In fact, whenever I read the words ‘simple to install’ or ‘three easy clicks’, I think to myself: ‘Ah yes, but you haven’t come across Mr Parrot before.’
The fun and games with our new ‘super-hub’ last week was a case in point. According to the advertising blurb, the technicians would turn up and soon I’d be cruising the internet at the speed of light. But I wasn’t, in fact, I had no internet at all.
Not that I was a bit surprised because no technological advance that I’ve ever come across seems to work first time. It seems to require much cursing and blaspheming and hours on the phone to technical support before it can be coaxed into life.
Having resolved that particular problem (a new super-hub arrived on Saturday and I fitted it myself) you’d think I’d rest on my laurels rather than go seeking further technological sorrow, but you’d be wrong.
I’ve mentioned that our daughter is studying for a TEFL MA at Manchester University and as she is as much a sucker for gadgets as I am, I had the bright idea of buying her a Livescribe pen for Christmas.
If you haven’t come across them, it is a brilliant idea. As the name might suggest, it is a pen that you use to make your notes as usual, but you can then transfer them to you computer.
But better than that, it creates an audio recording as you make your notes and touching your pen on any part of your notes allows you to hear what was being said at that moment.
You can send your notes and ‘pencasts’ as an email or to other devices, like an iPad or your mobile. And it has all sorts of apps, like dictionaries, useful to someone wanting to teach English as a foreign language.
As I say, a brilliant idea and something I wish I’d had access to over the years when I’ve been left scratching my head trying to work out what on earth I meant by the hieroglyphics in my notebook.
But being the Parrot household, it hasn’t been as simple as that. Two months later and we are still struggling to transfer the recordings from the pen to my laptop, having given up with my daughter’s MacBook.
I have acquired a new e-pal in California called Becky, such has been the regularity of our email exchange, and I finally spoke to her in person today when I resorted to the telephone support helpline.
Things aren’t fixed yet, but hopefully we are moving in the right direction. The thing is, she seemed taken aback at the end of our conversation when I said: ‘Thanks for your help.’
‘No, thank you,’ she said as if she was surprised at my patience. I didn’t like to tell her that it was patience born of painful experience.
* In case anyone is wondering, the title is a reference to Inspector Gadget above.