Re­vealed: the things about tech and the in­ter­net that an­noy our colum­nist the most

T3 - - Contents -

Dun­can Bell bangs on about six things in tech that are bug­ging him this month – emo­jis and

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Con­nected-home tech is ex­pen­sive, and there are too many com­pet­ing sys­tems

Un­doubt­edly, tech­nol­ogy is su­per. It brings peo­ple closer to­gether, makes us more in­formed and keeps us en­ter­tained, through the medium of screens of var­i­ous sizes, en­cased in rec­tan­gles of plas­tic. But it’s not all golden, is it? On any given day, I’m an­noyed at least six times by tech, and these are my techy pet hates right now…

1. Fan­boys

I dis­like ev­ery­thing about fan­boys, in­clud­ing the word ‘fan­boys’ it­self. Be­ing a foot­ball fan is one thing. With that, I can at least see that there’s a strong el­e­ment of sup­port­ing your home town, and I like the way it lets you share cathar­tic, com­mu­nal ex­pe­ri­ences – like shout­ing, “You’re so shit, it’s un­be­liev­able” at peo­ple from a dif­fer­ent town.

Be­ing a ‘fan’ of spe­cific tech brands – and hence be­ing anti other tech brands (usu­ally Ap­ple) – is sim­ply mad. These multi-bazil­lion-dol­lar com­pa­nies don’t care about you. And if you think own­ing (or boy­cotting) their prod­ucts says some­thing of great im­por­tance about your per­son­al­ity, you should re­ally get out more.

2. Smart-home tech

I used to like this. I still quite like the idea of it. How­ever, hav­ing to con­stantly re­boot apps and hubs, and the end­less wait­ing for de­vices to sync – all the while never know­ing whether they’re ac­tu­ally go­ing to work – has made me quite twitchy.

Con­nected-home tech is ex­pen­sive, and there are too many com­pet­ing sys­tems. The irony is that all the brands say, “We need a sin­gle sys­tem…” So it’s not as if they aren’t aware of the is­sue. But then they all go, “…So come and join our sys­tem! Those other con­nected-home stan­dards? They’re rub­bish.”

Even­tu­ally, I get to the point where I think all this ex­pense and has­sle, sim­ply to turn on my lights or find out how warm my front room is, just re­ally isn’t worth it.

3. Speak­ers on phones

Since the in­ven­tion of the Sony Walk­man, peo­ple have been an­noyed by hear­ing the ‘tiss-tiss-whocka-whocka-tiss’ of mu­sic leak­ing tin­nily from other peo­ples’ ear­phones. That, how­ever, is noth­ing com­pared to the ‘peo­ple’ (I use that term loosely)

who ac­tu­ally use the f**king speaker on

their mo­bile phone to lis­ten to mu­sic. That’s cross­ing the line from be­ing merely in­con­sid­er­ate to be­ing an ac­tual so­ciopath who should prob­a­bly be im­pris­oned as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure.

What can one do with these bas­tards? It’s no use tut-tut­ting. You have to ac­tu­ally shout, “Hey, turn that rub­bish off.” And in my ex­pe­ri­ence, that has, shall we say, mixed re­sults.

4. Emo­jis and GIFs

There’s talk about the Web mak­ing us stu­pider, the the­ory be­ing that we don’t need to know things, be­cause we can Google them. I’m not sure I agree, but GIFs and emo­jis do seem like a back­ward step. In terms of con­ver­sa­tional elo­quence, us­ing them in mes­sages is some­where be­tween cave paint­ings and draw­ing cocks on bus shel­ters.

Or, to put it an­other way: sad face, au­bergine, uni­corn with light­ning com­ing out of it. Ooh, a cat in a jumper!

5. Those links you get at the bot­tom of news sites

“Doc­tors hate this lo­cal mum’s weird trick for younger-look­ing skin”! “This man found a shed in a for­est. What was in­side it was haunt­ingly awe­some”! “Ten stars who are se­cretly Satanists (num­ber six will shock you)”!

This mar­ket­ing trash is an­other front in the War on Lan­guage. If you click on them – and Lord knows I do - a lot of these pieces read like they were writ­ten by a ma­chine, or per­haps a half-wit, then put through Google Trans­late into Lat­vian, then back into English again. They also ap­pear on sites that are like some kind of hellish test. There’ll be a photo and en­try num­ber one of “The 15 most poi­sonous things in Aus­tralia”. Below that, there’s an ar­row… But that takes you to an ad­vert for life in­sur­ance.

What you ac­tu­ally need to do is scroll down past that ar­row, past the hor­ri­bly de­signed mish-mash of links to dat­ing sites, down­load­able emoji sets and ad­verts for things you ac­ci­den­tally clicked on last week, down to an­other ar­row at the bot­tom of the page. That moves you on to page 2.

6. Peo­ple want­ing to ban things

Let’s get a pe­ti­tion up about ban­ning the ban­ning of things. Then boy­cott it.

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