I suspect that starting to write in a seething, technology-induced rage is probably not such a good idea. It might, however, be therapeutic and cause my boiling adrenalin to cool off a bit and to discover the silver lining in an otherwise frustratingly black technology-malfunction-induced cloud. I emphasise the technology bit, as malfunction of electronics, especially brand new electronics, especially brand new electronics, that I was really looking forward to playing with and taking on the trail, is about the only generic object instantly capable of accelerating me from a mood of zen calm to Captain Haddock rage.
I suppose the main problem, if I am being forensic about the whole episode, is designing the space between deciding to go and actually setting off, inhumanly short. 10% of the fun of going on an expedition is updating kit and getting around to buying the bits and bobs, that I have been saving up to purchase for the next trip. I have been wandering around outdoor equipment shops over the last two days, working through my list of new and replacement items (and a big thank you to Snow & Rock, Dundrum http://www.snowandrock.com, who were more than helpful and to the team at Great Outdoors, Chatham St. Dublin, http://www.greatoutdoors.ie, who although they didn’t have what I was looking for, were, as usual, outstandingly friendly and competent). And very enjoyable it is too. I am getting better at avoiding purchasing stuff that looks really useful in the shop, but which both isn’t actually and takes up valuable space whilst adding unnecessarily to pack weight: the knowledge that every single item is going to have to be personally transported over 500km makes one highly selective on which items to confer that privilege.
However: No jacket, no pair of hiking boots, no water bottle can ever conspire to produce the levels of frustration that a piece of electronic equipment, more specifically the unavoidable software without which even the most mono-functional gadget seems unable to be operated, can. (As an aside – I even have a headlamp that comes with its own unique software program, that needs to be installed and worked through, before I can switch the wretched thing on. I joke not). My largest purchase this time round was an Canon EOS 100 D SLR camera, light as a feather, beautifully crafted to sit in my hand and, according to Nigel at Conns Cameras, easy to operate. I am always slightly trepidous about digital cameras, as in my limited experience, the software required to communicate with them, is fiendishly complex and the distance between a happy snap and embedding said snap in my blog, is a long and arduous one, fraught with booby traps and labyrinthine strings of instructions. I approached the task with all the equanimity I could muster, carefully unwrapped the disks (all four of them), read the instruction manual beforehand (a relatively new and refreshingly positive experience for me) and ensured an uncluttered desk, free of precariously placed tea cups and glasses of water. The installation worked like a treat and I was in the process of patting myself on the back, whilst downloading my test photograph, when the EOS Utility program (without which the transfer of photos from camera to Mac is impossible) informed me that the programm would not work with this operating system. Irritated, but not yet dismayed, I checked back with the manual and was a little surprised to find that the program (which, remember, I had only purchased with the camera this afternoon) was designed to run on OS X versions 6 – 8. My Macbook currently runs on OSX 10.10 (not that this is at all interesting to anyone, other than to highlight the fact, that if I am working on 10.10, you can bet that everybody else in the Apple community stopped working with version 8.0 at least two years ago.) So, this brand new software was unable to function with my infrastructure, despite my having explicitly noted my requirement in the shop. I was still unruffled, because I was sure that there would be an update available on line and given my good mood and general state of equanimity, I was sure that the patch would be quickly located and would not prove to contain such a vast amount of data that our prehistoric internet connection would collapse under the burden of transporting it to my Macbook. Fifteen minutes later my equanimity had gone up in smoke, leaving a raging shell in its place, as after a few well-placed searches of the Canon website(s), it had become more than apparent that – having identified my OS accurately all by itself, the message was returned that there was ‘no update available for this operating system’. So there.
The thought of spending my last day at home before I leave, not at home, but arguing with Nigel at Canns Cameras in the middle of Dublin, is heartbreaking (especially as it is my wedding anniversary and I REALLY have much, much better things to be doing than figuring out which Canon Utility will work with which OSX, a task which would be unbearable on any ordinary day, but which, tomorrow, is beyond words). But that, it would appear, is to be my fate.
My back pack is packed though and weighs in at 11,8kg, a smidgeon under my goal of 12kgs. The bulk of the weight is apportioned to my electronics: Macbook, ridiculously long, heavy cable for Macbook, charger, sundry other cables, adapter and plugs. Without all the techno-guff, I would be weighing in well under 10kgs, which I wouldn’t even notice. I suppose I could ditch it all in favour of an iPad with detachable keyboard, but I don’t really trust that option and publishing this blog and inputting the photos in wordpress on the ipad is a nightmare.
If nobody has read this little rant through to the end, I would not be at all surprised – rants are never very interesting or entertaining. It has, however, produced the hoped-for benefit of taking the edge of my rage, so that I can probably confront Nigel with a pleasant smile and any thoughts of murder as suitable retribution for wasting my precious time, banished into the ether, transported thence by my muse, bless her.