Home » Agony Uncle » Agony Uncle » The onward rush of miracles

The onward rush of miracles

(Old Fart alert)

Here’s a positive suggestion.

You know all those young people, many of them graduates, who can’t find a job?

Well, I’m struggling to work out how to individually respond to all the kind readers of my bogl who have declared themselves to be my Followers, Likers and Spammers. I’d like to say thanks, but I’m not quite sure how, without getting into complicated territory.

And I can’t see the point of Facebook and Tweeter and Peep-bo and things, I don’t use Skype – why would I want people to see me talking out of sync with ridiculous results? Anyway, I never call anyone. I’m perfectly happy emailing, until Yahoo! changes the page layout again without telling us (now my inbox helpfully tells me who the sender has emailed, i.e. they have mailed ‘Me’. I could work that out for myself, possibly?) . Email is great, because response is optional and can be timeshifted. Answer a phone call and you have to respond, even if it’s only to scream FUCK OFF AND LEAVE ME ALONE! at the computer voice selling you PPI claims.

Conservative politicians are always demanding the return of military service, to keep young working-class men from fighting in pubs.

My proposal is to create a Government-sponsored conscript army of a million Digibuddies – Digiboys and Digigirls – which is to say, young people who know instinctively from birth how to use the new technology, that I am finding increasingly baffling.

There are still a few things I know how to do here on the interweb thing, as I have been using it virtually since its inception, and other stuff I could do on my HTC mobile phone if only it didn’t cut off my calls or make new ones to people I don’t want to call every time I touch the screen by accident, and the stupid hoopla thing bounces off the incoming call icon and you can’t figure out who to call back because there’s no file for Lost Calls and your Contacts file is full of people called Unknown and you can’t find anyone you actually do know to call. Who designs this rubbish?

You know how, when you see something exciting and you go to take a photograph, you press the shutter button on the touchscreen and find the damned thing is asking for a white balance and you have missed the exciting thing and your shot anyway turns out blue? Or when you pull the phone out of your pants to answer a call and you see a mysterious moving grey blur on the screen and realise it’s playing back the video it has been making of the inside of your pocket for the last hour and you have only 4% battery left and it shuts down automatically and you lose your date and time settings and have to start over?

So, I have this dumb Smartphone but I daren’t ever use it to access the interweb in case it charges me more money than I have in the bank. I can’t use it to access email either, because I no longer remember what my Yahoo! password was when I originally subscribed and it doesn’t pay any attention to the new one. My eyesight isn’t so good and my fingers are old and fumbly, the screen is small and keeps flipping over by itself and the alphanumeric keys on the virtual touchpad are so small and close together that it takes me an hour to compose a line of Text, and then it doesn’t let me find the number to send it to without losing the message, so it’s really not a lot of use, is it?

But it seems a dreadful admission of defeat to buy one of those embarrassing phones for fogeys, with big blue buttons (an Elderberry?), that only makes phone calls, although one seems quite a sensible idea if all you want to do is make or take occasional phone calls. I phone-out about twice a month, service for which I am paying £30 on an Orange/EE tariff.

So, I wasn’t born using this stuff but it has evolved during my lifetime, out of technology I did once know how to use, having spent five years in fulltime Higher Ed learning to operate all kinds of production equipment. I have residual communication skills, but they are fast disappearing. And the problem is not the technology itself, so much as the convergence on multifunctionality and the pointlessness, as I see it, of 99% of the functions in my life. Why do I need GPS? I know where I am!

No, what I need is a Digibuddy, a young person paid for by the Government, who will come round and operate the equipment for me, on my instruction as to what is to be achieved.

I could get so much more done, and so much quicker, because now I spend hours despairing and screaming obscenities at my computer screen because I can’t sign-on unless I register, but I can’t be allowed to register as the system already has someone mysteriously with the same email address as mine, and the default position is that it can’t be me otherwise I would know my password, that I gave it six years ago – and then when it finds I don’t remember it, it happily lets me (or anyone else who might call in) set a new password, so what was the point of having a password in the first place? and because the instant I hit the limit on my credit card I am being bombarded with spam from payday lenders all over the world, offering me tons of instant cash I don’t actually need because I have MORE THAN ONE ACCOUNT… and who told them my card was bust anyway? What happened to banking confidentiality?

It’s perhaps because there are so many scams attached to this stuff, so much low-level criminality, most of it perpetrated by supposedly reputable institutions patrolled by so-called watchdog agencies who are so far behind the curve they are even more pitiable than me; so many attempts to second-guess what information I ‘need’ and suggestions for what I would like to buy the kids for Christmas that are completely out of left-field because the thing I bought before WASN’T FOR ME, that my view of it is that it has become worthless, even dangerous; and I am doing whatever I can to disengage from it, while putting out a smokescreen of disinformation. Now I hear that refusal to engage with Big Data is to be taken as a sign of criminality. This is a joke, surely? I’m trying to get away from the criminals, not become one.

So another function of the Digibuddies could be to report on people to the authorities, that we are disaffected and refusing to participate in the wonderful experiment being performed on us by the global corporate conspiracy? Maybe we can be taken away and lobotomised – I see there’s a new rapid and painless ultrasound technique for murdering bits of our brains doctors have decided aren’t good for us, maybe there’ll be a phone app for that soon?

Ah, the onward rush of miracles.

– Uncle Bogler


Help! While trying to contact a total stranger to tell them they produced a great TV programme that made me cry, I have accidentally signed-up to an interweb thing called Linked-In and am being bombarded with encouraging messages from hundreds of people I vaguely know, many of whom I had hoped never to hear from again. It is as if I have died and gone someplace and there is everyone.

Can you tell me how I can get out of this nightmare?


It is many months later, and a story in the news tells us that a number of so-called celebrity act-women who stupidly posted videos of themselves having sex with their boyfriends to the so-called ‘Cloud’ (a vast array of mainframes located in the deserts of Kyrzgystan where you can store all your stuff for a small fee) have discovered that their accounts have been compromised. Well, who would have imagined that.

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