When all else fails, read instructions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ah, technology — what a blessing, what a curse. Yep, it’s great, as long as it works and works without stress to get it to work. The not working part is where this column begins.

My husband did a nice thing and gave me a new Kindle, an upgrade to the one he first gave me. It promised faster connection speed, better graphics and the Mayday feature that puts you instantly in touch with a support person who pops up on your screen.

While that is a great feature, I didn’t think I’d need it. I can read the user’s manual and figure out what I need to figure out, right? Oh, how wrong to think I knew anything about technology.

So, I turn the Kindle on and slip it into the new cover, also a gift from my husband. I’m ready to go. Unfortunately, it is not ready to go with me. Nope, it needs to go through a process that requires downloading something, which takes a while.

Finally, I get the message that it’s now ready. So, I decide to set up my email since I liked reading email on my old Kindle. I know it’s simple to add email because I did it on my older version. I begin and boom, the Centurylink account is good to go without a hitch. Now to add the Hotmail.

Step one, I type in my address. Step two, I type the password. Step three, I tap the word “Done.” Up pops a message telling me either the user name or password is wrong.

Well, I know that’s not so because I have the same information on my computer, my other Kindle, my iPad, my iPhone and the Hotmail works fine. I try a couple more times before I yell “Mayday.”

With a tap, up pops a person on my Kindle. I tell her my problem. She checks my device. (She can see what’s going on in the thing I’m holding in my hand from wherever it is she is sitting – that’s scary).

“It looks like you need the update,” she says. “That might be the problem.”

“I thought that was what it was doing when I turned it on and waited, and waited,” I said.

Oh well, what do I know about technology? So I follow her advice, which means we lose our connection. Before she disappears she says.

“That should fix it. If not let us know.”

The update takes a bit, but it finally finishes and I go through the add-an-email-account process. Nope, it doesn’t “fix the issue.” I get the same message. So, it’s back to Mayday.

I get a different person who decides I need bumping up to the next level of technical help. This person I can’t see, only a voice speaks to me from the screen. He gets my phone number and calls me so he can direct me without losing our connection.

We do all kinds of things to the Kindle and nothing works. So he says he is bumping me up yet another level and I will get a call from an expert on Monday (five days away).

To make a long story short, which it is too late to do, I spent about three hours Sunday night reading stuff on the Internet about how to fix the problem. And I did it. Yep, I got my email accounts working.

Oh I felt good. Yes, I declared myself a technological guru. I considered offering Amazon my services since no one ever called me on Monday.

Then I opened the new Kindle this morning and got a message that my Centurylink password was wrong. No amount of trying fixed it. So, I resorted to my older Kindle and the Centurylink worked fine.

Oh, but wait, this older Kindle now says my Hotmail password or user name is incorrect.

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday.