Open Thread

Open Thread Update: When Tech Goes Haywire

Last time I detailed my experiences and frustrations with tech that gives out before my need for it does and when the hardware fails…and boy, I’m not alone!  The post (the original is below) led readers to bring out the long knives for troublesome tech.

The appropriately named reader JA Bitter sets the stage with this overarching comment.

“I dislike Windows 10 and now Windows 11 is coming down the pike, stop it already! Now my Iphone 7 is going to become a brick early next year, When will techies notice that not everyone wants or needs the latest or faster models.”

I hear ya. And JA is not the only one to call a smartphone a “brickphone.”  (Read on.)

Reader Bella detailed an ‘all out assault” by her technology including a long battle with a wonky motherboard, an HP printer, and experts whose only solution is “Buy a new one.” Check her out in the comments.

And speaking of phones, Pat details an issue that will be more pressing as time goes on. I love Pat’s observation that a smart phone is a brick phone – because when the technology become obsolete that’s what your phone becomes.

“I am a proud flip phone user and really don’t want to switch to a “brick phone” (my term for smart phones). However I am finding that I am being forced toward needing a smart phone. I recently parked in a city parking garage and found that I needed to photo and scan in my car license plate to pay. I didn’t have that capability on my phone and had no one with me. In addition, I came back from the concert and had a $25 ticket! I also wanted to attend another concert but they only sold “virtual tickets” which require a smart phone than can display a barcode.”

He ends, quite reasonably, by saying “I just don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for a phone I will break or lose, and a phone plan that I won’t use most of the time.”

Rose Marie Wilson mourns a PFS database program and a few other readers offer solutions – that’s the spirit!

Katherine Tracy reserves her ire for HP printers and their sneaky ways.

“HP sends printer “updates” w/o user notification that quietly disables the printer from recognizing 3rd party (refurbished, compatible) ink cartridges (such as from Cartridge World or eBay). This means users are forced to purchase expensive OEM cartridges.”

…and she offers a few solutions  Fight the power, Katherine!!

Mark O’Brien also has an issue with phones.

“Got a fairly simple flip phone. Now some texts say can’t download…I turned off the text feature on my phone but texts keep coming and there no notification to those senders that I’m not getting their texts so I’ve missed appt (Kaiser automatically sends appt reminder by text)  And that’s just texts, don’t get me started on computer issues!”

Lastly, Reader Barbara is looking for some tech help and support with the financial aspect of technology, and our Techspert Jonathan offers his advice.  Read his comments below.

We’ll keep this open so you can continue those comments.  Meanwhile, below is the original post that started it all.

Tech Goes Haywire!

 I’ve got two terrific programs that are both on life support and I refuse to give up on them. I have an old school tower running Windows XP specifically to keep them running:  Kiplinger’s Simply Money (the best financial package ever made) and Daytimer 2.0 (the best address/notebook/contact database/calendar program ever).  The day I figure out how to move them to a newer computer and get them to print again I’ll be a happy camper.

This morning I lost about a half hour because my printer decided it didn’t like the way I put in a new ink cartridge and refused to play.

A friend of mine is on a first name basis with Microsoft tech support because her laptop has been hiccupping non stop.

My late husband, a programmer, created a tracking program specifically for me and my PR business.  It was awesome and a terrific enhancement to my productivity.  About a year after he died the laptop that housed it went down completely, and beyond repair.  I had the data backed up but the source code was gone. It was like losing him all over again and I cried for a week.

Technology Terror

Technology has infiltrated our lives, businesses and yes, even our emotions.  There’s a line of sympathy cards when you lose a pet. How about when you lose a program?

How about you?  What technology have you lost – and really miss – either from non-support by the developer, or by devices that no longer support it, or by mishap?   Let us know in the comments!

 

Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send your suggestions for Open Threads to her at editor@seniorplanet.org.

COMMENTS

20 responses to “Open Thread Update: When Tech Goes Haywire

  1. My husband and I are considering buying a new computer. It is a daunting task, so many questions come to mind. What’s a good brand, how do we get all our files, photos, etc. transferred from our old to the new computer. Some photos are in the “cloud” some are not. Right now our computer is very slow and quite frequently just boots us out of whatever we are in the middle of. How do we determine what we should get based on the problems we are experiencing so we don’t get into similar issues with another one. Is it better to order something on line, or go into a brick and mortar store to purchase? How does cost comparisons work out in these situations?

  2. I booted the cable tv out of my life about three years ago and could not be happier. I bought a $60 antenna from Walmart, installed it on the same pole my internet is on, bought a Tivo recorder + Mini from Best buy for $500 (Lifetime use, used the cable companies splitters and wireing and I’m good to go. I have TV in my living room and in my office which is all I need. We get our local channels very well plus PBS and record the shows that we like to watch later. My wife likes movies so we pay a $14 per mo Netflix bill. When football season rolls around and I want something not on local channels I subscribe to Sling TV which has my missing channels for a month then cancel. As of right now – figuring all my expenses for the past three years – my TV has cost me $22.17 per month. Another plus to my system is that I do not get either CNN or FOX cable. As a result my bloodpressure stays reasonably steady and we’re happy as can be! You should try it – it’s wonderful!

  3. Fun and games with Microsoft began last October with one of their mandatory upgrades. I was able to get through to Microsoft and one of their techs fixed the problem. Then in November and December, their monthly upgrades messed up my puter big time. I was able to find a tech locally who got me going again. I am not able to stop the upgrades, Microsoft won’t let you. I dislike Windows 10 and now Windows 11 is coming down the pike, stop it already!
    Now my Iphone 7 is going to become a brick early next year, When will techies notice that not everyone wants or needs the latest or faster models.

  4. Technology Terror? You bet! Infiltrated? Yeah. It’s more like an all out assault!

    Let me preface this sad tale with the fact that I ain’t that technically savvy. I’m not completely inept but I’m no technical genius. I don’t wanna make things worse by attempting to fix problems myself, so I rely on “the experts” to take care of serious technical problems. That said … Last year I took my computer in for repair when it started acting wonky and they told me I needed a new motherboard. I paid $400.00 to have that installed. I got into my car and realized that the bottom casing wouldn’t close completely. I went back inside to the tech that “fixed” it and was told, “Oh that’s the way it is with Toshiba’s, the casing doesn’t close.” Really? It was completely closed when I brought it in. And it was always completely closed after I’ve had it serviced elsewhere. I told him he needed to fix it so that it closed properly. His solution? “I can take out the new motherboard and put the old one back in.” I didn’t want to be charged for anything else so I left it at that and attempted to use my computer when I got home. I turned it on and two seconds later it completely crashed. No worky at all. (Insert several expletives.)

    So, I took it to another place to be serviced and was told to hold a memorial because my computer was totally dead. It was dead because the incompetent tech that serviced it at the first place somehow left a screw loose in the interior and it damaged my computer beyond repair. The second tech said he would never have replaced the motherboard in the first place because what I really needed was a new computer. (More expletives, lol). He asked me where I first had it serviced and I told him. He rolled his eyes and said they’ve gotten a lot of new customers after the first guy “fixed” computers. So, I bought a new computer from the second tech. That wa$ a very expen$ive day. $igh.

    I’m not done yet. Today, I spent two and a half hours with an HP printer tech because my 1 year old printer, that I only use occasionally, and take care of like a newborn, decided to stop printing copies. The upshot after replacing all ink cartridges … running diagnostics (nope, nothin’ wrong, lol) … uninstalling and reinstalling the printer … rerouting … and jumping through all the other conceivable hoops, is that I’m frustrated/tired/drinking … and it still doesn’t print copies. (You get to fill in the expletives this time.) Because the printer is just out of warranty, of course, they won’t replace it. When all was said and done … the techs solution? … ta da … purchase a new printer! (More expletives!) And that’s the end of my sad technological tales for today. Tomorrow I’m sure there will be a new technological sad tale to tell, lol! Oh boy, I can’t wait.

    Bella

  5. I am a proud flip phone user and really don’t want to switch to a “brick phone” (my term for smart phones). However I am finding that I am being forced toward needing a smart phone. I recently parked in a city parking garage and found that I needed to photo and scan in my car license plate to pay. I didn’t have that capability on my phone and had no one with me. In addition, I came back from the concert and had a $25 ticket! I also wanted to attend another concert but they only sold “virtual tickets” which require a smart phone than can display a barcode. I am tech savy, have a tablet and laptop, and worked with office computers for years. I just don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for a phone I will break or lose, and a phone plan that I won’t use most of the time. I have a flip phone that cost $50 and I have had it for four years. It just doesn’t handle data.

  6. I have a program called PFS, which included PFS File (a database) and PFS Write (a word processor), on my oldest computer, which is DOS 5.0 based. I don’t care about the word processor, but I created very detailed databases for my collections of Christmas ornaments, figurines, etc., and I would like to get that information back, and possibly transfer it to Access in a later computer, possibly the one that runs on Windows XP. Is this possible or hopeless? I don’t know if the old DOS computer even turns on any more – the clock in it may have died. Yes, I know I should have tried transferring the data years ago, but I didn’t know how then either.

    1. I loved PFS file, and still have it on my Windows XP computer, although I don’t use it much. (I loved PFS Write too; it was my first real “word-processing” program. From it, I moved to Professional Write and then Word Perfect.)
      If you still have the program disk for PFS File (assuming it’s on an A disk, and not an 8″ floppy) and you have a computer with Windows XP on it–and an A drive or a portable A drive–you can download the program through the “Command Prompt.” Unfortunately, I don’t remember how to get to the Command Prompt–I have the icon on my desktop, and simply go to it from there. Or when I go to “My Computer,” and click on Local Disk C, the program then shows up there.
      I realize that won’t help you get it on your computer, but if someone else can tell you how to download the program, all I’m saying is, you CAN run it on a computer with either Windows XP or even I think Windows 7.

      1. Hi Gib! Thanks for your reply. I do know that I can run the old program from a computer if I can get to the command prompt. My problem is getting into the old DOS computer. You can get to the command prompt on any computer just by putting “Command Prompt” into the search box in the task bar at the bottom of your screen. I had the program itself on a 5.25″ floppy disk, but it is also in the DOS computer. I don’t know if I have that floppy any more, and don’t remember if the Windows XP computer can run 5.25″ floppies. It’s all the data files that I want to get. I created very detailed records for all my collectibles and want to get that data back very much. Thanks for your thoughts!

    1. Abbie, you say your 2013 MacBook won’t backup. But it has Time Machine on it. You can use TM to backup easily to an external hard drive. I’ve got a laptop much older than that which still runs older versions of Photoshop, etc. Can’t get on the internet, wouldn’t want to, but it’s fine. Before TM, so really can’t backup, but I don’t keep anything on it that needs it. Hope this helps.

  7. HP sends printer “updates” w/o user notification that quietly disables the printer from recognizing 3rd party (refurbished, compatible) ink cartridges (such as from Cartridge World or eBay). This means users are forced to purchase expensive OEM cartridges.
    However, these OEMs can be refilled by professional 3rd party ink suppliers (who are getting harder to find because of their replacement non-OEM cartridges are now obsolete with HP printers).
    Additionally, the ink cartridge refill tubes being sold to refill B/W and color wells in the newer models, I”m told, frequently clog up, sometimes rendering the printer unusable, plus non-repairable even by repair professionals.

    Lesson: Take OEM cartridges immediately to a printer ink supplier for immediate refill before the cartridge dries out.

    Hope this helps.

  8. My iPhone died beginning of this year and I decided to take back part of my life and not get a smart phone. Got a fairly simple flip phone. Now some texts say can’t download. I’ve spent some time trying to solve this issue but realize I’m doing it again. Having to work at getting tech to work. It’s not just a time suck but it affects my sense of well-being. Did I miss a text or something important? That repeating desire to not miss out. I also feel like I’m not part of the group of friends that communicate this way. Again I’m missing out? And the thought that I’m failing in someway because I can’t get this to work. Like I’m the problem!

    I turned off the text feature on my phone but texts keep coming and there no notification to those senders that I’m not getting their texts so I’ve missed appt (Kaiser automatically sends appt reminder by text) . Even if I’m not consciously aware of it all the time , I know tech creates anxiety in me. Even lowers my self esteem because I’m not with it.

    And that’s just texts, don’t get me started on computer issues!
    Just say “NO”!

    Mark

  9. I’m on my way to the Geeks on 44th and fifth to have my computer fixed.

    My anchor to reality refuses to connect to the Internet. I feel like I’m in the corner of dark closet close to Hannibal Lector (SP?).

    Will the geeks fix it immediately, or will I come home unburdened by my six year old .

    It truly is a problem when you cannot follow instructions because something and something needs to be done !!

    …I will not label myself incompetent

  10. Hello,
    PLEASE HELP!

    I am 72 years old.
    Do you have any in person class on the teaching of TV tech. I have Spectrum’s bundle and their Silver program and it is costing me $85.00 for the Silver program and for Internet $80.00 and $13.00 for phone and it keeps going up each year. In addition, I pay almost $20.00 in all kinds of taxes on my bill.
    Example: I want to know how to get TV without paying using Streaming and what that is and what they call Fire Stick and others.

    I need hands on teaching.

    Thank you and I await your reply.

    Very warmly,
    Barbara

      1. Hello Gayle,
        The class will be held on December 2nd at 2:00PM Central Time (Which is 3:00PM Eastern Time). For more information about the Zoom link and the class itself, click HERE.

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