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Is there an age at which technology becomes baffling?

(8 Posts)
Frostycake Wed 20-Jan-16 09:56:50

If so, I've hit it. Late 40s and now struggle with all manner of things such as prgramming the phone at work (soft keys, personal speed dial and common abbreviated dial) and Smart TV at home (cannot for the life of me figure out all its different 'modes' and I've had it for a year almost). Have to switch everything off at the wall to get back to Sky if I've been watching a DVD or Netflix for instance. Can't now manage the contents of my iphone and iPad as iTunes just makes no sense in terms of where and how it stores, backs-up and fetches things from.

It's just exhausting. I can't even program the new digital light timers - I had to go out and buy old ones.

I used to be really good at this stuff! What happened? Is it leaving me behind or am I getting too slow?

widowerbutok Thu 21-Jan-16 19:36:04

Well, the thing about tech. is similar to learning to drive, you need someone to teach you. I am 70 and still learning. Best thing, go to google or youtube and ask how you do the 'baffling' thing. You will be surprised, if you are patient how they can help.

best of luck

wickedwaterwitch Thu 21-Jan-16 19:37:46

My mum is 72 and fab with her iPad and all things technological so it's not your age!

wanderings Thu 21-Jan-16 20:03:20

I write down my own procedures, and I do so to help other people as well. I am 36, and I have lost my youthful affinity with technology (as a child I was always showing my elders how to use machines). Now I really dislike new machines and websites, they're just not as "intuitive" as they once were. Designers of modern TVs and other devices just don't understand the importance of "immediate" feedback when you press a button. I make a point of waiting for new technology to become "established" before I buy it, so many of my gadgets are out of date as soon as I have them.

One gripe I have is that modern devices seem to have pointless delays built in. Changing channel on a modern TV - you press a rubbery button on a remote control, and there's often a delay of a second before anything happens. Woe betide you if you press a second time - you then get channel 22 instead of 2. Once upon a time, to change channel on a TV you pressed a button on the TV itself, and heard a nice loud "click" to know you had done it!

There have been some improvements in recent years: I think machines selling train tickets are better than they were. The following used to be true:
- For national rail, you had to press destination, then ticket type.
- For London Underground, the other way round.
Woe betide you if you got it wrong - you'd be punished by having to wait for the machine to reset itself.

I believe (before my time) that cash machines used to give you the cash first, then your card back. Result was that people would take the cash and forget their card! So they learned from their users, because it's now the other way round (although some people do still forget to take the cash).

WandaFuca Thu 21-Jan-16 23:07:47

It isn't just you. Some systems are intuitive to me, some I just cannot imagine what (or who) the designers were thinking of.

wandering's example of ATMs is a good one. I can imagine the thought processes of the designers - you want cash, so after you've put in card/PIN/amount, you get your cash. Job done. (Except for the other important bit of removing the card.)

Recently, DH went to the bank to print out a statement; put in his card, the statement was printed and he focused on that and wandered off...

I have three remotes, one for the TV, one for Sky, and one for the DVD player. Undoubtedly, there could be just one remote that would do the whole lot, but why would I want to risk transferring to such amazing sophistication when I already have a familiar system that actually works for me? Systems should work for people, not the other way round.

dodobookends Thu 21-Jan-16 23:19:17

I've reached the point where I'm baffled too. Maybe I could learn if I wanted to, but I really can't be arsed.

I used to pick things up quickly - now I can learn something, and a week later I have to learn it all over again. Give it a month and I've forgotten I even tried to learn it in the first place.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Thu 21-Jan-16 23:41:21

It just seems to change so rapidly now. I do just about manage to keep on top of it but it's a lot more effort than it used to be, then again we get so much more out of it thsn we used to. Some advances I am digging my heels in over, eg I refuse to let my photos stream to the cloud and other devices and prefer to move them about manually as I feel more in control that way.

wanderings Fri 22-Jan-16 07:12:25

Also, with the multiple remotes for TV, DVD etc, they now frequently look so similar that it's hard to tell which is which at first glance, and they're covered in tiny buttons which you rarely use. I've been known to put lots of sticky labels on them, especially for the benefit of grandparents who have had to peer at the tiny print, to find an important button among the myriad of others; ones like "lock the controls against children" can be baffling if you haven't read the manual from cover to cover, especially if you activate it accidentally.

One example of technology which failed in the 1960's was the Panda Crossing (forerunner to the Pelican crossing), and the reason it was a failure was because it was so vague, for both drivers and pedestrians! See

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