Sometimes it seems like there’s no middle ground with technology. You’re either riding the wave at the cutting edge … or woefully behind the 802.11 ball. You’re flashing your iPad and Flip Video … or, well, there is no “or” is there really.
Ordering consumables for anything older than a year can be a thankless task — as I found to my shock/embarrassment when ordering a printer cartridge recently.
“Oh, we don’t stock those any more … it’s not in the catalogue. It’s a wonder that old model is still working …” (Or words to that effect.)
When I needed a new battery for an old cellphone a while back, a quick rummage in the recycle bin found what I needed. But generally, there’s no O.L.D. in I.C.T.
I’m reminded of a Not the Nine O’Clock News comedy sketch entitled “Gramophone”. There’s this poor guy (played by Mel Smith) wanting to buy a gramophone to play his records on and a couple of “Smart Alecs” (Rowan Atkinson and Griff Rhys Jones) saw this as the perfect opportunity to show up his lack of tech knowledge and gave him the run-around with the audio terms of the day — Dolby, amp, rumble filter, woofers and tweeters, etc. Very funny. Except for the person ending up with egg on his face … or, in this case, Slimline salad dressing.
Remember this was first broadcast by the Beeb in the very early ‘80s — so things don’t change.
What actually got me thinking about it was an incident that happened the other day. I’d run out of a few things — milk, bread, and some other innocuous items — and had to nip down to the local dairy.
So, there I was standing in the queue, trying not to squash my bread, when this guy shuffles up to the counter. He’s got this enormous shoulder bag swaying around and he bashes a couple of other customers in the process. It’s one of those photography bags that you can carry all the gear around in — and try to look like you know what you’re doing. Anyhow, he interrupts the cashier.
“Do you sell camera film?” he asks. “Huh?” “Camera film?” “Ca-me-ra film …” she replies slowly. It wasn’t a particularly high-brow conversation, as you can imagine. However, not an unreasonable request, I guess. The place sells all sorts of stuff, although, apparently not camera film.
“Have you tried the antique shop?” said the cashier, quick as a flash and straight-faced, too.
The guy thought for a moment — we all thought for a moment. Then I got it. The guy turned and left in a huff (so, I guess he got it as well).
Now if that’s not a put down for having “old” technology, in this case camera film, then I don’t know what is! All she had needed to add was “Granddad” at the end, and it would have been the perfect punchline.
Still, it made me smile.