The Learning Curve

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September 2, 2016 by phicks2012

computer-clipart-clip-art-computers-041075Okay, so I finally broke down and got myself a tablet — of sorts. Eventually, the plan is to get myself an actual TABLET tablet — the full computer kind with all (or most) of the cool bells-and-whistles. I want the kind you can actually DRAW on using a stylus, with a detachable keyboard and a screen too large to put in your pocket. YES!! But in the meanwhile, I got myself a Kindle Fire, because the price was right — i.e. cheap — and it would enable me to download books.

Nowadays bookstores are practically non-existent, and when you can find a newstand the selection of actual books tends to be painfully limited. In utter desperation, I’d recently downloaded the Kindle-for-PC App so that I could download books to my desktop, but, with the PC, “portability” wasn’t exactly a viable option. I couldn’t, for example, easily haul my PC up to my bedroom so that I could read for a bit prior to nightly oblivion, or take it with me to give me something to read while stuck in boring waiting rooms where the only diversion tends to be mindless daytime TV shows. Nope. I had to have something considerably smaller and more convenient.

I’ll tell you though, that since I still didn’t even have a smartphone — okay, I HAD one but hadn’t upgraded my service yet — my experience with touch screen technology was painfully limited when I got the Fire. It LOOKED simple, and mostly is WAS simple, but whenever you upgrade your technology there’s always a “Learning Curve”.

Terminology and organization/layout changes so that functions aren’t called the same things and aren’t found where they were on older platforms or in older programs or apps. Something you’re accustomed to finding on one menu under a particular name gets moved to another menu and under a different name. I’m not sure why, but programmers obviously feel that they need to mix things up occasionally, just to screw with us.

So I got my Kindle Fire in the mail and discovered that there were no instructions in the package. Nope. Nada. Just the tablet, and a charger with a ridiculously short cord, and a packing slip that probably should have read “Good luck figuring this thing out!!”

Okay, it wasn’t hard to work out the basics and there actually WAS a manual of sorts on the device itself (if you happened to know that and know to look for it). I didn’t know that, but I figured out which of the two buttons was the power button, and a little experimentation served to allow me to figure out how to register the thing and get it sync-ed with my PC and connected to my home network. I figured out how to get onto the internet too — though typing anything using the tablet was a royal pain-in-the-ass! It was easier by far to search for and order books using my PC and have them downloaded to both that and to the tablet. Then, once the book was on my tablet I could take the tablet upstairs and read. Voila!!

Only one problem. After doing that for the first time and then coming downstairs again I ordered two more books in the same series, and could NOT get them to show up on my tablet. Without instructions, I had no idea what some of the screen icons meant, and after trying repeatedly without success to get the new books “delivered” to my Fire (they showed up only on my PC) I finally gave up and called for tech support. HELP!!!!

It turned out that my bedroom was too far from the router for the tablet to maintain a connection with the home wifi (I needed and still need a signal booster), and that when I went up there the connection to the network was lost. That’s a good thing, in a way, because it tells me that neighbors and by-passers would be HIGHLY unlikely to be able to tap in, but REALLY! It could at LEAST reach my bedroom, right?

When I came back downstairs again the tablet SHOULD have looked for and reestablished the link, but it DIDN’T, and that turned out to be the issue. I had to reconnect manually to the home network every time I lost the connection — and my password is a gazillion-character alphanumeric that only a savant would remember. Yeah, I know, I need to change it to something less ridiculous, but in the meanwhile…..

Fortunately, after working with tech support for a while I was told how to force a reboot, and the reboot apparently allowed the network connection info to be saved. After that the tablet reconnected automatically as it should have done in th first place, and I figured I had things handled. Wrong.

A few days later the screen color changed, for no known reason, from normal to sepia-toned, like an old photograph. Because that aggravated me I fiddled with the display settings to no avail, and finally wound up calling tech support AGAIN because (to tell the truth) I was afraid I’d done something to damage the tablet. Something like maybe using the wrong cord to charge it because it was the same size plug as my cell phone and the cord that came with the tablet was too short to reach from the outlet to — ANYthing.

Those people are going to start putting me on a PEST list if I’m not careful, but it turned out that a setting called Blue Shade had somehow gotten activated. Figuring that out wasn’t at all intuitive since it definitely took the blue OUT rather than adding any, but that was the issue. I had to go into the settings/display menu and turn that function ON then OFF again to correct the problem.

I’ve now accepted the fact that I’ll probably continue to have stupid problems that make no sense at all, but at least I now know that there’s a manual on the device itself. Assuming it’s actually helpful — and that’s assuming rather a lot from my experience — I may be able to solve SOME future issues, and I figured that maybe learning to use the Fire would give me a knee-up towards learning to use my smart phone (when activated) and my future Dream Tablet — thus lessoning the Learning Curve.

That was (and is) the PLAN anyway. 😉


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