By Joe Rector

It’s a world where I’m losing ground. I consider myself technologically educated, or at least I did until recently. That’s when my ignorance became glaringly obvious, and I suddenly felt old and as out of date as a Kodak Instamatic camera.

My iPod Touch stopped working, and I visited the iPhone store to have the battery replaced. Before Christmas, another store offered to replace it for $80, but at the IPhone shop I discovered that I could get a replacement iPod for the same price. Woohoo! I’d discovered a fantastic deal and strutted with a feeling of a super-shopper.

As instructed, I backed up all the information on my iPod. That meant copying music and apps to something called a “cloud.” No, I haven’t the slightest idea what that is; technicians told me to do it, and I did without asking any questions. Once home with a reconditioned iPod, I began the process of transferring my things. Uh oh! Suddenly my apps no longer work on the thing because they’ve been updated and won’t run on my iOS, 4.2.1. DO WHAT? Of course, it took a couple of hours before the problem was diagnosed. Luckily, I still had plenty of apps on my iPhone.

I had my music, and that’s the reason for wanting my iPod in the first place. I prefer to listen to tunes on it rather than my phone. Yes, I know that’s a duplication of services, but for my simple-minded way of thinking, each electronic device should have limited functions.

On a couple of occasions, I stuck the ear buds in and grooved to my favorites as I rode the stationery bike or drove across town. When the gadget wasn’t in use, I turned it off to save the battery life. Upon pushing the button to turn it back on, I discovered the battery was critically low. The thing charged for a couple of hours, and then I stuck it back in the desk. A week later, I retrieved it and discovered the battery was again nearly drained. Frustration set in as I realized another trip to the mall was necessary.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by a scrawny kid with glasses and hair that hung in his eyes. He asked if I had an appointment and when I said “no,” he informed me that one was available in “just 20 minutes.” Okay, this was just like visiting the doctor, and that proved even truer when the appointment time came and no one showed up to help me. In a few more minutes another kid asked if I’d been helped. When I told him I had an appointment, he checked his iPad and informed me that no one checked me in. Then he directed me to a girl who was working with a customer. He interrupted to tell of my problem. She babbled about re-setting something and then worked on.

She told me the process would take 6-8 minutes, and by the time it was done, two women, both in their 60’s, had joined the table. The worker babbled something to one, and the customer looked at me with a questioning face and said, “Okay?”

The worker told me to take my iPod home and to hook it up to iTunes. She said I needed to set it up as a new one and not to hit back-up since that would again affect the battery life. I looked at her and said,

“So, I have to add all the music again, as well as any apps that I might have.”

She shook her head to confirm my tasks and then told me I could search the Internet for old apps that might still be available for my iPod.

I thanked her and turned to leave. As I did, I looked at the customers waiting their turns. All were “old” like me, and I announced,

“This is the geriatric customer service table. It’s a shame grandchildren in elementary school know more about these things than we do.”

All agreed, and I left the store feeling tired and old. Ain’t technology wonderful?