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Bill Kalmar

Quality Insider

Yes, I Am Technically Inept

Apparently I’m not smarter than my smart devices

Published: Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 12:01

The other day I observed a person locking his car with a key. When’s the last time you saw that? What with remote lock and unlock and key fobs, keys are a thing of the past. 

We have a new car, and it comes with a key fob. As you approach the car, one merely needs to press a button on the door, and eureka, the door opens! Once inside the car, there is a button to start the engine—no key. Our car also has “stop–start,” which means when you come to a red light and press the brake, the engine shuts off. This saves on fuel and accounts for the great gas mileage we achieve.

My smart car also has a feature that warns the driver that something, a package or person, may be in the back seat. The alarm and message on the screen states: “Check rear seat.” This is a feature to alert people that there may be a child in the back seat... in case you aren’t smart enough to have figured that out. It is triggered by opening and closing the rear door. And of course there are a multitude of alerts and warnings that pop up such as, “Time to change oil” and, “How much pressure is in the tires?” to name just two items.

Now, moving on from the car, I attempted to install a software update on my smart phone. It’s called a smart phone because it’s smarter than I am, what with all the information it has packed into it. Unfortunately, I learned from my phone carrier that my phone will not accommodate an update because there is not enough memory. Not sure how smart that was. To remedy this, I would have to upgrade to a more expensive phone, so I decided that I am perfectly content with what I currently have. Take that, smart phone.

Our children bought us a big-screen smart TV—there’s that word again. The TV is so smart that it has features such as 4K that aren’t currently offered on regular channels. And here’s a feature I was not aware of: Our son called me and told me that he had sent a link to my phone, and I should open it. When I did, the information on my phone—a movie—suddenly appeared on the TV. So there we have a smart phone communicating with a smart TV and—somewhere in the middle—I sit confused, trying to figure out what happened.

So as you can see, I am troubled with all the muddled information I am receiving from our car, our phone, and our TV. 

Maybe the person I saw opening the car with a key had it right—we oldsters are more comfortable living in the past!


About The Author

Bill Kalmar’s picture

Bill Kalmar

William J. Kalmar has extensive business experience, including service with a Fortune 500 bank and the Michigan Quality Council, of which he served as director from 1993 through 2003. He served on the Board of Overseers of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and has been a Baldrige examiner. He was also named quality professional of the year by the ASQ Detroit chapter. Now semi-retired, Kalmar does freelance writing for several publications. He is a member of the USA Today Vacation Panel, a mystery shopper for several companies, and a frequent presenter and lecturer.