Pete Davison: 21st Century Boy

Posted on May 20, 2011 by

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It’s the 21st century. If you grew up in the 20th century like I did, this means that you’re officially In The Future, because saying “21st century” sounded like it was a very long way off and not, as it happened, just around the corner.

Since we’re officially In The Future, I think there’s more than a few pieces of technology that we should probably have mastered by now. And I’m not going to say “hoverboards” because “hoverboards” would be rubbish. I can barely stay upright on a skateboard, and certainly not on rollerskates, so why the fuck would I want to remove the wheels and stand on a sheet of plastic floating in mid-air? No. Fuck hoverboards, and sort this lot out instead:

Pay-and-display machines that don’t give change or accept card payments

Seriously. We’re living in a digital society where you can pay for things by swiping your phone in front of terminals and yet when you park your car you still need exact change to purchase a ticket? Balls. Fix it.

Computers that don’t tell you what the problem is

“An unexpected error has occurred.” As opposed to an expected error? WHAT WENT WRONG? And no, I don’t want to know the hexadecimal address of the piece of memory where something went wrong because I didn’t write the program. I want something in plain English. “Your graphics card is buggered,” for example, or “Your hard drive is too full for this program to work effectively.”

Microwaves that have a power rating somewhere in between the ratings listed on a packet of food

The microwave here is 800W. Food packaging lists cooking times for 650W, 750W and 850W. Is it too much to ask for microwave manufacturers and those who package food to co-operate a little bit?

Clocks that don’t auto-adjust to British Summer Time/Daylight Saving Time/Uzbekistan Testicle Appreciation Time

Changing the clocks is an annoying rigmarole anyway, and when some of the devices in your house do it automatically and others don’t, it’s a pain in the arse to figure out which is which.

Tiny things that you can’t find

Everything should have a phone number or GPS tracking, meaning if you lose your keys, you should be able to phone them and locate them.

Companies who will let you sign up online but require you to phone them to cancel

I’m looking at you, LoveFilm. You were deliciously easy to sign up for, yet cancelling required me to speak to some indecipherable person on a bad line and explain to them that no, I had phoned to cancel so no, I don’t want to extend my service or give them my payment information. Let me cancel online. I don’t want to speak to other human beings on the phone. I hate the phone.

Companies who insist that all correspondence must be done through the mail

And I’m talking about the paper mail that comes through your letterbox. In this digital world, there’s no real excuse for this any more. And while we’re on…

Companies who take a week to respond to an email

“We will get back to you within 7 days.” Probably with the wrong answer. It takes a few seconds to Google the question I had or to ask the person sitting behind you, to type in your response and to hit Send. Even if you have other people to deal with in the queue in front of me, I doubt it takes a week.

Erm. This may have become a bit more ranty than I intended. Oh well. We’re living in the future. These things should be sorted by now. So fix them, world!

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Posted in: Pete Davison