The Hard Work of Leisure Devices

When we work, hopefully we like to work hard and get the tasks at hand done, or at least keep them under control. And, when we relax, it is nice to have our favorite gadget handy to help us unwind and escape the day. Whether it is listening to music, catching up with friends on a social network, or watching a video, leisure devices can be a great way to help us unwind from a long day.

At least that is what the product literature seems to suggest. In practical use, things don’t always work that way. Don’t get me wrong – I will be the first person to extol the benefits of technical devices for leisure time. But sometimes they can be just more effort than it seems deserving. So, let’s take a look at some of the scenarios that can turn leisure time into hard work.

I Thought It Was Charged

You’ve had a hard day at work, and want to escape for twenty minutes or so by catching up with friends on your favorite social network. You settle down in a comfortable spot with your handy device ( tablet, smart phone, laptop, etc.) and fire it up. No sooner than you focus on the screen a message pops up, telling you it’s electronic feeding time. No matter how hard you try to sneak a peek before the time runs out, it’s just not going to work.

Do you hunt down the power cord and come back? Will a power cord even work in your current favorite spot? Perhaps you shut down the current device and hunt down another one with the hopes that it has enough of a charge to work right now. Or maybe you decide to avoid the effort and just shut it down, salvaging what you can of the few minutes you have left. But what about that witty status update in your head – you just have to share it. So off you go, in search of power. Now you’re working for the device and not the other way around. This is not the way it should work.

What Do You Mean I’m Out of Range?

This time you’re not going to be fooled. You left the tablet on charge this morning, and you know it’s good for nine hours plus. After a long day you grab it and head out for the front porch or patio, a perfect spot to bask in the ending of the day. You sit down in a comfy chair, admire the day’s end, and turn on the tablet. But from there things go bad – you have no connection in this location.

Not to be outdone, and working from experience, you try different tablet positions. You twist, turn, rotate, and reposition your hands. By trial and error you discover that if you hold the tablet over your head in a downward facing position you can get a signal. The feeling of satisfaction soon gives over to unrest, as both your arms and neck ache from the strain of the position. This is just too much work.

I Forgot the Accessory

Sometimes nothing is better than relaxing to music and letting your mind wander away from your problems. Sneaking a chance to do that, you grab your smartphone that is loaded with music and head for a private oasis. When you get there, you sit down, relax, whip out the device and reach for the headphones. Wait, where are the headphones?

So, now you have to get up and get the headphones. You go check the last place you remember using them, and they are not to be found. Now you have to backtrack your actions from the last twenty four hours, and soon you’re on a not so merry chase though the house and car looking for the headphones. After twenty minutes or so you have it narrowed down to one possibility – you left them in your pant pocket yesterday. Aha, you go to retrieve them, only to find that the pants have been freshly laundered, with the headphones in the pocket. Now you are faced with a trip out to the store to buy new headphones just to be able to relax. This again is just too much work.

I Forgot to Sync

You can’t wait to get caught up with your favorite show. You paid your dollar earlier today for the convenience and downloaded the episode on your laptop. You hooked up your smartphone to the laptop and got it ready to watch while you did your work. When it was time to go, you grab your smartphone and leave your laptop at work, anxious to watch your show at a relaxing time later.

Now it is later, and your tasks are done. Dinner has been put away, the dog has been walked, the kids are tucked in, and it’s time for a little personal time. Happy with the anticipation, you pull out the smartphone and prepare to watch the latest episode of your show. And then it hits you – you forgot to hit the sync button.

When you had the smartphone hooked up earlier you were rushing to get to some important emails. In doing so, you simply forgot to hit the button. And now your episode is sitting on the laptop at work, which is turned off and unavailable. What can you do?

Well, you could trudge over to your home computer and download the episode again. Deciding that you really want to watch the show, you do exactly that. But first you need to authorize the computer for account access. By the time you get everything okay with the service and get the episode actually on the local computer you have all but passed out with your head propped up on your arms and bleary eyes staring at the clock in the corner of the screen. Realizing that it is time for bed you finally hit the sync button and trudge off in that general direction, mumbling to yourself, “This is just too much work”.

While this may have been a less than serious look at how our so called leisure devices can be more effort than expected, it does point out that technology is still in the stage that there may be a few “gotchas” in its use. Maybe 5 or 10 years from now such devices might truly be leisure-proof (so to say…), but for now expecting the unexpected might be the best way to co-exist with our favorite gadgets.