Just as we suspect that swans can’t really break arms, we also worry that we’re being force-fed misinformation and cheeky fibs by our beloved tech at every turn. Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? Consider the following howlers and get back to us…
1. “I’m poorly” Facebook statuses
Best Apps of 2011
John Warr, Monday 8.54am: “NO!!!!! Got terrible flu! Bring me the Lemsip… ugh, can hardly see…” Poor old John, having to miss work right at the start of the week; good of him to manage to get to Facebook, really. Oh, hang on, what’s this? A tagged photo of John in what looks like Cheeky’s night-spot on Sunday evening with all four straws of a barrel of cocktail leading straight into his gob? And he’s dressed just like he is this morning: in his pants. Get well soon, John.
2. Satnav directions
The computerised voice may fill you with confidence when it tells you to go right on the roundabout, third exit, but we’re not so sure ourselves. The small but impeccably accented man stuffed into your satnav sounds very stressed, limbs no doubt contorted around an absurdly tiny road map of Britain, desperately trying to turn the pages and warn you of traffic black spots. You know when your satnav runs out of charge? That’s him dying.
3. “Your mailbox is almost full”
Your work email tells you this, so you delete 1,000 emails. Then it tells you it again. Sorting through another 1,000 emails to deal with the situation as even more mail floods in is like trying to claw your way out of quicksand. Could this Kafka-esque labour of Hercules just be your company trying to keep you too busy to complain about its “no pay rise” policy? Yes. Yes, it could.
4. Washing machine time
If we all ran on this mythical time zone we’d get a hell of a lot done. Because when a washing machine tells you there’s two minutes left to go for your dark pants wash, you can leave the house, drive to the supermarket, do a shop, come home, cook dinner and clean the car before returning to find there’s now just one minute to go.
5. Microwave cooking instructions
“Remove sleeve, pierce film, cook on medium power for 3.5 minutes, remove, shake gently, add a teaspoon of water, stir, cook on high for a further 2.2 minutes, leave to stand for 1.7 minutes, check product is hot, add sauce, do a dance…” All this is just to make you think your “premium” supermarket meal needs extra careful preparation so you can justify the extra £1.52 you’ve spent on it.
6. ‘Best venue’ apps
If you’ve ever stood in the middle of an unfamiliar city and used your smartphone to find somewhere to dine, you’ll know what we mean. Without fail your location app will miss out the cool underground bars and that foodie-beloved, pop-up, rooftop buffalo burger joint in favour of the Bella Pasta by the Tube station which has two bottles of rosé for £8. There you can sit next to an exhausted and scared-looking young couple with six suitcases and a Harrods bag. Then maybe afterwards you can go together to Garfunkel’s and kill yourselves in the toilet.
7. Any kind of recommendation
“If you like Tom Waits you might also like One Direction”, “Other people you might like to be friends with: man who bullied you at school, your ex-girlfriend who tried to kill you and Argentina-based Nazi war criminal Martin Bormann.” Everywhere you turn, the internet is trying to suggest something ridiculous you might like to do. Ignore it.
8. Gym heart rate/calorie monitors
It’s amazing how ten miles of running only burns off half a Kit-Kat while at the same time giving you a heart rate that suggests you’re not a human at all but a frightened hamster. We were once actually ordered to stop by an exercise bike, so concerned was it for our health. On the flip side, we also once found a way to do the step machine – lightly shifting up and down on the pedals – that fooled it into thinking we’d scaled 70 flights of stairs in about five minutes. Ha!
9. Your rich mate saying he’s skint
His watch is the size of your face, he’s got a MacBook Air, drives a Merc, permanently has a sniffy cold and has just returned from a week in Monaco, yet he still insists on telling you how skint he is right now as you jab on the chip and PIN to pay for his Kopparberg. Hearing someone say “Oh I know!” in response to you saying you can’t wait for payday is like David Cameron ditching the Limo to walk to his meeting in Cannes in the name of austerity.
10. Running apps
Recently two members of Team T3 did the same half marathon using the same training plan with the same app. They trained twice together and noticed one of them was recording about a mile less than the other each time. There was no way to test who was being short-changed in their preparation until race day, when one of them hadn’t done enough training and nearly died in the last couple of miles. Lesson: don’t trust apps, trust watches.