Ever feel like technology is taunting you? You're not the only one. Technology can be your best friend, but it can also be your worst enemy. Most of the time, it works exactly as it's supposed to. Other times, it makes you want to throw your device out the window, and you yearn for the days of yore when typewriters and rotary phones (or, if you're really old-school, quills and carrier pigeons) got the job done. As much as technology has made our lives easier than anyone could have ever imagined, it can make our lives just as difficult when it backfires.
Misery loves company, they say, so we asked other professionals what their biggest tech headaches are. Here's what they had to say.
1. When technology wins
Nothing bothers me more than when technology decides to take on a mind of its own. It gives me flashbacks of movies like "I, Robot"; "Eagle Eye"; and "Metropolis," when the droids stand up against the human race. When my phone decides to open up or close apps on its own, I think to myself, "Didn't we create you? Don't you know who your master is?" The two tech devices I sometimes feel like I want to destroy with a baseball bat are my HD receiver and my cellphone. When they freeze or stop working, it's like they're staring at me, laughing at my silly human dependence on them. I'm not going to lie: I miss my pre-technology-dependent days, but my technology-dependent lifestyle won't let me go off the grid. I'm writing this on my laptop that's connected to Wi-Fi, next to my handy iPhone, while listening to music on my iPod." — Shawntel O. White, creative director, SOA Event Concepts LLC
2. When you realize it's 2013 and something still doesn't do what you want it to
Literally every piece of software that exists today should save an instance of your file, whether you told it to or not. It drives me nuts when I'm in Photoshop or PowerPoint and because of user error — me forgetting to hit Save — I lose hours' worth of work. — Len Kendall, co-founder, CentUp
3. When it makes you paranoid
One of my biggest pet peeves is having to save my files to multiple locations, because my biggest fear is losing my work. Each time I work on my manuscript, I have to save it in multiple places. I use cloud-based services, an external hard drive, as well as my own computer to safeguard my files. I wish there was a central repository that was hack-proof and completely secure. But I suppose something like that could only exist in a fictional world. — Harmony Evans, award-winning author
4. When it's people's fault
Shortly after the launch of my company, Cheek'd, we found ourselves on the cover of The New York Times Style section, coined as "the next generation of online dating." We got hits on our site from all over the world, until it finally crashed — mild nightmare. Once the site came back to life, we started getting orders from all over the country. It was the biggest day in the history of Cheek'd. Soon after the blast of orders, we realized that our Web developer, based in London, had the button that captured users' credit-card information ticked 'OFF.' We were unable to enroll them into our recurring subscription, upon which our business model is based. With hundreds and hundreds of new signups, we lost nearly $30,000 in revenue from this simple mistake. I joke now that our London-based Web developer is lucky he didn't live in the U.S. at the time. — Lori Cheek, founder and CEO, Cheek'd
5. When "social" doesn't mean you actually communicate
For me, the biggest headache is keeping track of all the various forms of communications. For one person, email or texting might be the best way to get in touch. For another, it's direct messaging on Twitter or Facebook Chat. There are countless other ways that we are "available" throughout the day. It's hard enough to keep track and check all of them for messages, but it's even more difficult to remember which form of communication each person in your life prefers. As a result, we're all quietly suffering from information overload, resigned to the fact that we'll miss messages here and there. As we continue to head more and more in this direction, I find myself craving the olden times when if you wanted to reach someone, you could just call them, and they'd pick up cheerfully. Today, if you dared call someone, they'd assume there was a fire going on. Once they regain their composure, you can assure them that you just called for a salad-dressing recipe. — Danny Groner, manager, blogger partnerships & outreach, Shutterstock
6. When there's no such thing as free
This problem is epidemic — it's seen everywhere from executive offices to homes. Because something is on the Internet, it does not change the basic truth that nothing is free. In the technological case, there is no free solution to fix your computer, tablet, smartphone or any other device. There are free utilities that may be useful in certain hands, but those "free" pieces of software come at the expense of years of knowledge, and hours of testing the specific free application. The most frequent expense is to the consumer in loss of productivity and the actual cost to repair the damage inflicted. — Mark Bodley, president, Thunder Mountain Technologies
7. When advertisers win
My greatest tech headache is mobile advertising. I typically browse through my leisure apps, like games or YouTube, when I'm on-the-go or not necessarily in Wi-Fi-friendly areas. The commercials now before most YouTube videos seem to take a long time to load, and not all are skipable. So, by the time I get to the content I actually wanted to watch, my little window of freedom is over. The same goes with games that have in-game advertising. I've noticed that the game greatly slows down while it tries to load the ad; once it's loaded and the game flows naturally again, my slice of free time may be up. In addition, neither medium is smartly targeted, so the ads are not even pertinent. — Ben Cober, director of business development and research, PGAV Destinations
8. When the industry wins
Contract and license management are, by far, two of the biggest and costliest tech headaches facing any IT pro. There is no Kelley Blue Book for technology, so most companies don't know if they're getting a fair deal. Pricing, discounts and terms are all over the board, depending on your vendor relationship, and at just about the time companies finally understand what's going on, the vendor makes changes. Meanwhile, licensing has become complicated beyond reason, especially in software. It used to be that you would buy one license for every desktop. Now, vendors like Microsoft and others are implementing device-based licensing strategies as a way to monetize device proliferation. The end result is that most companies are overpaying for IT. — Jeff Muscarella, executive vice president, IT and telecom division, NPI
9. When resistance is futile
Technology is moving far too quickly, with too many options out there. One headache is being told a product we invested in will "term out," whether we like it or not. It sort of makes you miss the good old-fashioned typewriter. Millennials will not have the joy of owning an antique from the day of purchase to date of Methuselah. — Carrie Devorah, founder, The Center for Copyright Integrity
10. When it feels like people actually do want to go back to quills and carrier pigeons
Honestly, our biggest tech headaches aren't the technologies. It's those people within organizations that don't view technology as an enabler for change. They would rather disable everything and then make you prove your case for utilizing the technology. They lock down sites, prevent users from personalizing their experiences, disable the ability to install applications — these are all frustrating actions that may provide safety and security for the IT team, but severely cripple a company that's trying to leverage technology to grab market share. — Douglas Karr, co-author of "Corporate Blogging for Dummies" (Wiley, 2010); founder, Marketing Technology Blog; CEO, DK New Media
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.