We are living in the information age. Information about anyone in the
world is on a computer somewhere. Computers have become an everyday part
of our lives. Although they serve a useful purpose, they can also lead to
frustration by people who like to do things the old-fashioned way. Computers
used in cars, business voice mail systems, and just in general often produce
more inconvenience than convenience.

A car's computer is designed to locate problems and notify you
when something is wrong. It allows the mechanic a detailed look at your
car's insides without even opening the hood. In theory, this sounds great,
but in practice, it often causes more headaches than a non-computerized car.
According to a recent NEWSWEEK article, cars with computers break down 32%
more and repairs cost almost twice as much as cars without computers. These
systems are not perfect and may either incorrectly display a problem or not
display it at all. Also, you can't get your cars diagnostic yourself unless
you have the expensive computer software needed to get the data.

Another example of inconvenience caused by computers is the business
voice mail and menu system. These systems speak to the caller and give them
a list of options that they can enter in a touch-tone phone to go to another
menu or service. Callers often waste a large amount of time listening to
these menus with every call, especially those callers with pulse phones who
can't interact with the system and must wait through the entire menu to
speak with an operator. Although it is billed as a replacement for dozens of
phone answerers, the frustration it causes on callers is certainly not
justified.

Computers in general are also guilty of causes us more inconveniences
in our modern world. Ask anyone that has had a bank computer error how much
of an inconvenience that was for them. Anyone who owns a computer has shelled
out over $2000 on a machine that will be obsolete in 2 years and then worth
roughly 1/8 of its purchase price. Another inconvenience is busy signals
produced by modems connected to online services. If the line has call
waiting, it will disconnect the modem and ring the phone. This in itself
has been known to elicit some rude behavior in people.

Although our society has benefitted greatly since the advent of the
Information Age, computers still cause major inconveniences when used
where they just complicate things. It might not be chic or trendy, but
sometimes doing things the old-fashioned way is superior.