Okay, I’ve been using a second-hand iPhone for over a year, courtesy of Landlady. And recently I replaced the Official TUAK Laptop with a refurbished MacBook, courtesy of Big Brother, of course using the iPhone for connection. And I asked myself at the time, “Self, what are the chances these two things won’t start conspiring against me more or less immediately?”
Credit where it’s due, it wasn’t immediate. At first I could use the iPhone as a hotspot like I’d been doing, but for some reason that recently stopped working. Turns out the two gadgets were hatching a plot to get me to physically connect them, because when I did so two things happened right away: I had my connection back, and the ‘pooter asked if I wanted it to “synch” with the iPhone. Maybe shoulda said no? I don’t know.
Look, I’m not a Luddite. I like technology. But I am a little old, a lot set in my ways, and at the most prosperous moment in my life was never much better than lower-middle class. No, I didn’t grow up hungry in the street. I also didn’t grow up surrounded with gadgets, and I get no comfortingly familiar feelings from fiddling with them or having them spontaneously change things around on me. I never even hit a computer’s ON switch (remember those? Remember when computers had hard electric disconnects? The good old days, when we controlled them…) until I got a job requiring the use of a word processor. In those days “updating software” involved breaking the seal on a new floppy disk’s envelope. Or maybe calling the IT guy in the company you were contracting with, because you were forbidden to do anything to your desktop requiring configuration. Also while I may not be exactly phobic concerning tech, I am a paranoid recluse and the much-reported tendency of personal tech to narc on its owners does not give me warm happy feelz, okay? My point is, once I’ve got something working the way I like it I tend to just leave it alone. On my last laptop that gradually got me into trouble. Which led directly to this laptop, which I would like to keep working.
Which is a long paragraph leading to “and that’s why, against my personal inclination, I clicked ‘yes.'”
Nothing immediately bad happened. My two now-synched malefactors gave me a few days to relax. And then the iTunes logo on the laptop, which I had never used and only put up with because I didn’t know how to delete it since I have no plan to ever buy any “tunes” from Apple, started bouncing in an insistent, distracting, “click on me” manner.
I clicked on it. My life began changing for the worse.
I was informed by my new cybernetic overlord that an iPhone software update was available and that I should load it right away. I knew this wasn’t going to go away, and put my future in the wan hope that this would go smoothly and without assuming a lot of snappy responses from me to get it reconfigured.
(Beleaguered sigh) What followed was a lengthy period in which my phone didn’t work for anything at all, because of course Apple updated every f*cking thing on the f*cking phone without considering that not everybody lives in Four-Bars World. It timed out and had to retry a few times – during which I missed a text I’d been waiting for from a neighbor. Then there was the Duel of the Passwords – pro tip: Shouting “I don’t know which password you’re asking for” at your telephone accomplishes nothing. And they think they’re so smart. Apple was just screwing with me and eventually, wearying of its little game, let me have my phone back. Then (still ongoing) every time I clicked an icon I was treated to a tutorial or at least a notification of all the cool! new! features! that had been gratuitously added to that app – without asking if I wanted to re-learn how to use it before f*cking everything up. The most annoying cool new feature was the removal of all punctuation from the text “keyboard.” WHOSE BRILLIANT IDEA WAS THAT? WHO THOUGHT MAKING ME CHANGE TO A DIFFERENT SCREEN EVERY TIME I WANT TO END A SENTENCE WITH A PERIOD WAS AN ACTUAL IMPROVEMENT? I used to kind of like that keyboard. Now it’s almost unusable.
(ahem) Anyway. I did eventually get my phone back. There was just “one more little thing.” A big red “one” actually appeared on the Settings icon, a reminder that I had yet to configure something called “Apple Pay.”
But I never buy anything from Apple. Really. I don’t want “tunes.” I don’t want games, I already have lots of ways to waste time. I’m not even sure what “apps” are, and truly don’t care. So screw “Apple Pay.” I’ll just live with a big red “one” on my screen if I have to.
My iPhone did not agree, or approve. It sent me a reminder this morning. Technically it was this morning: Actually midnight. An actual reminder, as if I’d absently forgotten to give my financial information to this fricking cloud-based computer. I didn’t forget. I refused.
Got another notification later this morning, like 4 AM. Retreating to the next trench I clicked the button. Yup: It actually wanted me to fill in my credit card information, to assist me in paying people more conveniently. Who doesn’t like convenience?
(I know what you’re going to say. ‘Everybody does this. Apple’s encryption is actually very good and they actually did tell the NSA to suck a [deleted]. Wake up, Joel, and smell the 21st century.’ Yeah, just don’t. I’m a neurotic paranoid recluse for good and proven reasons – and who would give me a credit card? I don’t even have an income to speak of, or a mailing address.)
Eventually I was able to exit that screen without being reprimanded with a slight electric shock or something, but I know this “Apple Pay” thing isn’t over. We’ll see who has the stronger will.