Then what?I know all these tech companies have scores of really smart people who work to make their own individual tech as trouble free as possible. Although the term has lost its contextual meaning, we’re all still aiming for “plug and play.” For people of a certain age -- me, for example -- this used to refer to a physical context: being able to plug stuff into a computer and have it simply started working. Now, we plug technology into our lives and hopes it plays well with all the other technology that it finds there.
But that isn’t always the case, is it? Sometimes, as Mediapost IoT Daily editor Chuck Martin recently related, technology refuses to play nice together. And because we now have so much technology interacting in so many hidden ways, it becomes very difficult to root out the culprit when something goes wrong.
Let me give you an example. My wife has been complaining for some time that her iPhone has been unable to take a picture because it has no storage available, even though it’s supposed to magically transport stuff off to the "cloud.” This past weekend, I finally dug in to see what the problem was.
As it turned out, the phone was bloated with thousands of emails and Messenger chats that were hidden and couldn’t be deleted. They were sucking up all the available storage. After more than an hour of investigation, I managed to clear up the Messenger cache, but the email problem -- which I’ve traced back to some issues with configuration of the account at her email provider -- is still “in progress.”
We -- and by “we” I include me and all you readers -- are a fairly tech-savvy group. With enough time and enough Google searches, we can probably hunt down and eliminate most bugs that might pop up. But that’s us. There are many more people who are like my wife. She doesn’t care about incorrectly configured email accounts or hidden caches. She just wants shit to work. She wants to be able to take a picture of my nephew on his sixth birthday. And when she can’t do that, the quality of my life takes a sudden downturn.
The more that tech becomes interconnected, the more likely it is that stuff can stop working for some arcane reason that only a network or software engineer can figure out.
It’s getting to the point where all of us are going to need a full-time IT tech just to keep our households running. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t know where they’re going to sleep. Our guest room is full of broken-down computers and printers right now.
For most of us, there is a triage sequence of responses to tech-related pains in the ass:
By the way, it hasn’t escaped my notice that there’s a pretty significant profit motive in point number 4 above. A conspiracy, perchance? Apple, Microsoft and Google wouldn’t do that to us, would they?
I’m all for the Internet of Things. I’m ready for self-driving cars, smart houses and bio-tech-enhanced humans. But my “when you get a chance could you check…” list is getting unmanageably long. I’d be more than happy to live the rest of my life without having to “go into settings” or “check my preferences.”
Just last night I dreamt that I was trying to swim to a deserted tropical island, but I kept drowning in a sea of Apple Watches. I called for help, but the only person that could hear me was Siri. And she just kept saying, “I’m really sorry about this, but I cannot take any requests right now. Please try again later.”
Do you think it means anything?