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QR Codes and Other Tech Frustrations

Our first TV behind our first baby, who is riding a low-tech wooden giraffe 

Our first TV was a wedding gift from my grandparents, which we received in 1968. It cost as much as the new “smart” television we just bought for our bedroom, but that Zenith lasted at least 15 years. The set up consisted of plugging it in. When it broke down, the TV repair person changed a tube. So simple. No remotes to master, so good exercise getting up to change the channel.


When the TV in our bedroom started to go south after eight years, we ordered a new one and paid extra for the set-up service. Turns out, this was a good thing. I’m sure the guys who patiently waited as we fumbled our way through setting up a Samsung account and taking pictures of various QR codes to get streaming apps to work had a good chuckle later about an old couple who had no idea how to make their new TV work.


What is the deal with QR codes? They seem to have become ubiquitous these days. I felt proud of myself for getting one on my phone for Whole Foods, but can never figure out how to scan the code when I shop. Kind check out people will do it for me. Others point to one of many places to put my phone, but I can’t seem to find the right angle to be rewarded by that beep sound signifying my code was accepted.


Things have become too complicated for people of a certain age. I used to pride myself on being able to manage technology, but lately things change more quickly or I am getting too slow on the uptake. I have to use a cheat sheet to juggle the three remotes needed to work our main TV. My iPhone gets more complicated every time I upgrade. And don’t get me started abut my Apple watch. Aside from being able to summon help, detect when I have fallen, or find my iPhone by making it ping, it is a total mystery to me.


I wish I could adapt to all of the technological changes in my life, but they happen so frequently and rapidly that I have basically given up. The old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” definitely applies to me. I recently created an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my meds, as several new ones had been added to my regime. Some require half doses once a week or need to be taken every-other day. To my dismay, Excel has changed since I retired ten years ago. I can barely get it to create a simple spreadsheet for my purposes. Same with Quicken and QuickBooks, both of which keep moving things around to add new features I will never use. My hearing aids were simple to use until they became “smart.”


Then there’s AI — what’s up with that? At my age, I’m more focused on hanging on to my own intelligence than learning how to access and use the artificial variety. Of course, I use search engines, but have no fondness for Siri. I will never explore creative tools like Chat GBT, as I prefer to do the minimal amount of writing and research I do these days the old-fashioned way, although I must admit I rely on googling information and the Internet. Still, Facebook drives me crazy. It thinks it knows what interests me and that’s what I see. Much of what it thinks I want is incorrect and I rarely find posts from people I know, which was my main interest. So, like many of my friends, I may have to part ways with Facebook.


I recently read a complaint from a member of Gen-Z, who was tired of Boomers complaining about his generation not being able to read or write cursive (in his view, an antique and unnecessary skill). Why can’t my generation keep up with changes in technology? Why do we complain rather than embracing progress? OK, Gen-Z, let’s check in with you in 60 years to see how you have adapted.




by Laurie Levy
Laurie Levy  (83 of 127).jpg
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