The Two Biggest Problems with Technology

A few days ago, I was fixing my mom’s printer, because it was having problems with lines in the middle of the printout. This was nothing new (even though the printer is not old) – it has been happening for about a year now. And yes, we had contacted HP, the company that made it, but the problem started a bit too late.

They said that the printer was I think – get this – one month out of warranty, and therefore, we must pay them some unreasonable amount (given the cost of buying it new) for them to fix it or just get a new one. They couldn’t or wouldn’t give us a tip on how to permanently fix the problem ourselves – the only fix that I could do without HP’s help was temporary.  I believe any reasonable support team would have still helped us when we were out of warranty by that little, whether it was for reasons of caring about our experience or just so we would buy more products from them.

But the HP support team? Nope.

To me, this shows two of the biggest problems with technology that even I, the technology lover, can’t get over. I would even say that these are the biggest problems in the industry today. What are they?

One is rather obvious: Technology isn’t perfect. When a hard drive fails in your computer or a printer randomly puts lines through your printouts, you can’t help but be constantly reminded of this. It always happens at the worst time and it’s frustrating.

My printer is an old Epson model. When I say old, I mean about seven years. Way older than my mom’s HP. And, yes, it occasionally has a problem. But the way I see it, for technology it’s terribly old – and it has the right to have a problem here and there.

The other problem is less obvious: Support for technology isn’t perfect either. When you have a “technology isn’t perfect” moment, you, of course, call the support hotline for the manufacturer or look at their support website. And a good amount of the time, the people at the other end of the line are incredibly helpful. And, while helpful, some are pleasant while others aren’t.

Regular readers know Apple is my favorite company so let’s look at how Apple handles support. When you call AppleCare (the support hotline), you (most of the time) get a friendly person who, in my experience, always tries to help you and (almost always) succeeds. Then you have a support experience like we did with HP.

Not only did the people on the phone not try to help us, but they weren’t particularly friendly, either. Let me ask you this: While you would certainly prefer not to have the reason to call a support hotline at all, would you rather be forced to call a support hotline like Apple’s or HP’s?

Yeah. Thought so.

Back to my Epson printer, the one time I had a serious problem with it, I called Epson. I had an Apple-like support experience and was very happy.

Now HP, why can’t you have that exactly?

Have you experienced these problems with technology? Have you ever had a horrible support experience? Let me know in the comments below.

iOS 6 Compatibility Rant

iOS 6. Mixed feelings from most people. But from me, praise. To me, the maps app  is just as good as the old maps, in that the new features offset or even outweigh the loss of labeling. Siri is so much better. New stores. So much more is calling my name, begging for me to install it on my first generation iPad.
But wait – I can’t! iOS 6 is not compatible with the first generation iPad! And that, I’ll say, is a stupid move. People who own first generation iPads were the people who were their early adopters, who not only loved their product enough to buy it so early, but who made it so popular!
These people are the success of the iPad! And by not allowing iOS 6 to the first generation iPad, Apple is saying, “You people who made our product so successful are not important. We don’t care about you.” Seriously, Apple?
Not only is it odd morally, but it’s also odd technically. You see, iOS 6 is compatible with the iPhone 3GS. Now get this: the first generation iPad is more powerful than the iPhone 3GS! So why is the 3GS compatible when the first generation is not?

I do respect that Apple tried really hard to get it to work as far back as the 3GS on the iPhone lineup, but 1) why not do the same on the iPad lineup, and 2) the iPad people are the originals there, while the 3GS people are the third generation people there.

So why? This is odd for any other computer company, but even more so for Apple. Usually, Apple has a good reason for what it does. But when their decisions are this big, well, it’s only fair to explain why.
If they do in fact have a good reason, and they released it, maybe I wouldn’t be so frustrated. But Apple, even your secrecy has to end somewhere, doesn’t it?
What are your thoughts on this issue? Are you stuck on the same sinking boat as I am? Or are you safely on the stable iPad 2 and third generation boat? Let me know in the comments below.