Technology has the capacity to greatly ease our lives and has also opened up endless possibilities in work, recreation, and leisure. We really have come so far from our rock-slinging, stick-rubbing days. But what if technology’s sole purpose was to frustrate and irritate its human makers? In more ways than one, it may already do that. Here’s a list of things that will make you want to embrace your inner luddite and go back to simpler times.
Using (____) to Enter Your Phone Number
Likely a source of some minor grief or distress when filling out a form that asks for your phone number is deciding whether or not to include the hyphens. Some may fret over this, but many will also not. What you don’t know is that it could be so, so much worse. A popular image from a programmer that circulated around the internet a couple of years ago illustrates a horror of Lovecraftian proportions. Every single possible number combination was captured in a comprehensive drop-down menu. What’s worse is the trend it spawned. Many programmers on the internet then sought to compete in only the sort of battle you can imagine would happen on the internet: a contest to create the most ridiculous way to enter a phone number on a form. These inspired creations included one where you had to scroll through the digits of Pi to find your phone number, another by lottery, and another through a number slider. Terrible.
Pinwheel of Death
Must I elaborate? There’s even a Wikipedia article on Apple’s variation of the cursor loading icon. It is also present in different permutations on other computer systems, but many know it through Apple’s iconic pinwheel, beachball, ferris wheel, or whatever you want to call it. All we know is that it is the harbinger of doom, more unavoidable than entropy, disorder, and the inevitable heat death of the universe. No matter what form it may take, we all know and have experienced the hopelessness that comes when you lay your eyes upon it, and the sour mood that’ll be sure to follow.
Mice Being Actual Mice
I used to have the idea that computer mice had actual living mice inside to power their inner workings, with most of that theory revolving around the existence of a mouse wheel. The logic was simple: there is a hamster, and there is a hamster wheel. There is a mouse, and there is a mouse wheel. Coincidence? I think not. The humble computer mouse was first conceived by Doug Engelbart in 1961 during a conference lecture, according to computerhistory.org. His first design bore some small resemblance to the little rodent, owing to its wire “tail” and apparently that’s just what everyone called it: a mouse. This interesting tidbit of history also somewhat reminds me of the origin of the term “joystick,” which I heard to have originally been a portmanteau of Missouri pilot and inventor James Henry Joyce’s last name, and “stick.” While I’m glad to not be using an “Engelbart” with my computer, the idea of gripping a live, squirmy thing also does not excite me in the least.
Your Phone Not Shipping With a Charger
Imagine that, huh? Paying a premium for a device loaded with all sorts of cool new features… and then not being able to use those features because you can’t charge your darn phone. And while I’m not pointing fingers, let’s just say this company has already been mentioned before in this article. I would think any smartphone user’s biggest problem would be in trying to catch some extra bars, waving their phone about like a madman, but it looks like some people will have to be raising their phones over their heads during a lightning storm, desperately hoping to be graced with a couple million volts. I mean, hey, they’ll probably never need to charge it again.
Have you ever plugged one in on your first try? Well congratulations, give yourself a pat on the back. Perhaps most commonly recognized by its Type-A configuration, USBs are rather infamously known for breaking all known laws of the universe and requiring at least three tries to get in. How it manages this with only two sides, we may never know. Thankfully, in recent times the industry standard has become the Type-C connection, widely praised for its ease in connectivity, and fast charging and transfer speeds. Now make it magnetic.
Those Updates You’ve Put on Hold for so Long
Yup, they’re biting you back. Hard. Zoom update right before your 8:00 AM class? You can bet on it. Windows update before a gaming binge with your friends? Uh huh. In our connected world, software updates happen very frequently and the software you use today may not be the same one you’re using tomorrow. People like what they’re used to though, and will more often hit that “remind me later” option than anything else. Just don’t let it be used too much as an excuse for your tardiness.
Do any of these things make you wish you were still hunting for your food? While undoubtedly frustrating and annoying, they are the hallmarks of an increasingly tech-savvy and tech-reliant society. Whether or not these are good things, only time will tell.