Friday, 25 February 2005

Kak Teh vs Techie Thingies Part 1

I have waged this silent war with gadgets and gizmos for sometime now and its time to let it all out and declare an all out war. These thingies are invented to help us out and make our life easier, yet for me they served to do differently.

Take yesterday for example, I swear I must have demolished a whole forest before I could photocopy a decent page from a book. Either the top is lobbed off or the bottom half is amputated. At the end of the day, I had to cut and paste whatever I could salvage and the rest went into the recycle bin.

This is the new sophisticated photocopier in the department, which within a month of its arrival has had about three breakdowns.

Why can’t instructions be short and sweet? I, for one, do not have eyes for instructions. I go right when it says left, I pull doors when it says push but, hey, I do stop at lifting lifts. I am not that stupid.

Two weeks ago, I was ready to let go a kungfu kick at the ATM machine in Queensway. I have always had this phobia of ATM machines, not least because I fear the manager’s hand might appear out of the screen and catch hold of me for some obvious reasons. But this incident really took the biscuit.

Before I could even punch in my pin number , the wretched machine swallowed my card. Cold and hungry, I phoned up the bank only to talk to an answering machine asking security questions. I finally cancelled my card, making a mental note that the last transaction was £4.70 at the tube station.

Still worried, I called the bank again but because the computer heard me wrong, refused to give anymore information. I was already on the warpath because this happened right after a fight my hubby had with the automatic cashier at Tesco.

He is one who will test his wits against the might of any new inventions and so couldn't resist this auto cashier sitting there demurely waiting for us to put our purchase in the plastic bags, which under any normal circumstances would defeat the most genius of minds in cracking the code to splice them open.

Anyway, there we were scan, plonk, scan, plonk until we decided to check the products that we had plonked into the bag. That was when all hell broke loose. People began to stare as the wretched auto cashier started screaming (that was how it sounded to me): Suspicious item in bag, Please remove item. Suspicious item in bag. Please remove item.

We sure looked like shoplifters being caught redhanded as an assistant came to check what we had done. Apparently, once you put an item in, you are not supposed to take it out. Putting it back in will confuse dear stupid auto cashier. Hubby took offence to nagging auto cashier and said: oh shut up, after which an argument between human beings followed.

It must also be the same gizmo who dealt with my library books at the uni then. My account said I borrowed two books which were totally irrelevant to my course. I am doing Traditional Malay Literature but I had two books on Japanese checked out in my name. But of course, the half human almost machine behind the counter at first insisted the computer must be right until she saw that I was turning the colour of Hulk, muscles bursting out of my coat and all.

Sure, I do admit there are advantages of gadgets and gizmos. Take this blogsite for example..a place for me to vent out my anger. Even then, sometimes, I think it takes its revenge by freezing the screen. I have lost several beautifully composed features this way. Aaah, and many potential bestsellers too...

And of course, I am thankful for my new smart card IC! One swipe and it told me how much I had in my EPF savings!!! Soon, it'll tell me how much I don't have.

So, cards, passports, bank books are getting smarter nowadays. I went back to open an account. A young and eager clerk was helping me with what seemed a simple enough procedure. I was told to sign on the dottted lines. "Sign kuat-kuat sikit kak", he said helpfully. And I dutifully did as told.

When I received my brand new book, I was appalled that my signature, which I thought I had impressed quite hard onto the paper, did not appear. I offered to do it again, but the young clerk turned away, apparently to hide his smile. My friend, the bank manager, who was there to speed up the procedure, was quite embarassed and told me later that the signature was in fact invisible. Oh, gitu.....

But you know these smart thingies can have lapses in their memory too. Look at the queue at the airport. The line with old manual passport holders usually get processed first while people with new pasports containing the chips had to swipe several times before seeking help from the officers there.

There'll be more. There's one about my fight with the automatic flush toilets. I am not about to admit defeat. Not yet.


Captain Barbell said...

share with us the xperience with the auto flush toilets !!!!


MakNenek said...

oh yes, I second that paul! kakz, i too had a taste of growing up with manual typewriters, pagers and hand written I can't live without a pc (it was a marriage requirement!), a mobile ..but I've not yet succummed to PDA's and navigators. Now I just learn to use what i need. The rest, like you, I leave it to dear husband to figure... hehehe

iJun said...

Ala kak teh... bagi la chance hehe.

atenah said...

i have decided loooong ago to stay low tech. the fact that i know how to switch on a computer is miraculous. it took me 2 yrs before i switch it on. the computer table was more useful to me, that's where i park my purse, books, folders etc. i finally decided to get acquainted with the computer when i plan to do my 2nd degree, out of necessity. now i'm blogging. will i ever venture to pdas, abcs and xyzs. think not!

Mingalababya said...

These so called smart devices are only as smart as the software that controls it. The software engineer for the automatic cashier at Tesco may need to add the follwing lines of code in the software, Kak Teh!

--> if { hubby takes out goods from shopping bag already scanned in } ;

---> then { get wife to give him a clip behind the ear } ;

---> else { be prepared for major embarrassment by onlookers }

:D hahahhaha ...

After having visited S'pore recently, which is the automation capital of Asia, if not the world, I had the pleasure of riding in a driverless train (LRT); everything from the purchase of the ticket, to the checking and verification of the ticket, to the driving of the train to my destination, to the opening and closing of doors and window shades, were all automated without any human intervention at all. No doubt the government saves on having to pay wages to those who had previously done these tasks but whether this is good for society or not is another matter; sometimes we just need humans to interact with and say "hi" and "thankyou" to.

Bustaman said...

Here is my theory on fuzzy instruction manuals. The original instructor who gave the first instruction did not write it himself. He would mumble something to another person who might or might not write it all down. The mumbling would be done in the inventor/instructor's mother tongue (could be Ainu if the gadget is made in Japan or classical Korean if it is made in Korea.) Then subsequently everything will be lost in translation.

Mutiara said...

Nak kata taubat tak mau guna auto cashier tu, dak la... but if there is a checkout counter manned by a human, I would rather join the line.

MA said...

Kak Teh : Long before the invented the remote control, we had the TV with the big knob that you turn -ketekk..ketekk..ketekkk...- to the right channel.

A relative of mine used to cabut the knob positioned at her favourite channel taht will be showing Hindi movies, before her hubby could "save" his at the Wresling channel which falls on the same day/time.

Oh, those good 'ol days when things were simpler.

Kak Teh said...

Paul: yes, one day!! hehe
maknenek: no PDA's no prog organisers
iJun: u are one of those techie geeks, kan?
atenah:yesm it seems that its a necessary evil nowadays
bro ming: u've been an angel...u've taught me a lot. First with FTPing and all that!!!
Pok Ku - how true..I think best to throw away instruction and use common sense.
mutiara: that's what we did on the last trip to Tesco.
makandeh: we have a remote control too - me!

d'arkampo said...

i don't want clever conversation,
i never want to work that hard
i just someone that i can talk to
i just want u the way you are..

(Singing this Billy Joel's song when the phone's automated voice goes : untuk pilihan bahasa melayu, sila tekan satu, untuk bahasa Inggeris, sila tekan 2, untuk bla bla bla...tekan tiga..)

Sunflora said...

Kak Teh,

Hehehe I do share some of the struggles with you. Unfortunately automated payment systems has been our periuk nasi so I do hope its here to stay. But more than anythign else the people within the industry know that its full of faults and weakneses but the middle users think that the computers in always right even when its wrong. And us the end users, I guess we just have to be really careful not to get swindled.

Take care and smile when that machine goes beep at tesco.

Nadia said...

kakteh i share your sentiments about the gizmos and gadgets though it did make me think.....

during the old times when we had less 'advanced' gizmos, we were using them with ease, we didn't complain but maybe...maye the older generations at THAT time thought the same way we do now about out ever advancing technology.

So is it a matter of advancing technology reaching the conitnuously ultimate rung of the ladder or simply a matter of getting used to it? hehehehehe

psychologically..changes wreak havoc on our bodily systems....and having to adjust to the changes in our world is very harrowing too in a way.

atiza said...

imagine there's no ATM..
QUEUE.. long the cashier's counter..
d*mn that constipated bank!

*waiting for the auto toilet story*

Nadia said...

kakteh...that's not my new blog...dah delete dah blog yg lama tu the same as that one tp without the '2'.

shidah said...

kak teh: i used to have handphone that merely can call, sms & little games - till one day I decided to buy a bit canggih phone that cost me RM1.3k, tu pun sbb dpt durian runtuh. Just abt a week, b4 I could get to know it better, it got stolen....... Waaaa!!!! High tech is just not meant for me.....

Kak Teh said...

kampo: unfortunately, do those as well..
atiza:ya, ya, i can imagine that!!
sunflora: its the beeps that usually make me jump.
nadia: am still adjusting. am sure will get there, obne day.
shidah: so macam mana?

budakkampong said...

kak teh,

i am a little late here but anyway... i still don't understand why people wants a video game, a phone, a digital camera and a computer in a phone. a phone is used to comunicate. a camera is used to take pictures and a video game is for fun. why must it be together? the question which i have yet to get from any manufacturer.

i bet this kind of phone was invented by a guy who does not trust his wife. he invented the phone to keep track of his wife. so everytime he calls his wife and ask her where she is, he would actually ask her to send pictures of the place she said she's at...