Tech Support, Tech Age and Imbalance of Tech

just got back from once again picking the masked technical support hero role, this time for my grandpa.

he bought some samsung tablet (to digitally read the paper) from the small local computationally specialised business establishment, complete with setup and introduction services.

the latter 2 consisted of setting up futuristic face recognition to unlock the device, installing apps he wants (2 newspapers) and logging him in with online accounts he needs (google, mail). for this purpose he had to give the employee all of his passwords. i once set him up with keepass for secure unique passwords (instead of using the 1, 2 letter name of someone he knows as a password for everything), so he couldnt tell them the password for his mail account. the employees solution: making him a new samsung email address and telling him to give this new address to all people and services that used the previous one.

when i arrived, he gave me a piece of paper from that shop that included a list of login credentials of the online services he uses. one of them wrongly was his keepass master password, i guess he just told them every password he knew, hoping to do the right thing. at the bottom it said "notify us if any of these change". now that i think about it, im pretty sure the new samsung address he was supposed to switch to had an empty password field, which i guess means only they know the password. the only explanation i have for all of this is that their service is saving all of their customers login credentials to be able to help them easier and to aid them in case they forget their password.

many people having no idea how to properly use their devices and the devices themselves not teaching their basic usage is a problem. for example, neither my grandpa nor my mum understand the concept of minimising apps by opening the home screen vs opening the task switcher and actually closing them. very understandable as thats not obvious at all. i tried to explain that multiple times in the past of course, but they still dont really understand it. so his tablet was full of opened apps, it looked like every single app that was (pre)installed. this probably also leads to people thinking their devices are slow and they need a new one. but apparently, teaching this basic usage of the operating system was not part of the paid introduction service. getting all of his current and future passwords, permanently saving them in the companys certainly very secure database and telling him to just use a new email address instead of recognising the password manager on his current devices (devices which i guess they must have used since he was logged in with his google account, no idea how they did that without the password, maybe it could somehow be authorised with his phone instead, i dont use "regular" devices/systems/services so i have no idea) and/or attempting to recover/change that password as to not make him lose access to this very important email account.

the usual conclusion: technology sux. or rather, knowledge being actively withheld and the lack of knowledge being the desired state and being exploited sux. devices/operating systems have to teach their basic usage. spreading knowledge is as easy as never before in the age of digital information, yet digital literacy is still low among users of digital things. but then there is also the problem of people just not being interested in learning those things and/or just not understanding it, which is entirely justified and understandable. they just want to quickly and simply do simple stuff on those newfangled contraptions, as everyone does nowadays. its an issue of incredibly complex things dominating our life and the only choices the vast majority of the time being the simple way with everyone exploiting your lack of understanding or having to spend every second of your life understanding the nearly infinitely complex things we use. knowledge has to be actively taught more often and assumed to already be there less often. at all skill levels. and exploitatation of countless kinds that can only be avoided by being an expert or even only by not using useful/important/mandatory things at all has to stop.

actual conclusion: the digital age is complex and difficult, and we have to be careful what direction we steer in. ditigal things give a lot of power. the power to build a potential utopia. but to wield this power one has to have extensive knowledge, and as any imbalance of power this can also very easily lead to a potential dystopia. there are always two sides to everything. most tools are neutral. its up to us to decide what we use them for.

how did i write down another novel out of nowhere (consisting of thoughts written down as they came to me, this might be unintelligible nonsense, in fact i regret it already) about my usual tech frustrations from just wanting to quickly share an anecdote about tech support? good question. i love computers and i like being able to help those around me with that kind of stuff to the best of my (also limited) ability and im very patient and have absolutely no problem with people not knowing or understanding things. quite the opposite actually, its fascinating what creative ways my mum comes up with using her very limited computer knowledge to do the things she has to do every day at work/home. its only those other things that upset me. though i have to admit, having to be tech support via phone and the person at the other end not at all being able to describe their issue (my grandpa not having been logged into his mail account because he couldnt tell the employee in the shop what his password is was described to me as "do you or your father (who once bought him his pc he uses actively) still have the access code to his pc? he needs it for a tablet he bought". he of course still had his pc user password and keepass master password.) or people not at all being able to understand instructions doesnt make it any easier.

and im also guilty of forcing things on people that they dont understand and cant use on their own. my grandpa has learnt how to open keepass and copy passwords. but he has no idea how to get those passwords to a new device. or how to get them should his pc break. i should instead combine those things with things familiar to him. for example, i could tell him to use shorter randomly generated passwords that can be manually typed without too much effort and also "save" them in an analogue password manager, as in writing them down on paper and putting that in a secure place. that way he always has access to them without any help instead of depending on me. power imbalance is bad.

anyway, huzzah, im off now, goodbye, to not knowing how to solve my tech problems and not wanting to ask people for help. ive once again been distracted from the dp opening 8bit cover, this time by a tech dream come true that i will make an extensive post about in the coming days. but after that ill definitely finish the cover. or will i? will i ever finish it? good question.