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Apps are the spawn of the devil

December 18, 2021

It must be my age. All I wanted to do was watch the cricket, even if this was, for an England supporter, an act of supreme masochism. What I didn’t reckon on was that subscribing to the channel that delivers the England-Australia Ashes series would be an act of even greater auto-flagellation.

In England, the channel we need is BT Sport. I wanted it on TV. Not on my phone. Not through an app.. On TV. So we tried to subscribe. Unknown to us, what we subscribed to was the online version, which would have condemned me to watching the cricket on a tiny screen via an app. No thanks. I don’t commute anywhere in the morning, so I have no need to sit on a train among COVID-breathing anti-maskers watching England squirming like rats on a skewer.

In fact, when I discovered that we had to access the coverage via an app, my heart sank. Or, to be honest, I went into a frothy, carpet-chewing rage. Especially when I tried to access the app and the BT website said that it’s broken but that they would fix it soon.

This seems to be the story with many apps, which seem to have been developed by ten-year-old manatees.

Take the NHS app. It gets there eventually, though it refuses to give me my medical records (as it says on the tin). But to get anywhere useful, you have to overcome at least three hurdles in the form of logins. This presents a formidable challenge to my fat fingers attempting to get the letters right on an ancient iPhone (six years old, which in tech terms might as well be prehistoric). All this for an infernal COVID pass.

This morning, when I arrived at my golf club to play in a competition, I was told that I had to sign in online. Since I don’t have the appropriate app, and don’t have the password to a website where I could sign in, my score will not count (not that it was worth counting, I hasten to add). The creeping domination of dumb software continues, and everywhere, people seem to be enthusiastically falling for it.

Another thing that pisses me off about apps is that I have to access them via the Apple Store, which means that I have to look up my Apple password before downloading them.

So here is a generational marker more significant than the clothes you wear, what you think about Boris Johnson (or Keir Starmer for that matter), knowing the name of the capital of Guatemala or whether you like documentaries or Marvel movies. Are you OK with apps or aren’t you?

I’m not only not OK with apps. I loathe them with a passion. I loathe their intrusiveness. I loathe their hidden agendas (how much money they make out of me, what they do with my data and so forth). I loathe their clunkiness. And most especially I loathe it when I’m told that to do this or that, I have to load a bloody app.

How dare governments, institutions and companies assume that you have the equipment to run apps, or, if you do, you wish to pollute your life with things that do absolutely nothing to enhance your existence and in most cases induce neuroses that never afflicted you before? I mean, who gives a damn whether on a given day I took five, ten or twenty thousand steps? And why do I need to be constantly reminded about how many beats a minute my beleaguered heart is forced carry out? Or, for that matter, how much quality sleep I’m getting? If I get tired during the day I can take a nap, for God’s sake.

This is not a howl of frustration on the part of an old fart who sees that he’s been left behind by technology. I’m quite capable of downloading apps. I just don’t see why I have to join the millions who walk into lampposts while ambling down the street. My phone is supposed to serve me, not me it.

Do apps enhance the quality of life? I doubt it. They just turn ordinary people into addictive personalities at best, and techno-zombies at worst.

When Vladimir Putin turns space into a no-go area and brings down the internet, I for one will not rage against the dying of the app. But I will allow myself a quiet smile at the stupidity at relying for most aspects of our daily lives on computers being able to talk to each other.

In the end, we subscribed to BT Sport’s infernal channel through Sky for the princely sum of twenty-seven quid a month, on the basis that we can cancel it when the cricket’s done and dusted. Not so long ago it was six quid. And what did I get? England being ground into the dust by a bunch of grim-faced Aussies to the accompaniment of yappy local commentators revelling in our discomfiture, laughing like hyenas at their stupid in-jokes. Not an English commentator in sight.

Come back Ian Botham and Geoffrey Boycott; all is forgiven. I bet they don’t like apps either.

From → Business, Media, Social, Sport, UK

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