The Most Epic of Epic Technology Failure

Remember how I said I was going to do some artifact analysis? Well, it turns out that I have had major technical difficulties when it comes to recording my interview sessions. That is, my supposed future interview sessions. You see, I upgraded to Windows 7 on both my 32bit and 64bit machines. However, Skype doesn’t play nice with Win7 64bit, my primary computer. So after worrying that my interviewee wouldn’t want to wait for me to install Skype on my 32bit machine, I sent an email and got to work.

Not only did my interviewee not appear, and still hasn’t responded to me, but I also don’t have a way to record my Skype calls yet. I have done everything possible. I bought a microphone headset. That works. I bought an audio splitter because my computer didn’t have a stereo mix. That didn’t work, no matter the combination of settings or plugging hardware together. I updated the driver for my sound card, so I now have stereo mix. Only guess what? It’s recording the air waves, and nothing from my computer. That’s right, it’s recording radio. Actual, honest-to-God radio that I can’t hear with my puny human ears unless I turn a fricking radio on. My computer is picking up radio waves somehow and I don’t know how to stop it.

I just want to make a call through Skype, and record it. I want to have my voice and my caller’s voice on the file. Why is that such a difficult thing to ask for? I have spent three days trying to figure this out. Three days where I should have been working on ceramics, or doing artifact analysis, or working on my work-in-progress paper (which was accepted to CHI 2010, by the way), or anything else.

Instead, I sit here, fuming, wanting to slaughter something. I hate technology. I hate technology because it doesn’t work the way it should, even when you follow the instructions. Welcome to the reason why I’m a human-centered designer: technology-centered design makes us want to blow our brains out.

I’m meeting with my thesis adviser today. I don’t know what I’m going to say. Oh, yes, I said I’d try to have one observation and one interview, as well as… oh, I don’t know, analyze three artifacts? Well, I got one interview and a follow-up, my second interview disappeared, I can’t record future interviews, and I haven’t done any artifact analysis because I’m so frazzled I want to hurt something. I don’t like not meeting my goals. It’s aggravating. Even moreso when it’s because of a technology failure that, when you consider it logically, the technology should work.

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