Some of the most frustrating moments of our daily routine is when a technology based convenience item fails to work properly, which is typically when you most need them. Here I have compiled a list of the top five technology gadgets which fail me more often than not.
1) Rechargeable Batteries, with the high cost of disposable batteries it makes economical and ecological sense to go away from disposable batteries whenever you can. Modern rechargeable batteries can be an amazing addition to any tech gadget arsenal, but when they are less than brand new you can never know exactly how long they will hold a charge. It is fine when they are freshly charged, and you only need them for a little while, (see item 5-B below). There have been times my tech gadgets failed me when I was out doing research for an article in which I need to publish photos here on Yahoo! I have had a few of those bad luck days when the lighting was perfect but my camera batteries were not up to par. I vowed a few times in a row to never let that happen again if I could possibly avoid it. So now I have spare batteries, and an extra memory card which is empty of old files. These precautions help me to be more readily spontaneous when an interesting photo or video opportunity arises.
2) Food Processing Machines, especially juicers, can make you healthier and happier, unless you include the extreme clean up in the happiness equation. It is amazing how many health benefits are found when using fresh fruits and vegetables, and the juicers that can process these foods into a smooth liquid are usually difficult to clean up after. The problem comes in the clean up of your work area, and the food processor itself. Imagine all the steps required just to juice up some fruit, first you need to get out the cutting board and chunk up the fruit while getting rid of the skins, cores, stem, and seeds. Now you have to feed them into this time saving gadget, which usually takes even longer than cutting up the fruit in the first step. Next you process all the fruit until the desired product is poured into a pitcher or glass creating even more dishes to be washed later. Now comes the fun part, cleaning up the juicer itself. Usually the screen that holds back the pulp is plugged with tiny bits of fruit pulp and must be scraped and scrubbed. Next the body needs cleaned inside and out, and finally the processing chamber needs cleaned out. After it is all done you have probably just spent 30 minutes of your life, time which you will never get back. Why do this to yourself when you can buzz the drive through up the street and get a cheap fruit drink in about 42 seconds.
3) For those of us in the northern part of the United States, Snow Blowers and Snow Throwers can be a real pain in the back, these machines never want to start on that cold winter morning when you really need them to. They test out just fine in the fall when the sun is still shining, and the air is 62 degrees, but make it cold and wet outside and nothing mechanical wants to start. Even once you get them running they are a pain because the snow typically just keeps flying around and some of it lands pretty much back where it started out. Then there is the fact that most snow does not throw that easily, especially the heavy wet type you get when the temperature is hovering around the freezing mark. Most snow blowers are great for a specific type of soft dry snow, and have no good use for heavy wet snow. One of the things I have found most frustrating is how much maintenance they require, plus how unreliable some models can be. The wise method is to just get a shovel, and maybe a teenager or two to help you shovel the snow away. In the long run it is probably better for your health to get some exercise shoveling snow versus the limited aerobic activity involved in pushing a snow blower. All that plus my shovel does not require oil, gas, or any costly maintenance.
4) In my personal experience, having the Internet on my Cell Phone has been nothing but an exercise in frustration, I know that my Blackberry Smart Phone is supposed to make my life easier, but with all the intrusions from texts, emails, and actual phone calls, it is incredible to think that these are making my life more productive. As for me using it to work on the Internet I find it is one of the most agonizing computer processes I have ever encountered. The screen is too small to see anything useful, and the data rate on my ATT Cingular 3G network is far too slow to get anything done. Many of the websites I need to use are not mobile enabled yet. Mapping and lookup programs are inaccurate and very slow, typically this is exactly when you really need them to be fast and reliable. So far paying each month for high tech data functionality on my smart phone leaves me feeling a bit cheated in the end. I am not saying the phone itself is useless, just that the data and web functionality could be improved upon significantly.
5) Digital Picture Taking in general is a process which has evolved to a point where we have become responsible for every single step of the photography process. Most of us remember how easy it was to simply shoot some pictures with your 35 mm camera, take that roll of film to a photo processing shop, and wait until they were finished, only to find you left the lens cover on for the entire roll of film? Well with recent advances in technology that is not the case any longer. Now all you need to do is to make sure the camera is A) with you, and B) has batteries charged, and C) has the proper memory card inserted. Once you get all these things in place, then the thing you wanted to capture could be gone forever just like it was in the old days.
Once you get the pictures taken, you then have to take on the role of the processing shop, and get the pictures where you want them, typically onto the computer for storing and printing. Now you have to figure out if the software you have is compatible with the camera, and find the correct download cable, or the right memory card reader. You can always transfer the raw picture files directly to the computer, but you need to catalog them somehow so that when you are searching for a specific picture it can be found the same day you started looking. Now you need to name all the pictures, and call the albums something sensible. After all that you need to get the right kind of photo paper which is usually expensive, and make sure the printer has working ink cartridges, which can also be expensive. So after all the hassle of getting a digital picture taken, it is easy to see why many people are more than happy to just email you some pictures? This way the photo processing burden is laid off onto you, as it once was on the friendly clerk at the drive up photo booth.
I am one of the people who really does enjoy the benefits of technology, but at the same time I know very well what the limitations are of each tech device that I rely upon, and as a result I never assume that the batteries will be fine, I carry spares, and have an inverter with the battery charger in the car. So overall i am really pleased with some of the benefits I receive from most of the tech gadgets in my life, but the ones that do not work well are the ones we tend to rely on the most. I still do keep some spare tools on hand which are not much more technical than a shovel or a wired phone. These are the type of low tech devices which work reliably when the power fails us out here in the country.
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