Thursday, 8 March 2012


It's not that I can't manage digital technology; it's that I am the wrong generation. When something complicated confronts me on, say, the computer, there is this huge barrier lowered like the old theatre safety curtains, and on it is printed, in large letters: YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DO THIS. SMALL CHILDREN CAN, BUT NOT, REPEAT NOT, YOU. BECAUSE ARE TOO STUPID.

I remember years ago trying to persuade my grandmother to use a phone box. Just a receiver, and button A and button B. Simple. But no. Not simple at all. Brought up at a time when there were no cars or phones, Granny had come a long way, but that was as far as she was prepared to go. Button A and button B were far too complicated. She wasn't going near them, thank you very much. What was the world coming to?

Now, at last, I know how she felt. She was feeling exactly the same as I do when people talk about servers and widgets. I DON'T UNDERSTAND. I get stuck. I get frustrated. And I feel like a total idiot.

Fortunately, I have a very patient husband, technical wizards for sons, and some very helpful blogging friend ( step forward, Jinksy and Dr. FTSE). But will I ever be able to go,it alone?

I think of Granny, trembling outside the telephone box, rigid with fear.

I don't hold out a lot of hope.


  1. If you think you can't then you can't. If you think you can (and want to) the chances are you can. My basic rule of coaching. I have a friend who wouldn't switch her computer on without help (exaggeration of course) but now she does all sorts of things she said she'd never be able to do and more besides (she has to because her helper lives for 6 months in New Zealand).

  2. I find it ridiculous how things get more complicated. My dear old mum had a VCR which had a remote control with large colour coded buttons. The on screen instructions were clear and straight forward. When it broke down, could we get her another like it? Of course not - they stopped making it. Someone probably realised their mistake in making something easy to use and ceased production immediately!

    I think there is someone out there whose job it is to make life as complicated and difficult as possible for the rest of us!

  3. Having had my rant, I do think GB has a good point :-)

  4. You're not alone with this! Some computery things I manage just fine and others totally confuse me.

  5. I've just decided that we live in a world where more means a lot less in everything. I.E I have a wonderful camera that takes great pictures. I don't have to send my films away any longer, I have instant pictures in colour at a click of my computer button. I can make a slideshow of the wonderful things I see and share online with other people around the world in seconds, but no I can't.
    More is Less!

  6. I can relate to this! Though I too agree with GB and will be applying his advice in future. :-)

  7. You are definitely not alone, Frances. But I think we are all talented at different things. Although I'm hopeless with technology and can't even find channels on the TV or sort out basic computer problems, my skills and interests lie elsewhere. In fact, I was also pretty inept with the A and B thing in public phones! Technology just isn't my sphere.
    I think my husband and daughters enjoy it when I need their help. It's fun for them to know things they can teach me or show me. Or sometimes simply do for me, because I don't have the patience with it! I have told them off for occasionally making incredulous sounds that I don't already know these things, however! And I have to explain about the generation thing, comforting myself with the belief that when they're in their fifties, their children will know a new set of amazing things that their parents will struggle with!

  8. I sympathise, but have to say I like techie things and often have to rescue husband! My sister is ten years older than me and doesn't really make the effort, yet a dear friend (female) who is even older has embraced every new piece of technology and uses it well.

    So, maybe it's not so much an age thing as the fact we're all 'wired' differently.

  9. I should have added that I know a lady in her 90s who treats her computer with less fear and more knowledge than many youngsters I know!

  10. I feel a bit like that sometimes but I try to work it out quietly by myself then if I can't do it I can feel like a dinosaur in private.

  11. Oh GB, you put me to shame. I'll try to think positive...

    Teresa, your mother reminds me of my father. Every time he tried to record a programme on his old VCR, he recorded the 9 o'clock News by mistake. To this day, I've no idea how he managed it.

    Patsy, you're a genius compared with me!

    Jarmara, I've got a camera like that, and I can't, either!

    Diane, maybe I'll invite GB to give seminars on this blog. How about it, GB?

    Joanna- "my talents lie elsewhere". I shall tell myself that every time I feel like flinging the computer at the wall.

    Rosemary, I think maybe you have to interested in things technical, and however hard I try, I'm just not!

    GB - see offer above!

    Good idea, Colette. At least that way you save face.

  12. I can usually understand in the end, but it's boring, boring, boring, boring boring . I suspect kids and teenagers don't find it boring because they're thinking in those terms already - whatever those terms actually are. I suspect I keep making elementary errors, like not knowing what things are actually called.

  13. Jenny, boring! That's the word! I knew I had missed something out.

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  15. I take it as a considerable compliment Frances. Thank you. What I would be qualified to give seminars on I'm not sure. My days as a fencing coach are long over. I could coach croquet of course. But it's not quite a bloggy subject. I assume you were referring to technology but in any case I also assume you jest.

    Judging by Jenny's comment the audience would be small in any case.

    Seriously, though, I tend to be a hands on solver of problems for my friends rather than a teacher.