Technology

Don’t you love technology.

NOT……

All I wanted to do was buy two £8 tickets for a walk around a local castle. With covid you now have to pre book the tickets online. All was going well until the message ‘authorisation code sent to mobile’. No message was received. Resend code and once more nothing. Ok, use confirm the payment via the online banking app. AND that failed….Then everything unravelled. Soon I was locked out of my online banking app and my bank card was frozen. Then my online home fuel oil order failed as by card was locked out. I hadn’t realised that my mobile had suddenly gone faulty …. Not accepting messages or calls but at least it still played music (good to see it got its priorities right).

My only option was to phone my bank’s dreaded customer desk. A helpful message told me that my call was important to the bank but there was a 20 minute wait as call volumes were unusually high. Two pigging hours later a voice at the end of the phone. I needed to confirm my identity. Did I know my unique online banking code – NO…. Could I confirm what £19.99 payment was made on my account last Tuesday – NO (as soon as I put the phone down, I remembered, typical)….. Could I remember my online banking password – didn’t know I had one…… Finally, the last option, they would send a security code message to my mobile – but my mobile was stuffed so it never arrived…… Now it’s wait 5 days for a letter to arrive in the post with a code to reset the online banking. Well at least my card was released from purgatory.

Well that went well. I do love the seamless possibilities offered by technology.

So 4 hours later we arrived at a local country house which thankfully still accepted on the door payments. So we did finally get a much needed walk and it was a good one. That was a blessing, no thanks to technology.

Catch up

Can you believe it. 14 months of school at home. Just over half of that time has happened with most of his classmates back at school. Trying to maintain a remote link with his class was always going to be difficult. It can never be perfect. Especially when the Government’s attitude has been to try and force all children back into classrooms as soon as possible. Schools instructed to make it more difficult for children to work remotely. Schools and parents threatened with legal action if pupils are not back in the class. Our school wanted to offer a remote learning option. Wanted to change the school week with most pupils spending part of the school week, remote learning. Wanted to tailor education and create a better school working environment. Unfortunately that was not allowed so the remote learning option had to be largely turned off. That makes things much harder…..

Revision is supposed to start for the upcoming school year exams this week. No idea how they will work for Hawklad. But the individual subjects are now issuing revision guides. Indicating which pieces of school work have to be revisited and revised. In a couple of subjects there are no surprises – we have covered those areas, undertaken the work required. But then there are other subjects. Areas that the class have undertaken that Hawklad was not aware of. In a couple of subjects clearly large tracts of class work, entire areas have not been shared. Is it ok to call it revision when he’s visiting an area for the very first time.

It’s such a mixed bag. Yes a couple of subjects have exceeded expectations, Hawklad has done the entire teaching requirements. A couple have been kind of as expected, covered most areas but with gaps. And some subjects have gone so much worse than expected, with Hawklad being so far behind his classmates.

Surely in the modern world, with everything that technology has to offer in terms of keeping connected, surely my country should be so much better at remote learning. So much better at EDUCATION.

Call

The mobile phone is leading a charmed life. Yesterday it found its way into the garden refuse bin. Today as I weeded suddenly the little bucket next to me I was filling with weeds started playing music. Never been so thankful for one of those nuisance marketing call.

With the mobile safely back in my pocket. I got back on with the job of weeding.

Then another call. A work call. 60 minutes worth of …… what’s the word I’m looking for. I can think of a few, some I can even safely write down…

Boring

Dragging

Tiring

Fruitless

Frustrating

Dull

Monotonous

Wearisome

Mind-numbing

Soul-destroying

Insipid

Stupefying

After 60 minutes I was so tempted to switch the mobile off and voluntarily drop it back in the garden waste bin. I’m old enough to remember a time before mobile technology AND today I vote for going back to then….

Storm

Nothing like a power cut to disrupt the daily schedule. We are in the first part of a storm battering which is due to last for a few days. A small house on an exposed northern hill is wonderful except in a storm. We get an absolute belting. The back door is exposed to the full force of the elements. It floods during normal wind and rain so when a storm hits…… Time to dig out the ark. We are inside with about seven layers on. Living in the sticks when the power goes so does the heating. We do have a small chimney place but it needs serious repair work to make it safe to use. It’s on the when money appears list. So it’s cold without the central heating. As it’s an electric oven, hot food preparation is fraught with problems. So it’s Pot Noddles and Soup for lunch.

The power is back currently. It’s on and off like a Yorkshire Cricket match. Son is on the internet while he can. All the thermos flasks are filled. Every battery item is on charge. The floor behind the back door has been deflooded. Writing this while listening to the wind scream through. So far powers gone off twice in the time it’s taken to write these two paragraphs.

To someone with Aspergers all this can be an absolute nightmare. The break in routine, the uncertainty and the unpredictability. Sunday is such an important day as it’s the transition to the school week. A day which hopefully smooths the bumps from that unpleasant ride. For that to work then the safe and well tried Sunday ritual needs to be followed. On days like this all that goes out of the window and is currently being blasted towards Norway. Yes Son is on the internet but he’s severely on edge. Pacing the room. Senses on overdrive.

I’ve sent school an email to warn them but deep down I know it won’t be acted upon. That’s modern secondary schooling in this area. His last school (admittedly much smaller) would certainly have at the very least kept an eye on him. Even rescheduled the teaching plan. Not at his current school.

When the power is down it makes you realise who reliant we have become on technology. Yes it’s progress but it’s such a fragile progress. Pull the power and quickly it’s gone. For me I can fall back on my books as my safe option. Unfortunately for someone with dyslexia that safety net is not available. He needs technology to read them. His Dad can try but quickly my lingering cold kicks in and reading out loud becomes a cough fest. We can’t play ball sports outside due to the storm. The trampoline is filled to brimming with every heavy object I can find. Thankfully we still have other old school options. Card games. Top Trumps. Lego and one of the best cheap presents ever. A little battery operated air hockey game which cost less than a bag of chips. Endless fun until the batteries run out or the fingers finally break.

So hopefully the power will now stay on so we can try to have part of Sunday as normal as possible. Hopefully Son’s anxiety levels will recede a little. Sadly I think there is as much chance of that happing as there is of his Dads getting a Michelin Star. Don’t you just love a storm.

Hidden

Apparently a path exists across this field but it’s just not immediately apparent.

That feels a bit like technology. Take our washing machine (please do take it). It’s one of those which is completely automatic. You switch it on then use the programme button to select one of the 10 programmes. Then press the start button. That’s all fine until the programme selection became possessed. Now when you press the programme button it rapidly scrolls through the options and then eventually randomly selects a cycle. You are stuck on that option for potentially days until the washing machine decides to randomly select again. It’s so frustrating that most days the washing machine opts for the quick wash which only just about lightly dampens the clothes.

Take our laptop which refuses to update until the very moment it hears the phrase ‘urgent work’ then immediately goes into update mode which lasts for hours or days.

Take our DVD player. Works fine unless you try to use the remote control. After years of working perfectly it has now decided to become possessed as well. Press the stop button and it rewinds the film. Press the fast forward button and it pauses the film. Press the play button and it switches off the TV.

It’s also like Word Press. Over the years of running the WP app on the iPad I can best describe the experience as PROBLEMATIC. The app repeatedly crashes but I’ve got used to that now. It has now become like the most of our technology- possessed. I leave comments and they frequently disappear –maybe they are so unremittingly boring that they are secretly deleted. Error messages appear when I try to read certain blogs. But the most frustrating thing is the app will say that some blogs (not all blogs) have no new updates available. Then suddenly weeks later WP suddenly changes its mind and reveals all. Last night one blog who had been very quiet for weeks according to WP suddenly sprung into life. WP happily showing the 22 posts which had not been there an hour previously. So it’s probably time to try something different.

Now if the laptop would kindly stop updating then I will give the Microsoft or Web based options a go. Fingers crossed.