Sunday, January 10, 2010

2010 and the long tales of luddite woes

Someone on facebook was bemoaning the lack of photos thus far in Paris' life. And I must admit photos have been few and far between.

Its not like I can just grab 'Salina's photos from the same age and pretend - 'Salina had a full set of Winston Churchill jowls below cow lashes, a definite browline and a mowhawk that set off black, black eyes. Said photos are so "last century" that rarely was a disc given with processing! Also, they are all in a box downstairs - amongst all my other boxes awaiting me to just finish the current project and get around to putting them on the priority list of putting into easy to locate albums...

Paris is a totally different kettle of fish - even the few shots I do have of her (and really, apart from the over-exposed one you saw last post, only those taken by Bush Babe are worthy of posterity) I have to consciously remember to print to even have a paper version to put into a box to contemplate albuming. Also, she is far fairer than her big sister, with her short back-and-sides is remaining firmly at fuzz length, eybrows so blond they can only be seen at the right angle, blond lashes (that will cost her a fortune in mascara options one day) and is currently heading a little more in the Pavorotti direction rather than Winston.

But I did not want to blog about the centre of the universe again today - well, not overly. Instead, I want to tell you WHY there are no new photos being generated (apart from the basic inability to tick any projects off the list).

It began at Christmas. We were anticipating a far more organised Christmas than most years as far as organising presents was concerned (yes, please ignore the wrapped presents on the sideboard still waiting to be sent to people - they too are waiting for photos). Waiting an extra 13 days for your big present will do that if you get your timing right.

Included in the stash under the tree was a set-top box for the family, and a bundle of iPod nano accessories (to go with the iPod nano) for 'Salina, all courtesy of Santa Claus (who was also strangely more organised this year).

Of course, by the time actual Christmas landed, the overorganisational capabilities of the parents of this establishment had been well and truly exhausted, but the fruits of such were ready to be harvested.

There was a great deal of glee in the opening of the gifts, and then - well, then there was a gnashing of teeth.

First was the accessories pack - 20 things to make your iPod experience better. Of course we knew that was a furphy to begin with, as 20 things in a pack generally means you end up with about half a dozen things and the cords to attach, but still, that would have been fun. No? How about 5 things? 4? Well, and of all the options, how many worked?

That would be right - the armband holder was a hit. Unfortunately the speaker system, the docking station and the remotey thing (hey, folks, I was only days post-partum and not the technician on duty) failed to even remotely work.

The batteries that were included (that would be 2 of the 20 items, no doubt) had not a snicker of life in them, and that would be when we could really pinpoint the right-hand turn into complete farce this particular adventure took - because then, V found we had no spare batteries (its amazing how a pack of 18 can dwindle when you take advantage of such riches too often) and decided to test it with the batteries from the camera. Unfortunately that also failed - but not in a "oh, turned it on and it doesn't work" way but in more of a "expletive deleted the battery is stuck and will not go in or out any further" way.

The good news is, V found some other rechargeable batteries in the back of the cupboard for the camera. The bad news is they were put there because they were the old rechargeable batteries taken from the camera because they no longer worked as efficiently as they might. This I found out AFTER the accessories pack had been returned to the store and the new (and not cheap) rechargeable battery stuck in the remotey thing remained stuck and no longer in our possession. In fact, this I really found out when a fantastic shot of the newest daughter was forever lost in the mists of time as the camera did its "dying swan" at the wrong moment and all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place in my befuddled mind.

It that were the sum of our technical disasters this festive season we would still consider ourselves ahead of the 8-ball, as we have a high technical disaster threshhold, especially during the festive season. You will notice that I also mentioned a set-top box coming from the fat guy from the North Pole?

That detail was not just to highlight in what esteem we are held by Big Red, but as a pointer to another future technical disaster - sort of like spooky music in a movie.

Back story - somewhere in Canberra a clever-dick has decided that the perfectly capable analog television networks must be all converted to digital - to stop planes falling out of the skies or encourage Martian communication or some such reasoning - and we must do it ASAP. Of course, this decision was made some time ago, and the timeline for this change has been stretched so people such as the family d'Paradise who never upgrade anything until their hands are forced have remained perfectly happy with the old system.

And we would have continued to be perfectly happy, except that the faint "things will change" government messages regarding our television have morphed into more panicky "things WILL change soon" messages, and the first market to brave the full conversion will be regional Queensland. This is how we know people in Canberra have a sense of humour, because if ever a market was primed to be such a guinea pig, it was not regional Queensland. So to the tune of Canberra cackles, sales of set-top boxes and plasma screens have skyrocketed in Paradise (and far-flung surrounding areas).

So with hand suitably forced, our first foray into the Digital Television revolution began - and ended - on Boxing Day. It seems that buying a set-top box was not enough, we needed to buy a WORKING set-top box. Also, there appears to be a difference between "Standard Definition" and "High Definition", although we don't know what as all information available is on the latter and we had the former.

It was a fun day in Big Smoke near Paradise for V, as he returned technological gifts courtesy of Santa and upgraded or refunded all to try for round two.

Round two involved many wires (some of which were pinched off other devices as there never seemed to be as many in reality as there were in diagrams) and attempts to tune - to end up with the same result - a non-working set-top box. We are unsure if this is because (a) it doesn't work, (b) we have wires configured wrong, (c) we need another part (like a digital antenna, as one online forum helpfully suggested) or (d) its just messing with our minds.

On top of that, our two DVD players have died sudden deaths with the humidity associated with bucketing rain and high temperatures (although one has resurrected, thank goodness), which can be added to the list of all stereo components save static radio that are no longer functional entertainment options.

Thank goodness for card games.

So - what gizmo successes have you had this season? Please cheer me with news of successes and allow me optomistic glimpses into the possibilities.


Anonymous said...

Well our foray into the digital TV age has been, thus far, successful. We went the whole hog with a new LCD telly and all, and it sounds like we've been spared the set top box issues.
However, if it'll make you feel any better, the tally is now up to THREE of electronic items that I have touched that have inexplicably gone haywire. My desktop 'puter just before we went away, and which still hasn't come to its senses upon our return. The kids' desktop computer was working fine till this morning when I went to use it - then it turned itself off, tried to reboot, and can't. And the washing machine took one look at the post holiday washing loads piled up in the laundry, and decided that it would hang at the spin cycle (or rather, the pumping out the water cycle).
So, I sympathise, empathise and all that.

Anonymous said...

PS. That was meant to say, "My desktop 'puter went into a coma just before we went away.."

Jayne said...

Techno success?
What on earth is that?!

Jen at Semantically driven said...

I don't want to jinx anything. Got an LCD telly also, and also bought a Tivo which is all setup and working (knock on wood).

Debby said...

I honestly don't believe that I've ever won a gadget match. Ever.

Oh. And our foray into digital TV. We live out in the middle of the jingweeds, so that is probably most of the problem (although we are at the top of a mountain, and by golly, you think that would help...), but the fact is, Jeanie, we went from 4 grainy television stations to no television at all. Nothing. We went online to find out what antennae (in addition to the set box we'd purchased). We are in a no reception area. We're screwed. And we are too big a tightwad to spend 80 a month on satellite.

There is no winning the war on technology. None.

I've been tweaking a bread recipe all week. Yesterday, I made my fifth batch of bread this week. Homemade bread is a wonderful consolation for Luddites.

Mary O. Paddock said...

How very frustrating. A Christmas without pictures? Oh arg. On the other hand, you've got that amazing little one to cuddle . . .

But I can relate to technological headaches. We're kind of into computers and gadgets in this house. I know what it is to want to shove your hands into the guts of some computer and rip out its still throbbing CPU, fan and all.

The only gadget I received this year was an MP3 Player that I just love. It an download playlists from my computer and everything. It even has an FM tuner. I use it a lot.

We watch our TV by way of the internet and Netflix. We hooked a computer to our TV. No box. No antenna. No satellite bill. Simple, direct video on demand. Few or no commercials. Not anywhere near Luddite, but uncomplicated. No unwelcome ads. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

It might be a good time toe teach Salina how to play chess--help build on her already brilliant mind. :)


Makes me glad I didn't understand most of the tech stuff.
I run screaming from the room when anything new needs to be hooked up or figured out.

Wishing you success soon.

Farmers Wifey said...

Life would be a bitch if my dvd player died.....