Thursday, September 24, 2009

Work it Baby!

My telly's bust.

I have used every available repair technique I know of, including waggling all the cables, unplugging them, putting them back in, waggling them again, and then shrugging with all my might, but even this formidable technical arsenal hasn't resolved the problem.

It might very well be unsolvable.

So far, I've not been massively bothered because programmes have become as tedious as ringworm lately. There's only so much amateur dancing, amateur singing, amateur cooking, amateur documentary making, amateur lottery ball picking and amateur news reading I can take before I start to whisper angry words at the TV and it begins to whisper back.

The lack of the Cbeebies channel might be a problem for my son, as Uncle Telly is a useful babysitter, usually available and non-complaining, just asking for an occasional dust and the undivided attention of our mentally stagnating offspring.

Still, it stops him getting kidnapped in the park, which is apparently what happens to children these days if they so much as glance out the front door unattended.

This lack of telly has meant we've had to find alternative ways of passing the time.

Completely unfair.

So, before I am again forced to go out in this pleasant sunshine and entertain my child by boringly showing him birds in the hedgerows, feeding ducks on the river and having a walk in the fields with a football, I will share a few words about technology.

It don't work.

Lot's of things don't work in this life.

I'm not talking about stuff that claims to do something but obviously doesn't, like homeopathy or Derek Acorah, but things that are designed and built according to genuine scientific and mechanical principles, based on years of sound theory and practise, and then decide to ignore all that and become nothing more than an expensive paperweight or desk ornament. Or, even more annoyingly, they only partially work so you don't know whether to replace them or not. Are you supposed to keep the toaster which doesn't pop up? The phone extension that only has a fifty-fifty chance of being in range? The DVD player that plays but doesn't record?

Although it's all technology, everywhere, that's mostly useless, a couple of more specific examples probably wouldn't go amiss.

Scart cables are a major source of annoyance for me. If it doesn't work, it's because it's a cheap one. If it still doesn't work it's because it's not made of gold. If it still doesn't work, it's because I have an incompatible piece of hardware, which makes me wonder why there's a scart-shaped hole in the back of it. If it still doesn't work it's because I haven't used the correct amounts of adder's fork and blindworm's sting, and my lizard's leg and howlet's wing are past their spell by date.

Anyway, it's always my fault apparently.

What about cars? They now have big grey plastic boxes where the engine used to be, and more processing power than the Apollo missions, so they're bound to go wrong on a regular basis. You can't just open up the bonnet and expect to fix an errant pipe or dodgy sprocket, because you need to get a man in very clean overalls to plug a laptop in just to identify the problem in the first place. That'll be ninety quid please. More if you want me to download the repair as well.

If I download anything from the internet, it won't work. I've never bought a computer game that you could just load up and play. There has always been hours of forum scanning and occasional phoning up of some sighing twenty-two year old obese virgin* who sighs at your inability to load up Spore, and eventually there is a fix which is so complicated it would've been easier to use the Rosetta Stone as a trouble-shooting manual.

Annoyingly, most people have learnt to adapt and overcome, teaching themselves about hard and software to a standard that might have amazed a younger version of themselves. I know computer helpline geeks have a field day with ignorant callers thinking the mouse is a pedal, and wondering where the "any" key is, but most of us now know how to turn something off and then on again, which is the basis for almost all computer repairs.

Even typing this blog entry, the copy and paste function won't work, so when I decided to replace a paragraph a bit further down the page, I had to write the whole lot out again.

Of course, mixing technology is simply going to exacerbate the situation. Connecting a mobile phone to the computer seems to be like trying to get a lion to mate successfully with an outboard motor, an unpleasant experience for all involved. Especially the lion.

On the rare occasion when something technological does its job and operates exactly (or as near as durn it) as it's supposed to, I am so overjoyed that I think it's the greatest thing ever devised, which has the paradoxical effect of making me so grateful for its normal functioning that I become momentarily re- smitten with gadgets. Then, rather than throwing out anything with a power source, I'm all enthusiastic about technology again.

For this reason, I thought I'd end with a picture off of t'internet which shows a state of the art DVD writer:


*He sounded obese anyway. And virginal.


  1. If my TV went bust, I'd have to send the kid next door to watch it. I simply cannot be expected to "play" outdoors. There's dirt out there, you know.

    My deepest sympathies on your loss.

  2. I'm a computer gal rather than a t.v. gal. Even though we have a giant flatscreen in our gameroom, I prefer to watch BBC crime drama blood on the wire or whatever it's called and work on crochet in the living room. I also listen to music from the computer and work at the computer. And it's the only place I talk to humans not Jeremiah or that share my DNA...I love my computer.

  3. The Jules,

    Remember those five quirks you asked me to list? Redundancy is on that list and for good reason. I will never subject myself to being a manual DVD Writer.

    Enjoy the weekend brother.


  4. I have been a geek, or rather a gadget affectionado, all of my life. And yet with all of this knowledge I have amassed through my over 50 years, I still get the cold sweats when faced with trying to get everything in my house to talk to each other. It's like they all are in a union of some sort.

  5. otherwordlyone - lol. Thak you for your commiserations, and welcome!

    erin - It's getting to the point where people set up their broadband connection before any other utility these days, innit?

    U - depends on how much it's paid. Writing is a lost art you know.

    SkylersDad - And they strike more than the French.

  6. Turning it on & off again is indeed the one solution that seems to fix all pieces of technology.

    Is your broken telly a flat-screen or a CRT? If it's a CRT, you could try kicking the side of it, that used to work on my dad's old TV. If it's a flat-screen, possibly animal sacrifice? I have less experience with fixing those.

  7. You have a lizard's leg? I'll bet that makes it hard to walk in a straight line.

    I hate technology and as I grow older I hate computers more and more, the amount of time wasted just fiddling with the damn things

  8. Soda and Candy - It's an old fashioned CTR one, and banging it just dislodged more dust. I think your platscreen repair technique is as good as anyone elses.

    Mo - On the plus side, it grows back everytime I lose it. Are you a technogrump now then?

  9. Would "waggle the cable" be the same as "jiggle the cord" ? (Thought it might be a new repair technique I missed..)

    Our toaster has only toasted one side of the bread for the last five years and I've grown to feel grateful for any bit of toastiness we get. I'm like the toaster's kicked dog, always coming back for the crumbs of technological affection.

    Or I'm too lazy to buy a new toaster.

  10. i was going to say just put a dvd on, sugar! but then i realized y'alls TELEVISION isn't working! y'all are really up the creek! i'm sorry! xoxoxo ;~D

  11. Vic - You crazy americanskis. I thought jiggling the cord was something midwives did.

    Savvy - I now have DVD capability, so my boy can watch Tractor Ted till the manure comes out of his ears!

  12. As a corollary to your 'technology sucks' immutable law, I think the problem with computers is that they do exactly what we tell them to.

  13. Are you serious? That's utter nonsense! There's nothing tedious about ringworm! It's very exciting! There's the pills you have to take, and the waiting for it to clear up...all thrilling in the highest degree!

  14. The one thing none of the commenters so far has said - which is crying out to be mentioned - is just how brilliant you are. I could read your stuff all day. This post was absolutely magnificent.

  15. Did you try kicking it? Hard?


  16. You forgot to thump it hard on the top like my dad used to do...worked for him!
    Oh I thought I was the only one that had those problems with technology.. So I'm not completely useless after all...we all are!LOL
    Actually I think they make these things harder than they need to be, just to make us feel inferior.

  17. Eric - Possibly, although I don't remember telling my laptop's keys to fall off.

    Imaginary Reviewer - I'd rather have ringworm than watch Big Brother. And I really mean that.

    Mr London St - Aw shucks. Glad you like it. We could start a mutual appreciation club!

    Pearl - Of course. They teach that in the first year at Telly College.

    Pash - Are we talking about the telly now?

  18. No tv leads to a lot of ukeing. My sympathy is with your missus. ;)

  19. You know you can (hint coming) watch TV on your computer. I'm not saying how as their are legal issues but there is a way to get a TORRENT of programmes LOADED DOWN to your computer. I'm told.

    I recently downloaded an illegal copy of the shield using BIT-TORRENT from BT Junkie and it was excellent.


  20. Judearoo - Ta for that. The missus was most amused by that cartoon, presumably by how innaccurate it was.

    Alex - lol; Moscow is clement in the Autumn.

  21. Man Jules,
    I know whut you mean, took me two years to get that word readin thingy off my screen, I still cant work my damned phone, the computer, hell i'll never figger this out.
    Onliest thing to do, bigger hammer, yep works ever time.

  22. Scart is a fiendish French invention to undermine the viewing pleasure of the British public....They never did get over Waterloo.

    It stands for Syndicat des Constructeurs d'Appareils Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs apparently.

    (PS. I'm not really a Francophobe)

  23. plainolebob - That's the sort of reprogramming I can relate to!

    Urbane warrior - If in doubt, blame it on the French. If it inconveniences the British, they'll probably be happy to take credit for it anyway.


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