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