Technology Is Great When It Works

Technology is wonderful.  Sometimes it works as we hope.  Sometime it does not but we likely have reached the point where we depend on our smart phones, our laptops (you can visit homepage if you need more information about laptops and computers), our tablets or  i-phones as almost extensions of our hands, eyes and ears.  Almost every day we learn of new applications that can do everything from translating foreign languages to English to organizing our offices, and permitting credit transactions without lengthy contracts or cumbersome equipment.

This year we enriched our law office practice at Colliton Elder Law with CLIO, a legal office management system, and added credit card accessibility for our clients as a method of payment with a tiny device known as a “Square.”

My father who was a Systems Analyst with General Electric Company back in the day of the early computers, would be amazed.  He often brought home printouts from the huge computers they had before the PC and tried to decipher manually mistakes that were inputted into the system.  Back then, a system breakdown in the GE plant in Iowa would necessitate his airline travel from Philadelphia to the destination thousands of miles away.  He often passed through the airport in Chicago and I looked forward to the souvenirs he brought back and the postcards he sent while he was away.  Today the process could probably be completed with a simple joint session on Despite all the convenience, sometimes technology can also be maddening.  Here are some of my favorite recent laughable stories of encounters between  technology and me.

Written transcripts of voicemails.     I did not want them and I told my smart phone not once but several times I did not want the “special offers” allowing my provider to transcribe voicemail messages received by my phone and send them back to me by e-mail.  Despite my numerous rejections, it became apparent that the provider was not going to allow me to say “no.”  In fact, it became almost impossible to access my voicemails without accepting the request so finally I gave in and what happened next was exactly what I expected, or nearly so.  Here are some transcriptions of e-mails recently received with the punctuation and capitalizations intact.

Transcription:  “Hi kenneth its calling yes I’ll be glad to come in tomorrow for dinner rises documents.”

Translation:  “Hi Janet.  It’s me calling.  Yes, I’ll be glad to come in tomorrow to notarize documents.”

Here is another.

Transcription:  “Hi Jamie it’s chris just calling to let you know that larry is you’re sleeping bag…”

Translation:  “Hi Janet.  It’s Chris.  Just calling to let you know that tomorrow is your cleaning day…”

Again, here is another.

Transcription:  “Hi this message is for the parent of a lisa this is some…calling from the moore’s after molecule apartment calling to remind you of the appointment scheduled…”

Translation:  “Hi this message is for the parent of Alisa.  This is Jen calling from Nemours ophthalmology department calling to remind you of the appointment scheduled …”

Anyone could easily see what gets lost in the translation.  Notably not one of the messages got my name right.  “Kenneth” is nowhere near “Janet.”  Still we plod on.  In order to know what was actually said I still need to listen to the message.

System Updates.   I know that programs need regular updates but sometimes this seems excessive.

Apple, as one example, on i-Tunes, seems to need an update about once a week or maybe it is just me.  Recently, while trying to stop a lengthy update that interfered with my ability to enter anything else, I simply shut down the computer entirely and rebooted.

The Update issue is not limited to Apple.  In Windows recently I received one of the most unintentionally funny messages I have ever noted from a system provider.  The message read as follows:  “To check for Updates you must install an Update to Windows Update.”  I guess the updater to update allows you to install updates.   I wonder what allows you to install the update to Windows Update.

Anti-virus programs are constantly indicating they need to be updated.  After awhile we install so many of these that we can lose track of them and not know that one conflicts with another.  I also question whether I have already updated the program in question and whether this is double dipping asking me to renew a program I already renewed.

Sometimes all you can do is laugh.

About the Author Janet Colliton

Esquire, Colliton Law Associates, P.C. Janet Colliton has practiced law for over 38 years, 37 of them in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her practice, Colliton Law Associates, PC, is limited to elder law, Medicaid, including advice, applications and appeals, and other benefits planning including Veterans benefits, life care and special needs planning, guardianships, retirement, and estate planning and administration.

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