Readers: This is a repeat of a 2009 musing. I hope you still find it enjoyable.
Christmas is gone but it still is giving – giving not gifts but headaches. Specifically, it is the technology that Santa has dropped off that is giving me a headache. That technology came in the guise of a new iPod, a digital picture frame and a portable XM radio for my wife’s car.
Gone are the days of simply slipping Tab A into Slot A then proceeding to B and C. Those days went out with Morse code toys and secret encoding rings. Today each item is accompanied with a User’s Manual and, because they know how obtuse those are, a Quick Start pamphlet. For most of us even those are not much help.
I was able to read and understand that the digital picture frame needed an SD card (I knew what that was from previously having bought a digital camera which required one). However at the store all they had were SDHC cards which the sales person assured me would work. I was beginning to get a headache.
Fortunately the cure for my immediate headache was my son and grandson who are much more familiar with all that technology. I returned home and unleashed them on both the picture frame and the IPod (now ancient). Within short order they had both working and told me how simple they were to use. As for the XM radio, it seemed they tore half the car apart but within an hour that was working as well. Shortly thereafter they left to return home, leaving me to my own devices to actually use the gifts.
As for the digital picture frame, I had to insert the SDHC card into my computer (that wasn’t bad – it was like sliding Tab A into Slot A). Then I had to first select pictures from the thousands we have on our PC, download them to the card then insert it into the slot on the frame (good old Slot X). I then turned it on and hit the menu button – a big mistake. I was presented with a list of options that made me weak at the knees. A cursory glance and I knew that was a mistake, so I just hit the start button and let it display the pictures however it wanted.
As for the IPod, in addition to the features on the old IPod, it also has an FM radio and a pedometer. I tried to work through the menu to use those features and gave up. I told my wife since it was hers, she could figure them out. I suspect they might never be used.
Finally came the XM radio. In our other car it is built-in so using it is simple. On this one we have to individually add the stations for the memory buttons. When my wife is ready I’ll read the Quick Start pamphlet to her and again let her work things out. If all I had to do is slide Tab A into Slot A, I could have handled it.
So another Christmas has past and I am left to wonder what technological challenges Santa will bring next year. I do recall having written about Christmas memories and how I miss the days of my childhood at Christmas. Now I realize that part of what I miss from those good old days is sliding Tab A into Slot A.