I'm comfortable with technology.
I love gadgets, I can find my way around most of the software I use, I embrace technological change.
I think we're living through an extraodinary time right now, with the advent of the Internet, and the huge benefits that digital technology can deliver to us.
But sometimes it just confounds me.
Yesterday was just such a day, when it seemed like technology wanted to “flip me the bird,” as they say in some circles in America.
First there was the tv.
All I wanted to do was watch episodes 11 and 12 in the final season of BREAKING BAD. I'd done the right thing and bought the entire season on iTunes. I didn't illegally download it. But do you think I could get it to play on my tv?
There was an issue of streaming, and “the cloud” and it took me 37 minutes to download the first of the episodes onto my tv. I then did the same with episode 12, and it took even longer.
Then when I came to play the episodes, it was as though I'd never pre-loaded them. I had to load them up again, which was going to take another hour or so.
By this stage it was getting late, so I went online, illegally downloaded the episodes off a torrent site, and Jennifer and I watched the shows – finally. I'd paid $25 for the season on iTunes, so I figured I hadn't deprived the show's royalty participants of any revenues. It was just more convenient to do it this way.
Then there was Evernote. I use Evertone all the time. It's software that takes notes and syncs them across my laptop, my desktop, my iPad and my iPhone. I've used it for years now, and it's fantastic.
I've been doing a typo and formatting revision of my book. It took me three days to do a complete sweep of the manuscript, and I noted down very tiny typo, grammatical error, and formatting error in the book.
I had about 5 pages of notes, which I intended to pass onto the formatter in the US.
The next day I got an email from him saying it would be easier (and cheaper) for me to do this work myself, and send him the completed revised manuscript.
OK, it would be tedious, but at least I had my notes.
Yesterday I went to Evernote, and they weren't there. That particular note had been truncated, with a message down the bottom of the page saying: Conflicting Modification On.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Three days work, lost.
First time this has ever happened to me with Evernote.
It will take me now another three days to do the work again. But each time you read a manuscript, you read it with different eyes, and I might miss some of the errors that I'd picked up earlier.
Like it or not, we live in a world that requires us to have a certain knowledge and level of understanding of technology.
Jennifer's mother is 85, and she's recently had installed into her house an emergency monitor which can detect if she's in trouble – had a fall, or a heart attack etc.
She came to pay for it, but the only method of payment was via the Internet, which she doesn't have or understand, or via credit card – again, which she doesn't have.
She keeps her money the old fashioned way, in a bank account in a bank, and that's how she wanted to pay – to go to the bank and pay in cash.
But it couldn't be done. It had to be either a credit card or an electronic funds transfer. It took Jennifer nearly a week, speaking to supervisors in Chennai, before she got it sorted.
Even the Camino isn't free of technological hassles. How do you keep in touch? Should you get a SIM card, how do you blog, why doesn't the wifi work – all these issues you have to deal with!
That's why a lot of people look on the Camino as being a tech-free zone – so that for a while, they can escape the petty frustrations that sometimes arise living in these exciting times of ours…