Technology eh


I think most regular readers will know I’m a huge fan of Apple’s technology and we are very fortunate to own a range of their stuff. People will also know I’m not the most capable technologically. It’s an odd thing for someone who spent 30 years working in the telecoms/mobile/broadband industries to admit to, but there you are. I spent all that time marketing services and facilities (and mostly successfully I think) about which I had little idea on how it all worked. I didn’t really care to be honest as I had enough colleagues, friends and family members who’d always get me out of a technological cul-de-sac. Thankfully.

I was a member of the last generation that went through the education process whose primary technical aides were a protractor and set of log tables. I had a slide rule but I’d be a liar if I told you I was anything like an expert with it. So computers were completely alien to me. In fact I had one on my desk for several years but as I had a secretary who could read and advise me about all my messages, I only ever used this expensive bit of kit as a box on which to stick post-it notes.  I once went on a computer literacy training course and I nearly drove a tutor to distraction when I picked him up on his first instruction and asked what he meant by ‘booting up’ the computer. To me it meant kicking the crap out of it which rather appealed.

But I’ve always found my techy ignorance/incompetence annoying. I’m actually quite a bright bloke but I have to learn computer stuff in particular in a linear fashion. Step by step because it’s not intuitive to me. It’s like teaching a caveman. But once I’m shown and understand a process it’s logged in the memory banks for ever. And over time I’ve surprised myself by actually become quite adept at using digital technology. Well maybe a little bit handy. And I’m very cute at posing questions on user forums and the like about how to solve/overcome problems.

But there’s one thing that has beaten me on my Apple devices; how to send videos taken on any of our devices to somewhere else. You may recall that I’m writing a blog on my youngest grandson’s time with us and have taken any number of videos of him doing his first crawling, walking and watching the deer in Bushy Park, following the peacocks in Kew Gardens etc. And can I transfer them to the wordpress-based blog site? Nada. I’ve set up movie files and the like and even tried to upload stuff to Youtube so that I can download to the blog but nothing works.

It’s sort of come to a head over the last few days when one of my oldest friends, S, had his 60th birthday. He lives in Connecticut and we simply weren’t able to fly over to join him and the family for the celebrations. For one thing I’m pretty uninsurable now and the USA is one place where becoming ill and being hospitalised is not advisable without medical cover. But I’d promised to record a truly gushing and well-intentioned good wishes message and send it over discreetly to his lovely wife, M, so that she might be able show it to the dinner guests or something and embarrass my mate with our declarations of affection over the monster steaks.

Now I’d set up the mini ipad in the kitchen cupboard so it could record me at head height and I managed to say some pleasant words over a couple of minutes or so all in one take. Happy days? Er no. What a bloody faff  I’ve had trying to get the video sent over to the US. It’s a couple of minutes or so long but it takes up 280 Mbits of space. Apple’s proprietary software doesn’t allow you to attach video files to an e-mail message. So I downloaded some off-the-shelf software called My Transfer or something to enable me to package the video up and send it over to the US. I sent it to his wife, no joy, to his son’s dropbox, no joy, to my mate directly, no joy. Each despatch took over an hour to process because of the size of the file.

After much frustration I’ve now established my own dropbox account (don’t ask if you don’t know) which the younger members of my family swear by and loaded the film (which took well over another hour to process) and invited my friend to share the film’s file. By all accounts it should work. But thanks to Apple’s synchronisation techniques I now have the same video loaded onto each of my Apple devices, occupying huge chunks of available memory space. Nevermind, it’ll be worth it once he receives it. However there’s been no word from my mate that he’s been able to access the file at long last. So I guess he hasn’t. Sigh. But at least I can view myself on 4 separate devices gushing like an Oscar-winning actress.

This has taken me a week now. Why is it so difficult? I’m toying with the idea of trying to upload the file to a USB stick and mailing it to the US ie in a paper envelope and sending it through the Tudor-established postal system but that feels so counter-intuitive in a digital age. There must be a solution but I’m buggered if I can find it. The issue now is that my pal is ageing by the day and what seemed like a heart-felt and contemporary little birthday message 7 or 8 days ago is now increasing looking irrelevant and outmoded.

Bloody, bloody technology. I love it and hate it in equal measure. It’s like driving around the sodding M25 at 10pm and at 8.30am. If anybody has a suggestion please feel free to send it via a stamped-addressed envelope or via a Telemessage to frustrated of Twickenham.



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