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Why does technology make household things so complicated?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by chelsea2, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I've had a new boiler installed today, but was out when the installer left. He's left me the instruction manual.

    If it were in Klingon it would make as much sense. My old boiler, you just pushed a few buttons to set the times for on-off, turned a dial for temperature, and it worked.

    This one, I have NO idea where to start. I don't even understand half the features it offers. I'm sure it'll be super efficient and economic, if only I can get it to work.

    I'm glad it's mild at the moment!

    Does technology really have to be so complicated?
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I know what you mean. Our boiler is so old it still has a clock with those little pegs and both husband and Is struggle to understand the boilers at the in-laws houses. :( We usually get one of the sons to do it for us. :rolleyes:
    colpee, TCSC47 and needabreak like this.
  3. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Established commenter

    Couldn't agree more …. I had under-tile heating installed in my bathroom, with a programmable DIGITAL timer to operate it, make it come on/off as desired. I have seen three electricians sitting poring over the instructions: the English translation is as incomprehensible as the Korean original. None ever managed to set it.

    Time for a new (simpler!) timer.
    TCSC47 likes this.
  4. Oscillatingass

    Oscillatingass Star commenter

    Could it be an evil plan from Kim Jong-un?;)
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  5. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    After a couple of hours, I've got the heating on. Yay!

    But the thermostat will only allow me to set the time over 4 periods. I can set the actual time range of each of the 4 periods - except I can't set the final one, Period 4, to go past 23.50. I'm a night owl, rarely in bed before 02.00, and would like to keep the heating on a bit longer - but I can't! Bah! I can override it manually, but will then have to remember to switch it back to auto before I go to bed.
    TCSC47 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. T34

    T34 Lead commenter

    No it doesn't. It's that way because complication sells products due to customer naivety.
    How many customers stress simplicity and ease of use as a priority?
    TCSC47, border_walker and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Oh @chelsea2 I feel your pain! I moved house and acquired a combiner's boiler.... and as its wireless thermostat thingy wasn't working I got a new thing installed and like yours it has 4 time periods over the day. Why oh WHY in these days of modern tech is there not a simple button I can press to activate the heating should I feel the need between these 4 time periods? What is so 'rocket science' about that? Could do it at the old house.... press a button to set water to heat and one to bring heating on...anytime I wished. From your post you seem to be saying if I press the manual button I can override the auto but that still doesn't say if I have to mess with the temp settings (centigrade means naff all to me.... I am an Imperial gal)
    How I yearn for the simple days!

    A light artist's drawing board arrived yesterday (yes I still plan to try to paint if I ever stop work) and the instructions are completely incomprehensible... both the diagrammatic and translated English. Couple that with my complete inability to find either the on/off switch + the intensity button - it has nearly driven me mad and I have given up!

    This is going to sound incredibly bad but the question I increasingly ask myself is.... how do stupid people cope????
    chelsea2, TCSC47 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  8. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    I thought I'd attempt to apply for my 60+ Oyster Card yesterday in advance of my 60th birthday later this week.

    The TFL site told me to set up an online account in order to apply.

    Nowhere on this site could I actually see a link that would enable me to set up an online account.

    In the end I had to phone up a helpline. I felt very stupid admitting I couldn't actually set up an account as I could not actually find the link that would enable me to do so.

    The woman I was talking to obviously thought I was some kind of dim old dear with poor internet skills: "Don't worry, I'll talk you through it step-by-step" she announced.

    To cut a long story short, it turns out I couldn't find the link to set up an account, as the link was actually entitled "Top Up Oyster". Durr! Since I don't actually have one yet it didn't occur to me to head in that direction.

    So here's a thought, TFL: how about creating a link called "create an online account".?

    I actually think it might be a deliberate ploy to prevent people actually obtaining this travel pass.
  9. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    'How do stupid people cope?'

    We don't. We have wood-burners.

    It isn't just household appliances. On a daily basis Microsoft offers me faster ways to do things I can already do in a split second. A quasi-female called Cortana (which I keep mercifully muted) would apparently love to remind me about a plethora of things already controlled by a file on my desktop called 'todo' which means more or less the same thing in both English and Spanish and has the inestimable quality of keeping its gob shut, or, indeed, of not having a gob at all}.

    The point, of course, is that none of this garbage is remotely necessary. It exists because we are all 'consumers' rather than human beings, and geeks, like the designers of boilers, have to justify their pointless existences and their inflated salaries by coming up with the 'new' and 'exciting' every five minutes.
    grumpydogwoman and Wotton like this.
  10. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    I totally agree with everybody here about the need for simplification of technology and their instructions and how irritating it is. The key is to make all actions "transparent" as to what to do next. This would appear to be difficult for the technology designers to do. I think this was the success behind the early Microsoft windows operating systems and why they became the most commonly used ones.

    However, you have to ask what constitutes transparency. How to read a book, how to set an analogue clock, how to use a knife and fork are all things that are transparent but can we remember when they possibly were not for us? I would say that Windows 10 is reasonably transparent to me at the moment, but I remember pulling my hair out and cursing Microsoft profusely when they forced it on us. (there are still things I really don't like about it and can not operate, I have to add) Things become transparent when you get over the "waffle barrier", The words that are used in the instructions that we don't understand.

    But that still begs the question, why make the damn things so complicated anyway? I think the answer here lies in the spec printed on the side of the box. I know that when I buy technology, I look for most value for money and the main way I have of judging that is to choose the device that will do the most things. Of course I then pay for that through finding the device difficult to operate.
    chelsea2 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  11. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    To add, -- God bless quick start guides!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. keyboard2

    keyboard2 Established commenter

    Does anyone else have problems remembering the multitude of passwords required to access websites?

    As a rule, I find avoiding most technology is salutary and spending time cooking, chatting and reading is much better for one's health.
    Lara mfl 05 and Wotton like this.
  13. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I had a manual that came with some domestic appliance that included the instruction (badly translated in China) "This appliance must not be used by psychotics and mad people". :eek:
  14. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    Our boiler is relatively easy to operate but f I can't work out the thermostat at all. Hubby wanted more tech in new house, ugh! Fortunately where he wouldn't listen to me he has to the electrician!
    TCSC47 likes this.
  15. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Only a few months after we had had a new Combi boiler installed, the heating came on for about ten minutes and then turned itself off. Pushing the override button on the timer would restart it, and the system would be fine until the next time it came on. The firm that had installed it had a look at it, fiddled and tinkered but could not get it to work. They then called in the engineer from the boiler manufacturer, who stripped the whole thing down to the last washer and could find nothing wrong. The only thing on which everyone who looked at it agreed was that it could not be the timer. In the end, I suppose as a last throw of the dice, the installers replaced the timer, just to eliminate it as the cause of the problem. Hey presto, problem solved! We were glad it was all done under guarantee.

    So many appliances have clocks in them that it can take twenty minutes to go around the house adjusting them all, in March and October.
    TCSC47 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  16. MustaphaMondeo

    MustaphaMondeo Occasional commenter

    use last pass. It manages all your passwords. There is an overhead. You have to download and use it and it takes probably half an hour to get your head round it.

    Once you are using it you have one password for Last Pass and it provides good passwords for everything else. Puts them in the boxes. Etc. Whenever you need a password you click the icon on the browser toolbar and it provides one

    I'll do it now.
    that took less than a second.


    If you lose your life savings after reading this post you'll know that you didn't take it seriously enough.
  17. MustaphaMondeo

    MustaphaMondeo Occasional commenter

    no. Most people want to do a few things with their gadget. Sadly its always three or four different things. Which if you build gadgets means you have to build a million variations into the one gadget which everyone can then use. Which means you only need to produce the one gadget. Reducing the product line that you need to manufacture. Making the gadget (that is all things to all men) cheaper. But annoying.
  18. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    What a coincidence, that's the password I use on all my accounts.
    EmanuelShadrack likes this.
  19. MustaphaMondeo

    MustaphaMondeo Occasional commenter

    The opposite also applies. For example with stereo amplifiers, the fewer the buttons the higher the price. I have a three button and a dial amp. It was £360 in 1975.
    TCSC47 likes this.
  20. MustaphaMondeo

    MustaphaMondeo Occasional commenter

    You don't. I just tried logging in as you.°°°

    °°° joke.
    Rott Weiler likes this.

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