Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Electronic Gene by Marion Ekholm


Without getting too technical, I’ve learned I’m lacking an element in one of my genes: I’m an absolute incompetent in the area of electronics. The thought that my present cellphone could die, requiring me to learn something new, gives me tremors.  

Years ago I found a solution to my problem - children. It required labor pain, but fortunately both son and daughter had the proper genes. When my daughter was seven, she could fix the DVR recorder on her own. Recently, when the number 3 on my remote no longer worked (all the best channels on my TV included 3), my son suggested I get a new one. They actually sell those? And he programmed it for me, but couldn’t synchronize it with the DVR. Not to worry. He showed me all those buttons on the back of the TV where I could turn on the DVR. 

My remotes for the Fire TV Stick, my TV, the DVR and my hotspot phone.
For some reason (a gene thing again), one element of electronic information doesn’t translate into another for me. If there’s any similarities between TVs, cell phones, hotspots, Wi-Fi’s, IPhones, IPads, smartphones, smart pads, laptops, Bluetooth and the never ending list, I don’t get it. I’m constantly on the Internet looking for manuals that never came with the product or talking to someone I can barely understand on the other side of the world. I’ve tried checking out YouTube for demonstrations. Those that offer some potential help are played over and over again until I understand the procedure.

Recently I bought an Amazon Fire TV Stick. The directions looked simple enough, but nothing happened when I had it connected. Was my TV too old or the batteries that came with the product bad? I tried YouTube again and gave up when I couldn’t find any new information. I repacked the product, ready to ship it back when I mentioned the problem to my boss at the college. He remembered one of the teachers had taken something like that to a conference, and it worked. I tracked down the teacher and learned two things: 1. Wi-Fi has to be on (it’s the hotspot on my phone) and 2. The HDMI 1 or 2 (the one where the TV Stick is inserted) needs to be turned on. Yes, the HDMI is one of two buttons on the back of the TV! Obviously, these are things any one with the proper gene would automatically know, since neither one of these points was mentioned in the instructions.
The black Fire TV Stick is on the left, the buttons for turning on the HDMI are along the right side of the TV.




















I followed the teacher’s advice, and it works! I’m so proud of myself.
One unfortunate problem with writing – when an electronic device is included, it dates the book. You’ve seen those movies where the actor is holding a cell phone to his ear the size of a 6” Subway sandwich. Ugh! And it’s just as bad when the older devices are included in a book.

The electronic age is constantly changing. Has any of it given you problems or are you, unlike me,  “mechanically proficient?”

17 comments:

  1. I enjoyed your post, Marion!

    I’m competent with electronics but my husband is a whiz. To me they are a tool; to him, a source of amusement. If my gadgets are operable and functional I like to keep them for practicality reasons; my husband would love to always get me the newest gadget (as he does for himself).

    Having said that, I watch very little television and almost exclusively with my husband (and of course, he has all the bells and whistles for the TVs). It would be an interesting exercise to see if, with my degree in engineering and so-called technical competence, I could actually turn on the TV! :-D

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    1. I’m okay if someone shows me how to do something and I do it over and over. However, if time goes by without using the item, I end up having to totally relearn it all again. Why doesn’t this information stick with me?

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  2. I feel your pain. My frustration comes from eventually mastering a device only to find that another updated model is about to make my cherished gadget obsolete. I can't live without my IPAD mini, which is about 2 1/2 years old now. I'm sure I'll soon be told that certain downloads are no longer available for my model. I leave the t.v. and computer stuff to my husband to deal with. We must have at least 15 remotes in our house!! Like Kate above I rarely watch t.v., but when I do it's a war of the remote controls. How do they expect people to keep up with the expense of updating all of this stuff? Not to mention how to operate it.. Ugh.

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    1. I've had my iPad for a month and haven't had the chance to have someone program it. Next time I see my daughter…

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  3. I just upgraded my phone and lost my game points. I also lost my telephone photos. Arg

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    1. I can’t believe we’re become so attached to our phones. I check for mine every time I leave the house and go in a panic if I can’t find it.

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  4. Oh Marion, this is so me. I have to wait until one of my kids or grandkids visits in order to add any new device. I really need to replace my color printer right now, but I keep thinking if I buy one, the old cord won't fit the new printer, and if I have to unload my lateral files to get behind it to find the correct cord, what if I remove the wrong one? Sigh! I don't understand why they gave the "e" gene to kids and not advanced age adults. Double Sigh!

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    1. I’m with you. When I first wrote this blog, I thought everything was finally working. No way. I got one message after another from AT&T saying I was using up all my time on my phone with my Hotspot. Ended up having to get have Wi-Fi installed in my apartment.

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  5. I think this calls for a 12-step program, and I'll join you in being a charter member. I can turn on the TV and--unlike my husband--turn it off, but am not all that proficient at changing channels. Watching movies often requires the assistance of grandkids. (Even the 5-year-old is better at it than I am.) I enjoyed the post, Marion!

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    1. Grandkids can do wonders. I often go to them for help.

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  6. LOL, Marion. I often joke our house looks like a NASA satellite office. It's insane! And new stuff all the time. I felt behind the times when it took me until this year to use streaming. I don't have kids...perhaps I can train my cat to do it as we progress .

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    1. Streaming? What is that? Something new I have to learn?

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  7. Marion, this made me laugh because just a few days ago, my son's iphone ended up in the washing machine (he insists the cat put it there) so when he went with his dad for a replacement, they both ended up with new phones. Now, my husband has not had a 'new' phone in forever (still had the tiny flip cover ones), so he had no idea how to text. My sons have been trying to teach him how to navigate an iphone lol. I thought I was bad at tech stuff!

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    1. I loved the flip phone I used to have. It was simple to turn on and easy to use. Why does everything have to get more and more complicated?

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  8. My brother says if there is a computer glitch that I can find it. Case in point: someone demonstrated a new etail book site to me today and I clicked on a glitch. If the writing gig ever fails, I can always work at as a tester

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  9. I’m forever hitting the wrong section of the phone when someone calls. Instead of answering them, I put them or me on mute or hang up and have to recall them. There are times when I could throw my phone against the wall!

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  10. I'm not every "tech-savvy" either. I can't even text on my phone.

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