Tech: A Love Hate Relationship

I love tech. I just don’t like installing it.

I hadn’t had a DVD player that worked in a long time, so I bought a player that would not only play Blu-ray and DVDs but would wirelessly connect to the net to download a Netflix movie. Every one has them these days. The Wii can do it, so can a number of gaming consoles, which I also don’t own. So I wanted one and thought I’d spend some of my Christmas money.

I’m an old head (as we used to call older folks) but I like to keep up with technology. I don’t want to just own it, I want to know how it works and I want to be able to install what ever it is, myself. I don’t want to impose on a friend or my brother to help me unless I’m desperate. The problem is, I’m impatient and I rarely understand the terminology associated with this kind of stuff.

Installations never go as planned. Even opening the plastic clamshell wrapped around the cell phone I bought proved to tax my patience. I eventually cut the plastic off but not without stabbing my hand with the scissors. I haven’t had a tetanus shot in a while so thank Goodness it didn’t draw blood.

My last cell phone exhausted hours of looking for ring tones and volume controls and I finally imposed on my grandson to help me and No—it wasn’t under “settings”.

But back to the Smart Blu-ray player. I tried to understand what they were all about and looked on line to see what was available and then went into Best-Buy and looked at what they had. I bought something on sale and avoided the high-end sixty-dollar HDMI cables because my TV was only a 720p. I only came to this conclusion after asking lots of questions of the kid in the store – like what’s the difference and why do I need this one versus that one? He finally admitted I only need the cheap fifteen-dollar set. I caved in on the four-year warranty though, but not without a fight. A $165.00 later, I walked out with my new player ready for hook up. I was ready to roll.

The hardware was pretty straightforward and the hardest thing at first, was trying to fit it the wiring through the small hole in the back of the cabinet and finding an extension cord. I was a little intimidated however, because now there were going to be three remotes. I’m often confused by which remote needs to be in control. It’s sort of like understanding the hierarchy in the company I work for.

In years past I had thoroughly given up even trying to watch television because I couldn’t get the damned thing to work. Like my friend Ruth says… “Can’t I just have an on and off switch with these things”? I had pushed so many function buttons that resetting to the beginning became impossible. The frustration of that temper tantrum has faded but I was still somewhat reluctant to complicate my life with another add-on. So was this player setup really going to work?

I somehow managed to install it and it does turn on. I tried following the prompts, which by the way— did not match the written instructions. I entered the security key for the wireless connection and it was recognized but won’t connect to Netflix. Should I be surprised? I have a stronger signal coming from my neighbors and I’m guessing because my access point (like that one?) is on the other side of the house. I only have a tiny house but OK do I need another device to help get the signal across?

I researched repeaters, which are supposed to boost the wireless signal across distances and I became interested in one that resembled a smoke detector. I liked the idea of it being out of the way. I found the manufactures website and clicked on the users manual, was taken to another page and got nothing. I tried again and again… nothing. All I really want to know is how it’s powered. Do I have to hardwire it? Does it use a battery? I really have no intention of buying it if I’m drilling holes in the ceiling and running an electrical wire but clearly it has to be powered somehow. It’s a simple enough question isn’t it or am I just being old and stupid?

As I write this I’m still waiting for the new cell phone company to port the number over successfully and that has not gone smoothly. I keep calling from my landline to see which cell phone will ring. So far neither one works.

I guess my next move is to run to the store to look at the repeater itself and read the actual instructions because I’m not sure I want to buy it. Shit, what a pain in the ass this is!

I have learned one thing with all this electronic stuff though—if it’s locked up and you want to start over—pull the plug or pull the battery. If it doesn’t reset itself, take it back.

Off to the damned store!