Like death and taxes, computers giving us grief is now a life certainty. This week I’ve had the misfortune of combining all three of these life challenges. On the one day. A day that I had allocated as ‘wine-free’. That was a mistake.
I am not a numbers girl. I’m good with words. When I graduated from high school (about 30 kilos ago) my English grade was amongst the top 5% in the State. My Maths grade was dragging its belly along the bottom 5%. Apparently the examiners don’t give marks for simply writing your name and then proceeding to transcribe the lyrics to The Boomtown Rats’, I hate Mondays on the exam paper while failing to answer a single question (true story).
I wear my fear of numbers with pride. They’re not my strength and they never will be. And that’s OK. There are plenty of people who are good with that stuff and I’ll happily pay them to keep my sanity. My accountant is high on my speed dial list, and the top of my Christmas card list too, incidentally. Alas, even my darling accountant can’t take all the financial left hooks for me and I have to put on my big girl panties and deal with the Australian Tax Office myself occasionally.
Along with maths, patience is also not a strong suit of mine. I’m not good with bureaucracy, unnecessarily complex processes, or programs that don’t work. So you can imagine that calling the ATO puts the fear of God into me (and I’m an atheist!). I don’t need to go into the boring details of my tax situation suffice to say, it’s not complex nor is it Christopher Skase-esque.
My call to the ATO earlier this week ended with two police officers at my front door checking on my welfare. When they were satisfied that I was not the insane one in the scenario, they left and I swiftly wrote this letter to my local police station.
“I just wanted to send a big thank you to the two officers that turned up to my house to check on my welfare less than five minutes after I’d hung up on a very infuriating phone call with the Australian Taxation Office.
You boys and girls in blue do an amazing job and I’m only sorry that my comment to the ATO about their systems making me suicidal was taken literally. If only they could actually help Australian businesses out instead of hindering, perhaps we wouldn’t be inspired to use such casual and emotive language.
Anyway, I think you guys do an amazing job. Your response to a situation that, unbeknownst to you, didn’t actually exist was outstanding. I can certainly appreciate that if someone was in need how invaluable your services would be. Your service made my day. I think you guys and girls are terrific.”
Credit where credit is due. And I’m certainly not about to write a love letter to the ATO anytime soon. Clearly, darling 28-ers, I can’t help you with your taxes BUT I’m happy to share some wisdom on the other life certainty. Computers.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not an IT helpdesk. I’m not a computer person. And I don’t know any more or less than anyone else about how www.28bysamwood.com works. But I do know it’s a detailed site with loads of complicated coding and shit behind the scenes (I’m just guessing cos’ …ahhh…‘shopping list’!). It’s also only 8 months old. That’s a teeny tiny baby in website land. Think back to how you first interfaced (that’s a computer geek term for “used”) with Facebook. That world is mighty different now to the one Zuckerberg spat out of a Harvard dorm room more than 16 years ago.
We have high expectations of our computers and the Internet and our phones and every other little thing that we use to run our modern lives. It’s easy to take all of this for granted. It’s easy to forget that, like us, our devices and gadgets, are also just a work in progress. Glitches, annoying bugs and imperfections are actually frustratingly normal.
So I’ve become an expert Googler and a problem solver hack. I don’t like things getting in my way. Before 28 I’d use hurdles like a computer refusing to play my workout, as an excuse to ditch the whole program. Thankfully I’m now fully obsessed with 28 and Sam that I just can’t quit him that easily.
Computers are cantankerous bastards (Exhibit A: “The 2016 online Census debacle”). If 10 people reading this are having issues accessing or downloading the 28 workouts then it’s likely there’ll be 10 different reasons.
Here are my suggestions for keeping your sanity and dealing with the cantankerous bastard in your life:
- Halt & Catch Fire. Which means…Stop. Save. Close everything.
Shut down, have a wine and restart. Stuff gets clogged in the computers brain, especially when you’re accessing a site that is data heavy like 28. Who knows what shit your device is storing and getting hung up on? So start everything from scratch and load everything again. Don’t ask your device to ‘pick up where you left off’. Don’t ask it to use any part of its brain for anything. Let it rest – think of it as ‘stretch and recover’ after a workout.
- Clear your cache and delete your browsing history. Just Google ‘how to’ for your specific device. (here’s a link) No doubt there’s a myriad of ways to do this and, like I said, I’m no expert.
- Try a different device. If you’re lucky enough to have a smart phone, a laptop and an iPad or similar then give one of them a go instead.
- Change Browsers. Chrome NEVER works for me but Safari is pretty smooth sailing. No idea why. I know Chrome works for many. I’ve stopped trying to figure it out and just go to Safari for my workouts.
- Update everything. Make sure you’re running the latest versions of the programs, applications and browsers you use.
- Restart your modem (or router, if you’re on a fancy network) and then do step 1. If Computers are cantankerous bastards then the Internet is its wicked best friend who enables it by enticing it to wag school and smoke behind the shelter shed at recess. Australia’s Internet sucks. We might as well be a third world country. You can run speed tests on your network. Check with you service provider. Most have a site you can go to, to find out if everything is working, as it should. For example, this is the one for iinet
- Be prepared. Some very clever 28-ers have posted solutions for doing your workout manually when all else has failed and you simply don’t have time to trouble shoot (and in the moment, who does?!). I’ve read ideas like re-do a pre-saved workout and check out the preview of the workout exercises and then use an interval timer to do them yourself (there’s some pretty good apps for interval timing, just do a search in your app store). Sure, this solution is less than ideal – but hey…at least you ain’t quitting.
- Call Sam personally on 0488 56…juuuuust kidding.
Good luck friends…may the downloading and computer gods be with you and your workout.
Now, I’m off to call the ATO …if you don’t hear from me within three hours then send help. Or wine. Lots of wine.
PS – a really helpful email to know is firstname.lastname@example.org – those professional fitness spunks are actually qualified to answer any concerns you have and aren’t just, you know, amusing themselves by writing a blog about it. They’ve got much more important stuff to do!