Monday, January 05, 2009

Back to Basics

When it comes to technology, I’m a right old dinosaur. I’m the sort of person who will show up at a SingTel shop and ask if they’ve a phone that dials out and receives phone calls. “That’s all,” I tell them firmly. “I don’t want anything with games, GPS, music, alarm, camera, diary, calculator functions, nothing. Nothing,” I repeat.

“Please don’t tell people that I live with you,” Saffy once begged me after a particularly painful visit to the SingTel shop during which I must have looked at every single model they had and said no to every single one. The one I wanted had been discontinued. Four years ago.

I don’t care what people say. A phone is just meant to make calls. That’s all. If it does anything more than that, it’s got no business being called a phone. “It’s the same with a vibrator,” I told Saffy recently over breakfast, trying to look for an example that would make sense to her. “Why, for instance, would you want one that also has an alarm clock function?” I asked.

Saffy sat up straighter, eyes wide open. “Shut. Up. They make them with alarm clocks? Oh my God, that’s perfect because sometimes I fall asleep while using mine!”

Amanda looked up from her Hello! magazine and stared at Saffy who shifted a little under the strength of the gaze. “Do not tell people that I live with you,” she said which led Saffy to later complain privately that it’s no wonder Amanda is still single. “She’s so bossy!”

My point is, technology is not my best friend. It took me the longest time to get an iPod and even longer to work out how to load songs onto it. Of course, once I got the hang of it, I sat up all night loading music and, at last count, I had over 4000 songs on it.

But leave it to some kill-joy to rain on my parade.

“Hey, how often do you back up your iPod?” my best friend Karl asked me the other day. We were walking from Borders to lunch at Paragon. I stopped in the middle of the road, causing a little human traffic jam to swirl around me. As often happens when the conversation turns technical, my heartbeat went up a little. “Back up? What do you mean?”

Karl walked back and pulled me along. “You know, like you back up your computer so all your documents are safe. How often do you back up your iPod?”
I was astonished. Though now that I think about it, I’m astonished that I was astonished in the first place.
“How do you back up an iPod?”
“Well, I normally back up my iTunes to an external hard-drive,” Karl said. “But I guess as long as you’ve got all your songs in the library, that should be fine. You’re looking at me funny. Why?”
“I know you’re speaking English because I recognise the words, but really, I have no idea what you just said.”

“What don’t you understand?”

“Well, for starters, I don’t have iTunes,” I said patiently. “I have an iPod.”

Barney Chen said that that night, Karl rang him to wonder how I ever managed to get out of the house. “He was going on and on about how easy it was to sync this and do that, it made me very dizzy to be honest with you. He’s so butch!” Barney said adding thoughtfully, “He’s almost more of a man than that dreadful harpy he’s married to.”

I’ve not stopped complaining since then that not only have I had to learn how to load my songs, I now also have to learn how to save them. “It’s ridiculous!” I said to Saffy.

“I don’t understand why you don’t have all your songs on your laptop anyway,” she said, patently pretending that she knew what she was saying, which aggravated me even more.

“Because I didn’t want to use up all that space. I thought 4000 songs would take up a lot of space. So I deleted them!”

“Not if you just use the laptop for word processing. It’s not as if you use a lot of applications or do a lot of programming,” Saffy said fluently. This, from the girl who, until recently, was seen trying into attach an alarm clock to her personal lifestyle device, as she’s decided to call her vibrator.

“If this works, I’ll be so rich I’ll never have to work another day in my life!” she said as she fiddled with bits of wire.

Amanda says that if Saffy electrocutes herself, we’re evicting her.

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