At War With Machinery

December 5, 2006

I often joke that my excuse for jay-walking, rather than crossing the road at the lights, is because I hate to be told what to do by inanimate objects. Although I am an enthusiastic technophile and a reasonably early adopter of both soft and hardware, I feel strongly that I should be in control of the technology. I have no tolerance for so called user friendly technology that does not let me operate it as I think it should.

So yesterday’s experience with Nokia and its software has left me fuming. Actually my frustration with the Nokia software goes back a lot further than that. I had some communication with the company a couple of years ago when I first got my present phone and discovered that there was no control over the start-up tune or the beep that the phone makes (even when the phone is off) when the battery charging is finished. The first is a problem because you can’t subtly turn the phone on in a meeting to use the calendar or contact list without the welcome music playing and the second is a problem when you are staying in a hotel and need to charge the phone at night in your room and are woken by the beeps telling you that the phone is fully charged. Phone calls to the Nokia techs elicited the simple response – it can’t be done.

Earlier this year I started regularly synchronising my Outlook calendar with the calendar on the mobile phone. All was fine until recently, when I discovered that all the times of events that I had transferred from the computer were wrong. I realised eventually that the issue was daylight saving. I won’t go into all the to-ing and fro-ing that involved download and installing new operating software for the phone and new phone software for the computer and many iterations of changing time settings on the phone and computer and several phone calls to some unknown Asian country via Nokia’s 1300 help line – but the upshot seems to be that in order to sync my phone to my computer, I have to disable the automatic daylight saving function in both Windows and on the phone.

That I have to disable a perfectly useful function on my computer because Nokia can’t write software correctly is bad enough in itself, but the phone conversation with the helpline was even more ridiculous. Not only could they not solve this problem, but when I asked where I could find the changelog for the phone software so I would know what had been fixed, changed or added, I was told that it didn’t exist and that I would find the changes when I discovered them.


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