Technology eh? Last night I was gonna give it up for good. Go live in a cave like that fella. I swear, the tablet, the cat and everything in the room almost went out the window.
Yesterday we went to McDonalds. I couldn’t be arsed cooking. I’d exercised the previous day and ached in bits I couldn’t name. A Happy Meal is a rare treat for the girls, and very happy with it the girls were too. It included a toy from the Angry Birds movie and a voucher for a free Angry Birds ebook. We saw the film at the weekend and, if you put aside the themes of imperial colonialism, genocide and infanticide, it makes for a fun afternoon’s entertainment. The girls wanted to read the free Angry Birds book, so I promised to download the necessary software to their tablets when I got home.
That was my first mistake. When we got home I tried to download the free ebook thingy and that’s how the everything almost came to fly out of the window.
Let me start by saying I’m no dunce when it comes to technology. I used to work in IT and I’ve been known to strip a server down to nuts and bolts, and put it back together blindfolded, like Marines do with weapons.
After downloading the software, it helpfully suggested that I sign in using a Googlemail account.
I didn’t want to do this, so I opted to set up a new account. This helpfulness that devices show. It’s a little offputting isn’t it? They’re too keen to please. Like a promising but ultimately disappointing lover.
It recognised that linked to this device was a Googlemail account, so was I sure I didn’t want to sign up using this?
No. I didn’t. I mean, I am sure, that I didn’t. Wow, its persistence is confusing me.
The splash screen for a Googlemail account came up. I could sign in using that? Or my Facebook account?
Nope. I won’t. It’s not for me, it’s for a 10 year old. She doesn’t have a Facebook account. And I’m not going to sign in using Googlemail…
Oh fuck it, I WILL sign up using my Googlemail account. There. You’ve twisted my arm. Are you HAPPY NOW?
I signed in using the Google password for that device.
It didn’t work.
I tried it again.
It offered me a password reset, but I had to send it my phone number to do so. This is getting like one of those creepy guys in a club who won’t leave you alone without getting your phone number. “Five times you’ve asked me and I ain’t handing it over. NO MEANS NO GEOFF!”
To cut a long and annoying story short, in order to get a crappy free ebook, I had to hand over my password, allow it access to online and offline data, give it my telephone number and provide it with credit card details. Rumpelstiltskin didn’t drive such a hard bargain.
I didn’t want to hand this information over. I never want to hand this information over. I didn’t have to I guess, but sometimes, you must.
“And can we take your email address sir?” I was asked recently in a shop.
“Why? I’m only buying an iron.”
It’s a trade off. I don’t want people calling me up trying to sell me solar panels, so I’m reluctant to hand over my personal shizzle. But, do I want access to a website which gives sends me emails of cute cats and sloths? OF COURSE! Well, give up your data, beeeeyatch.
I also don’t want to share everything. I’m not on Instagram, or Linkedin, and I’m not even sure I want to share a bag of crisps at times. I’ll tweet pointless rubbish, but I’m not going to tell people via a Facebook notification when I go to a restaurant or a shop. In addition, I’m not gonna be linking my apps up anytime soon, so I’m not going to connect Spotify to Facebook and accidentally show the world I’m listening to 80’s music when I’ve had a bit too much to drink (Toto. Africa. Every. Fucking. Time.). I’m not linking Netflix to Facebook, so people can log on and see I’ve watched an obscure documentary or the kids have watched My Little Pony, or vice versa (“Honestly darling, while you’re at work I don’t watch My Little Pony, I don’t care WHAT Facebook tells you”). I’m not going to link my Kindle to Good Reads to Facebook to show the world I’ve only read 2% of War and Peace and I’m not going to link Fitbit to Runkeeper to Facebook so everyone can see that I gave up my run after 10 minutes and spent 40 minutes in the pub watching the cricket because YOU FORGOT TO TURN THE THING OFF. SPENCER!
Not everything needs to be shared. I know we can be show-offs at times but I’m not gonna ‘check in’ whenever I go to Wilkos. FFS.
It never used to be like this. In the old days you could download something and that was that. Back in the new shiny days of the internet not everyone was trying to sell you something or mine data from you. My laptop is telling me it’s keeping me safe, until tomorrow, when it will demand money with menaces to keep keeping me safe, like some extortion artist. My emails are now offers for this hotel, that holiday, these shoes or that hat. Nothing nice. I get about two emails a week from Legoland holidays, and LEGO people can’t even type! Have you seen those hands? I get a reminder now if I haven’t logged onto a site for a week or so. ‘Here’s what your neighbours are talking about?’ ‘We’ve missed you.’ ‘Did we do something wrong?’
YES! NOW FUCK THE FUCK OFF AND KEEP FUCKING OFF UNTIL YOU CAN FUCK OFF NO MORE!
The Internet of Things is still a work in progress. I can record a TV show from my phone, and change the heating and turn the lights on. But I’m not at home. So why would I need the lights and the heating on? One day it will be useful. I guess.
But thus far, the Internet of Things is an spider’s web of pointless wank that continually asks me for money.
And you can tell Silicon Valley that from me.
Is technology getting you down? Or can’t you live without it now? Is your loo linked to Facebook to tell people how many times you’ve taken a shit or do you have an old Nokia phone and that’s it? Let us know what you think in the comments section and, as always, thanks for reading.