Friday, February 7, 2014

Digital outrage with comic relief

Torrey Orton                                                                 

Feb. 7, 2014

Ozemail error…

… the drop down notification remarks every time I attempt (successfully) to download my emails from my Nokia Lumia 625, a recently arrived baby of just 3 weeks age which has had synching problems from birth despite guarantees that its genetic provenance was the same as my laptop – Windows 8! When the drop down first occurred two days ago I said almost loudly ”Oh shit”, as my recently found facility of emailing by phone seemed to go out  the window. Relief was just a restart away. The next time I tried to receive email the message “Outlook synchronising” loped across the top of the screen in 6 point print for a second or two and down came the email and then this drop down denial of access, viz :

We’re having a problem downloading messages. Make sure you have a connection and your account information is correct, then try again.

Last tried 2 seconds ago

Error code: 80070018

This has happened over and over for the days since (2), a system which threatens with one hand the service it has given with the other. My most secret fear – system failure mid-living – is prodded unrelievedly (so far) by an unintended (but therefore egregiously effective!) confirmation of the fear’s strong evidence-based foundations.


As I discussed this with a very experienced IT systems friend, I learned in passing the meaning of a word I have not till now really mastered – outrage. This is the rage which flails itself into hyperventilating laughter howls. We made quite a nice footpath display for the youngers munching burgers and such around us in Bridge Road. Two old guys falling around screaming, almost.

All of which prompted us to disclose inadvertently wells of techno-rage we knew were present but we had not given voice to in that way a fit of mutual story telling of technicians’ incompetence can do it…a sort of self-inflating sequence of despair, reduced only by realising that the system changes which assault us are assaulting the technicians faster than reports on them can reach the webpages of Microsoft and/or Apple specialists.

That’s not an excuse, so they still get the blame. But it makes the prospect of their getting blame again higher than their pay should warrant. Telstra techos had spent 5 hours in three chunks over three months trying to synch my Windows phones to Windows computers…finally giving up the ghost to my computer set-up techie a week ago who did it (granted with a lead from the last Telstra guy) in 40 minutes…time required to repackage the Outlook Calender in a new Outlook-only email address for my Outlook account…itself an unpublished requirement of Microsoft efforts to mimic (I‘m told) Apple’s success welding buyers to their whole suite of apps by requiring them to open an Apple account to set up their products.

Comic relief…

Having trouble finding the comic relief part here? It’s only outrage at best. When I set out to replace my old self-destructed phone, failed and then was forced to replace my computer by a hard drive failure … I could no longer avoid what has emerged above, plus a gaggle of other inconveniences which arise from systemic interaction glitches. What underlies the rage part of the above is that Microsoft’s new phone company Nokia‘s Windows should synch like the old (2011) Samsung Windows phones did via a downloadable three click app called My Synch.

It didn’t. They just forgot to tell me, or even us, that their Nokia purchase had nothing to do with customer service, increased or otherwise!! Monopoly capitalism where are you? Is there an equation here: that, once large enough, companies either do not or cannot ‘care’ about customers at the level of the individual even though they have the technologies (web, mobiles…..) to deliver person-level emerging information to customers, especially at the junctures of their systems?

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