve never been there, and it sounds more like a rubbish superhero than a data repository. Preferring printouts and hard copies may seem medieval, but you’ll be the one laughing when a giant space laser wipes out all the world’s computers like in GoldenEye.

8. We don’t have anger issues, we promise
When the table tilts, you can get out the toolbox, and when your car doesn’t start, you can open the bonnet. But when your electronics fail, you feel infuriatingly powerless. No, we don’t know how the desktop ended up at the bottom of the fishpond. Maybe it tripped.

9. The pandemic has forced your hand
You’re that relative – the one who only takes selfies by accident, who jabs their touchscreen as if they’re squashing a fly, who still greets video calls with a live stream of their ceiling. Every Zoom call is divided into two – 20 minutes of talking, and 20 minutes teaching you about the mute button.

How do you feel about ever-changing technology? Do you embrace it or wish it would slow down a little?

– With PA

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    9th Jul 2020
    The last 25 years have been a real pain in the brain! Technology has not only moved too quickly, it has introduced things the world doesn't need. Desktop computers and emails are great, but "social media" (how I hate that term!) is the biggest waste of time ever foisted on the planet. Touch screens? Forget them, they're hideous to use. "Smart" phones with all their computer interactions are too complex and dangerous - how many road crashes have they caused, not to mention pedestrians walking into obstacles that wouldn't be obstacles if they looked where they're going? Mobile phones don't even fit a person's hand, especially with arthritic fingers. Hands are not rectangular, designers! Even cars are now far too complicated. I know it's too late, but I really wish we could step back a pace.
    9th Jul 2020
    I tend to agree with you Bill but techo companies will continue to push their next big thing to sell, sell, sell. Social media is good and bad but it should never have been used as an advertising tool. We have a choice so I just don't buy it, gets me why people use those talking things to get the lights on etc. that just makes you lazy.
    9th Jul 2020
    No one forces you to buy anything, just stop listening to the sales people trying to convince you that you need it, and take into account that we are using up far too much of the earth's resources as it is and some kids and poor people are digging up the metals needed to make the next big thing at very low or slave labour rates.
    Karl Marx
    9th Jul 2020
    Your biggest friends with technology especially smartphones or computers etc is Google & You Tube. 99.9% of issues can be sorted this way & is also a great learning tool to use when you upgrade that smartphone that's now outdated & just doesn't work anymore.
    Enhance technology, don't be a Luddite
    9th Jul 2020
    Love technology, and love working out all the things it can do for you. You Tube is wonderful, being able to look up a video about anything and finding out how it's done or working out the best way to disassemble one of those pieces of tech or remove the overhead console in the car to clean the light without braking the clips.
    9th Jul 2020
    I was a computer programmer/analyst in the late 60's early 70's when we used machine code then Cobol was brought in as a user friendly language so I've never been afraid of technology. The first computer I worked on needed it's own air controlled room and was as big as a small house. My current IPhone is more powerful and fits in my pocket. Why I am starting to shy away from new technology is that I cant be bothered any more. I dont need answers to questions I didn't know existed and I dont need instant communication with everything on earth. I refuse to be moved at more than my chosen pace and if young people think I'm a fossil so be it. I cherry pick the technology that works for me rather than cave in to peer pressure to have the latest gadget. Not all oldies 'panic' when confronted by new technology, some of us just say 'stuff it, who cares'.
    9th Jul 2020
    I like your comments, as I said in my above comment, we don't have to be pushed into new technology just because tech companies want us to buy them, use what you want and don't upgrade unless you have a good enough reason too. If it ain't broke why fix it (or replace it because these days you cannot fix everything).
    grandpa Dave
    9th Jul 2020
    Agree with ozirules, having come through mainframe computer operations with a Bank in the 70s, I now use an Apple Mac for emails, bill paying, ancestry, eBay and word processing. I am perfectly happy with this arrangement. My last mobile phone was handed back in 1993 and I have never had a need or desire for another one. My friends know where I live and my home phone number is in the phone book. I don't need what I don't need!
    9th Jul 2020
    Wish we had the www back in the 50/60s......would have made homework easier!
    9th Jul 2020
    Just having a computer would have been easier instead of writing everything by hand. Kids these day are losing the ability to write by hand.
    9th Jul 2020
    incognito, I tried to encourage my kids to improve their handwriting at the time when computers first appeared in schools. I bought them a computer though when I found out that they were marked down in their exams if they submitted their projects handwritten. It seemed that presentation was more important than the content.
    10th Jul 2020
    I agree with you BillW41 100% my fingers don't work as well as they did I need glasses just to answer the thing can't work on the car anymore far too complicated and people around you think you are from another planet when you don't understand some sort of tech and I think it is all about money now days and how much they can get from you with like this has all the bells and Whistles you need this in your life blah blah it's too late for me I know
    13th Jul 2020
    It is time for the public libraries to step up and do worthwhile courses on I.T. use for everyone including seniors. I mean just not the usual basic windows/microsoft features, I mean added value stuff like virus protection and related, backing up and other more in depth stuff.
    13th Jul 2020
    You can find out how to do most of it on the internet.

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