Outwitted: Technology

I keep getting outwitted at every turn, which is adding a whole layer of frustration to my days, these days.

A lot of it involves technology, of course. There’s my TV, which still isn’t speaking to the VCR and DVD player. It did, for one brief moment, but the moment passed. The only thing I have managed to do since is eliminate Channel 3. The TV now only recognizes the channel the satellite comes in on. No matter what channel I try to command, it lands on 116.

I used to have a choice, 3 or 116, but I had the TV re-scan channels and it blew right past 3. Now, when I try for 3 on the remote, it just laughs at me. I have no idea how to fix this.

But that’s a mild annoyance, compared to the spat going on at work. We had some serious growing pains a few months back when we tried to take more things online in response to the county’s lockdown, and I am never going to be the spokesperson for Microsoft 365 that others wanted me to become.

For one thing, Microsoft would like to rule the world through its computers, and it demands to be let in on everything when I foolishly thought I was signing up for a handful of programs — word processing, database and spreadsheet. Every time I get on this computer here at home, Microsoft indignantly informs me that I’m not signed into One Drive as though Life itself is not possible without One Drive. For the record, it is possible. Just for the record.

At work my computer and Kara’s are hooked into the same 365, which takes many decisions out of our hands and puts it upon Microsoft. Even if I open a Word document on my computer, write in it on my computer and save it to my computer, Kara can now open it on her computer. Much more annoyingly, our desktop wallpapers keep changing. Hers shows up on mine and mine invades hers, all without our permission. Why Microsoft assumes we want to be alike I don’t know. I guess if we’re all alike it becomes even easier for them to take over the planet.

I can’t remember if I complained about it here or not, but I never managed to get our database to work in this Brave New Microsoft World of One Drive. After much sweating and loss of brain cells, I finally decided, without any actual confirmation other than circumstance, that Access, once Microsoft’s premier program, has now been tossed by the wayside. As evidence, I can offer only that this portion of the Office suite, which once cost an additional $200 all by itself, now only appears in the “home” package, which is $100 for what amounts to 30 users. It kind of sounds like businesses now rely on something called Share Point, which of course once again comes with a hefty price tag.

Well, we have Access, and no hefty pocketbook. Unable to get it to work on One Drive, I defaulted to our older version and continued to access Access in our old-fashioned way, through a internal shop network.

We also, after our frustrating experience with Microsoft, opted against taking our Quickbooks online. It won’t help if we all get sent home again, but in the meantime I could use our internal network to work on the company books at my own desk while Kara had it open on hers.

Until the world ended last week.

It ended in more ways than even I thought, it turns out. While we never lost internet, and didn’t really lose power — it flickered a few times — at work during the snow storm from Hell, our internal network vanished. I don’t know why.

There is a chance it had nothing to do with a coincidental unseasonable winter storm and everything to do with computer updates. I can’t explain this, either, but Kara’s computer feels the need to update about every other day. I believe mine has updated once in the last six months, and that was last week. So we may have updated right out of our network.

Let’s talk about networks. I don’t understand them. Neither, it turns out, does 98, maybe 99 percent of the rest of the world — and that includes computer “experts.” For a decade or more I have lived in terror of the network going down, because finding someone who understands them and can re-set something requires Herculean effort.

Except for the moment in time when Windows introduced the concept of a “home group.” Before I knew of its existence, I paid an “expert” to come in and re-set my network, and all he did was set up a home group. I could have managed that much on my own, had I known (there’s the rub, I guess).

Once I did know, maintaining the home group was easy. Too easy. Obviously, since Windows has decided to cast it by the wayside in this annoying drive all computer-related companies have to alter, adjust, amend — but never really “upgrade” — their products. Working smoothly? Well, we can’t tolerate that!

So there is no longer any “home group” concept, and if there’s a plan in its place, I haven’t identified it. Neither, based on my scrolling through the internet, have too many others. The other day I — not really I, I just pushed the buttons — “reset” the network on Kara’s computer.

It allowed another computer in the shop to re-find its way to Kara, so that I can print out time cards, but mine is still not speaking with Kara’s. I reset mine — no soap there, either.

I thought I could try living without the network. After all, I can access Access from the time-card computer. But then I filed my sales tax yesterday, and when I went to print out my tax form, remembered belatedly that it wasn’t going to print.

The next printer we buy will be one that everyone in the shop can print to wirelessly, like the one Paper Clip sold me for home use. But this is not the year to be hoping the current printer runs out of life expectancy. And that does nothing to help me get into the company books.

Oh technology, bane of my existence!

This is definitely one of those can’t-live-without-it-but-I-really-want-to sort of things. I don’t want to waste great gouts of work time playing marriage counselor to two computers that got along so well just two short weeks ago. Computers that are still happy enough to share their wallpapers. They just refuse to speak to one another, and none of my coaxing is doing a dang thing.

I just want it to work. (Can you hear the whine? It’s in high gear.) But none of my usual IT tricks — turning things off, turning them on — are coming through for me. I am being undone by technology, and I don’t like it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s