Keeping up with technology not without its tribulations

Sandra Chapman

Sandra Chapman

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Technology has been a great invention. How else would I see my grandchildren who live abroad if there wasn’t Skype?

Then there are those little reminders that come up one the mobile phone to remind you of an appointments. Even my local vet sends me reminders that my cats are due their vaccinations, and my physiotherapist and dentist also let me know that my appointments are in 24 hours’ time.

It can be hard keeping up with technology

It can be hard keeping up with technology

It’s easy to pay bills, transfer money through accounts and shop online. Oh yes, where would we be without the Internet?

Yet it can be over powering at times. Settling down this week to gather some paperwork together for a visit to the accountant I realised I had not printed out some essential documents dating back to April last year.

Two days later I had copies of the documents, but by then my sanity was wrecked, I wanted to kick the computer screen and the phone was lucky it didn’t end up in the bin.

By the time I had finished I had signed up for a new mobile phone which, on reflection, I would say I scarcely needed, threatened to change my internet provider and felt if I heard a foreign accent again I’d shoot myself.

The trouble arose when I tried to access one of those accounts online and it wouldn’t recognise my password even though I had had no trouble before. No less than four new passwords were tried to no avail. I was faced with a screen telling me it didn’t recognise my efforts and then the account was shut down.

I had to resort to the telephone to ring the company. It took me an hour to find out their number had changed.

Eventually an Indian accented voice came on the line and promised to stay with me until the problem was sorted. He couldn’t quite work out what had gone wrong but promised to get me up and running again, and, bless him, he did – all of 45 minutes later.

Some of that time was taken up by conditions he had to read out to me for the contract for the new phone.

I persevered with that because giving up was not an option and he was doing his best to help. He would have realised from the information he already had on me from my online account that I was what is commonly known as a pensioner and patience was needed.

Thankfully he had lots of it. My grasp of internet technology is, at times, abysmal but there is no going back. I have to keep up because there is no alternative.

I have another problem one I know is not exclusive to me - newsprint is becoming smaller and lighter in many newspapers and magazines. Some onscreen sites too are also using lighter and thinner fonts and that, says a web expert, ``risks undermining the universal reach of the Internet’’.

I’m glad someone recognises the problem. Award-winning blogger Kevin Marks, founder of Microformats and former vice president of web services at BT thought his eyesight was failing as he struggled to read text on screen. He researched further and found that Apple, Google and Twitter had all altered their typography to reduce contrast between words and background. He describes one company as ‘‘dancing on the boundaries of legibility’’.

It took Himself and me ages to work out how to transfer pictures taken on a mobile phone to the computer because the phone memory is limited. Now it’s a doddle.

Yet technology is updating all the time and without a doubt it is harder for us golden oldies to keep up.