I’ve been thinking a lot this week about living in a digital world and all the things that have surprised me lately. I guess I gave our technological universe more credit than it deserved.
Number 1. I have a UK iTunes account. My friend gave me a US iTunes gift voucher for xmas, which I was not able to use because I’m tied to the UK store because that is where my bank is physically based. I can’t switch to the US or Mexican store for the same reason. This seems idiotic to me. I have online banking. My statements are online. My money goes where I do. But not so according to iTunes. And the music I get from them is a digital download. It’s not like I’m asking them to spend extra money in posting it to Mexico. It really surprised me ‘cos I thought Apple were more forward thinking than that.
Number 2. Netflix – same as above. Forced to join the Mexican site as it will not take my UK credit card ‘cos my computer is in Mexico. Also because I’m now a member of the Mexican site, every English film has Spanish subtitles….and there is no option to turn them off. On the one hand I can pretend it’s helping me improve my Spanish…on the other hand we both know I’m lying.
Number 3. Paying my Orange phone bill was difficult also. There wasn’t an option to do it online. You could phone them to use your credit card but there was no option to transfer money using the bank or by logging into a secure website. My dad ended up having to sort it out (for which I am very grateful). This coupled with all the issues I had with them about getting my phone unlocked for the move abroad means I am unlikely to ever want to be an Orange customer again.
Number 4. Some of the sites that I regularly use on the internet which end in a dotcom have now got the extra addition of dotcom.mx and everything is in Spanish. What if I don’t want the Mexican version of my gossip site? What if I want to keep up with UK or US gossip? Hmmmm?? Also all the ads down the side of my Facebook are in Spanish now. Why can’t they just leave things alone??
Number 5. Wifi & phone service in general. I know it’s all a money making thing and roaming charges are making them a fortune but wouldn’t it be nice if we could have a global network. One that you could sign up to and have no interruption to your service as you zipped around the world. Can’t we all just be the same?
On the plus side though I love FaceTime and Skype. Having the ability to have conversations with family and friends at home is amazing and this has made living far away a little easier.
I think that in 2013 there are so many options to help us live smarter and more connected despite the physical distance between us. And I know the focus of big companies is to make money and not to make our lives easier but it would be so lovely if it was. There is so much technological potential but it feels sometimes like we are looking at it with old heads and tired eyes. I expected so much more from the digital world. The world is a much smaller place now and I think there needs to be a revision of the lines that divide us. There are so many avenues for having a virtual presence that it seems a shame not to fully utilize them. I would love to be able to start thinking of myself as a citizen of the world rather than being tethered to my passport or my bank account. Shouldn’t we stop worrying about which country owns which resource and start concentrating on what we can do with all this technology? What do you think?
Still reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad