Bullied by technology? You be the judge


This has been a terrible horrible—well, rather difficult—year for me and my writer’s technology. I love my computers and software, love them to bits. I look after them like a devoted slave, I praise them to their face and to anyone who will listen. And in return, what do they do? This year they all joined forces to torture me month after month, taking it in turns to deceive and fail and crash and burn and betray me, their devoted protector and caregiver. Don’t read this. It’ll only depress you.

ACT ONE: HARDWARE. I used to have two laptops and a phone. I upgraded the phone last year, with only minor problems. Endured a couple of months when both laptops were running slow and crashing: but where was the problem? Incompatibility between laptops and certain software? Problems in the network with my Time Machine backup drive? Ditching the Air and changing security software seemed to help.

ACT TWO: REPLACEMENT. Decisions, decisions. A new MacBook Air, for travel and working on the fly? Ouch, Apple appeared to be deliberately dragging the chain with upgrades. Old screens, limited hard drive capacity and other clues steered me towards the new swept-up iPad Pro — that’s where the action is for lightweight portable work computers. OK, I got one. And a keyboard. And an Apple Pencil. Looks like fun. I never never never used my old iPad, so there’s a lot to learn: I’m an iPad virgin. (Sh, don’t tell anyone.)

ACT THREE: SECURITY ALARM. Hack attack on the iPad Pro (what happened to Mac immunity?) and it took three hours on the phone with a very nice technician in California to fix it. Plus new security software, again.

ACT FOUR: WRITING SOFTWARE. Good news: MS Office has finally upgraded their Mac suite of software. Bad news: now you can’t buy it outright, have to pay an annual fee. Meanies. I did so. Then I thought, I hate Scrivener, the gold standard for writers’ software, hate it with a shudder and a retch. But maybe there’s something better now, something aesthetically tolerable that’s fully compatible with the iPad Pro, I thought. After a few days’ research I bought Ulysses, rather excited about the whole concept.

ACT FIVE: 1PASSWORD. So it’s now about six months since a perfect storm of technology problems attacked me, and I’m dying to start my new book. On the iPad Pro, you understand: after all this hassle, nothing else will do. But wait! On any new computer, storing passwords is high priority, and that should have been a breeze. I’ve used 1Password for years and it’s great. I’ve got a licence. So, just install the app on the iPad Pro and get going, right? Wrong. “They” have decided we must also have an account (what’ve I had all these years?) aka a subscription. OK, I’ll do anything — but I can’t. Two hours later I’m in the queue for help.

That book is screaming, “Write me! Write me!” But I’m determined to do that on my new toy, not on my faithful workhorse.

One day it’ll all be over, and I’ll be able to write again. Meanwhile, maybe I’ll practise using the Apple Pencil. That might cheer me up. Bye now.

39 thoughts on “Bullied by technology? You be the judge

  1. kiwinana says:

    Hope you feel a lot better now you have posted this. I’m an Apple user, have the new iPad but I have many problems with my iMac computer which I have had about four years now and upgraded to MacOs Sierra about nine months ago because Google no longer protected my OS Mac, I cannot get Apple to download updates.
    Happy days with Apple products.

  2. I’m used to upgrading regularly, because as you say, Apple—and turf wars—make this necessary. But I have never had such a truckload of troubles in one year. Thanks for your encouragement, Elsie.

  3. lifecameos says:

    This is terrifying ! I have never used Apple, by default. They weren’t selling them in Masterton where I lived when I bought my first computer. I won’t start either. But I have had other problems, though my local computer hop have been most helpful and diligent in their back up service. I do hope you conquer Apple and bend it to your will.

    1. Ah, I never meant to imply that the problems were peculiar to Apple! I have loved them since 1986. This is just a run of bad luck. I hope.

      1. lifecameos says:

        Here’s hoping !

  4. I refuse to use Apple [they tend to have to much control over their apps and the cost] and use a very light laptop [great for travelling] Microsoft Surface Pro 4. I have had no problems with this latest version. It has has been carted around the world for a few years. Good luck with sorting out your issues.

    1. Thanks, this will end soon and I will be happy again. In 31 years I have had a pretty sweet run.

      1. That is a good run 🙂

  5. toutparmoi says:

    Oooh. It all sounds way too hard for me. I’ll just stick to my desktop.

    1. Stick away! I am also fond of paper.

  6. I feel your pain Rachel.

    1. I shouldn’t be so happy that you feel my pain, Christine.

      1. 😄😄

  7. Sounds familiar and it’s not just Apple. Last time I bought a new desktop, my version of Photoshop wasn’t compatible. I had to buy a new version. Then there were printer drivers and the list goes on. I fear buying anything new because it’s not always easy. Everything is connected. You bring a new kid into the group and no one plays together nicely. Good luck.

    1. You’ve put your finger on it. I accidentally kept mt laptop too long and what a mess.

      1. Oops, I mean my laptop. One of them.

  8. Aunt Beulah says:

    Ah, technology, the miraculous tool I love when I’m not hating it. Whenever I get something new — even an update! — I’m thrown for a loop. I’m anxious, sure I won’t be able to figure it out, upset at needing a new password to forget, and filled with longing for the way it used to be. However, like you, I usually work my way back to sanity and comfort with the new tool. But I admit both my husband and grandchildren play a major role in my recovery.

  9. I think this experience is so common, it’s almost universal. And yet we beat ourselves up. One thing I know through working in usability is that such problems are (almost) never the user’s fault. Bad design and bad communication is at the basis of my 1Password problem. I think a human being is going to sort this out for me in no time. (Hope so.) But my brain needs to be fresh and clear before I tackle it.

  10. Wendy says:

    Ooh, not an elaborate case of procrastination, I hope. 🙂

    1. Hi Wendy! I think I’m waiting for a reply from that friendly human techie. Better check though…

  11. Hang in there things will get better.

    1. Thank you, they always do. Venting is not the smartest move, either!

  12. cedar51 says:

    what I’m finding it that on some blog you believe you can comment, but the bot never allows it to surface on the page – the competition I guess is still hotting up about the different companies. I’ve not really ever got to grips with anything, I just bumble along – of course, I’m not trying to write a “book”…

    1. That’s very annoying. I find it’s easier to comment on my phone app. on those blogs that require you to type your email address and name every single time.

  13. Glynis Jolly says:

    And here I thought I was the only one having a bad tech. year. Yours is worse. I’ll admit to that. My problems have only been with my one laptop but, come to find out, it was all due to me being a fool. It was a freebie I received from my cable company when I signed up with them. I should have known it would be the very cheapest meaning the lowest memory in it. So… I am waiting for Christmas when I can BUY a laptop that has enough memory to take updates.

    1. Maddening. But don’t beat yourself up. What a nerve even making such stuff. PS you can’t add memory can you?

      1. Glynis Jolly says:

        Nope. I even took it to Staples, a store that specialized in office supplies and computers. I talked to one of the experts in the computer department. He said that particular laptop doesn’t have room for more memory. He even told me the cheapest laptop in the store would be way better than what I have. So… I wait.

  14. Wow. I guess the firm that made this misleading offer has noticed a backlash.

  15. jameswharris says:

    I feel for you. Technology should be transparent and not a hindrance. I never heard of a Mac user having so many problems. Is the iPad Pro really a computer substitute. I’ve had two iPads now, and I never really use them. The reason I got the second one was the retina display. I thought I didn’t use the first one because the display was fuzzy and it annoyed me. I use my iPhone for everything I would have used an iPad for. BTW, my regular computer is a Windows 10 machine. It’s been remarkably stable.

    Why do you hate Scrivener? I bought it and have been considering switching to it, but it has a steep learning curve.

    1. Me too for the ipad: never used mine, but this is a new concept: supposed to be for production, not just reception. My problem is not the Macness of the technology but the combination of matching old and new: new device, new model, new software plus updating old software simultaneously. Plus a hack attack, a novelty for a Mac person. It’ll come right! It had better.

    2. Scrivener doesn’t suit me with its fussy interface.

  16. joared says:

    Hope all tech is getting straightened out for you. My nightmare years occurred for a period of time over a decade ago with an old desktop I still have but don’t use — seems so-o-o slow now. My efficient little netbook’s battery won’t charge though I had recently finally installed a replacement, or boot up without it. Should take it to the doctor, I guess. Love my iPad Mini with retina but can’t write and post blog posts on it. My old laptop died but was finally rejuvenated when I mailed to my tech guru son — however, it is years past it’s life span, he cautions. He switched to Mac years ago. I’m trying to decide if I want to do the same.

    1. I don’t like the idea of nightmare years! Good luck with your next decisions.

  17. RS says:

    Well writte!

  18. 😆☺😊😊

  19. janowrite says:

    I’m using a ancient, Luddites-would-approve laptop, with another keyboard on top (coffee spill). Yet having very few problems. I didn’t even expect it to work!

    1. Love it. How ingenious.

  20. In a modern world, where many people have 100’s of logins and passwords, password managers, like 1password, are essential. And worth their weight in gold IMO

    1. I couldn’t manage without 1password for sure.

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