Howls of a technoprat

Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Blog, Living today, Rants | 3 comments

Evil Clock Radio/damesnet

Evil Clock Radio/damesnet

There is an evil thing squatting on my bedside table, yet I dare not get rid of it, for its name is Clock Radio.

For over 20 years I had another Clock Radio, a Nice Clock Radio, whose name was Digicube. Digicube was brilliant, and I kept it close as long as I could, until the little slider switch fell out and you could only turn it on by inserting a sharp instrument, which I decided was a bit of a health hazard. All I wanted was another Digicube, but sadly they were obsolete. (Though there was one that didn’t work on offer on Ebay – why?)

So the hunt was on to find a replacement. It took me two goes to find one that didn’t drench the bedroom in an eldritch light that would have made sleep impossible. I finally settled on a compact Pure device that I thought was pretty cool. Only once I’d got it home did I discover that IT WOULD NOT DO WHAT I WANTED IT TO DO!

I am one of those pathetic people who like their clocks and watches set fast. For over 20 years Digicube was 13 minutes fast, but Evil Clock Radio takes its orders from a higher power and will not have any truck with human foibles. It turns out that ECR also has firm views on when we should be getting up, too. You can set two different times, so we tend to use one for weekdays and one for the weekend. But if you try to select the weekend time for a weekday, ECR just ignores it. Why not just reset it, I hear you ask? Well, I don’t know how to, I’ve lost the booklet, and ECR is deeply, deeply counterintuitive, so the infinite monkeys have a better chance of writing Hamlet than I do of working it out on my own.

I found the move from an ordinary mobile phone to a smartphone three years ago pretty painful, as my fellow Dames will testify. But at least it only took about six weeks of cursing and moaning for me to get used to it, with only a dozen or so half-baked messages being pinged off to baffled recipients. I also learned the hard way that if you are offered an update, just say ‘no’. That way madness lies.

The scourge of updates was demonstrated very neatly soon after the launch of damesnet, when I wanted to put a table into a blog, but I couldn’t make it work. This was a mystery, as I’d done it before. When I searched for an answer on line I found that an update to the software meant you could no longer copy tables in. To complaints about this WordPress sniffily replied that being able to copy tables was an aberration that was never meant to happen. So ordinary people who want to do practical things are the casualties in an arms race to introduce unspecified benefits that only a geek could love.

And as for intuitiveness and user-friendliness, well, what can you expect from people who want you to click on ‘start’ when you want to ‘stop’?


  1. Verity, I so agree with you about updates. In recent years Microsoft has updated my PC so that I can no longer make home videos on it and I-tunes has changed its lay out to something incomprehensible when the former system was perfectly adequate and logical. Now I decline all updates when given the choice. I’m dreading the day, however, when these companies take away from us the ability to refuse an update and just do it anyway. Let’s hope they never find out about system restore!

    • What is this ‘system restore’ of which you speak?

  2. System restore is a feature of Windows which allows you to restore your computer’s system files to an earlier point in time. It’s a way to undo unwelcome changes to your computer, usually brought about by a system malfunction, virus or the installation of a program or driver, without affecting your personal files, such as e‑mail, documents, or photos.

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