10 Tech... Battles you will never win

Technology is all about making our lives easier, except when it isn't

Whether it's making sure your phone is on silent or just trying to do anything on a phone in the countyside, tech is out to get you and at the worst possible moment.

Technology, it's an intrinsic part of your life. It lets you announce how hungover you are then share a customary Sunday roast Instagram finally finished off with a long and hideously detailed phone call with a friend about how everything was 'off the hook' last night.

Of course you'll never be able to do all three though, because that's technology at its core - fantastically useful and 100 per cent never capable of working just when you need it to. Don't believe us? Here are 10 tech battles where ultimately you will never be the victor...

1. Making your smartphone stay silent

You can turn the volume down using the little side buttons. You can go to Settings and turn audio off completely. You can then turn your phone off, dismantle it and put the parts in a suitcase and throw it in the sea. But come your next big meeting, funeral or intimate clinch you'll still hear “BEEP-BOP! BEEP-BOP!” to tell you yet another email from LinkedIn has arrived.

2. Remembering your set-top pin

Go on, tell us what it is without looking at the card stuffed inside? After a couple of failed attempts you're on the brink of being locked out of your telly, forcing you to shut everything down and yank the card out frantically. Yep, you've now missed the 9pm box-office slot… popcorn back in the cupboard.

3. Using mobile data in the countryside

With no wi-fi, 4G nor even 3G available, you're forced to deal with E, the lame horse of the downloading world or, worse, GPRS, the dead horse. Simply posting a tweet means holding your phone deathly still in one hand, like it's a sleeping baby filled with plutonium, while you will it to function. After 20 minutes you're told it hasn't worked and will, of course, immediately try again. You could have written the tweet on a Post-it note and cycled around the country showing it to people in less time.

4. Getting voice control to work

Never more hard-fought than when trying to showcase your new phone or games console to your parents. Go on, Mum, ask it anything, you prompt. “What time shall we have tea?” No, I mean, ask it something else. “What's the song in that advert about bread?' No, you have to ask it something that you could more quickly and easily find out yourself, like the current time. “Okay, what time is it?” No, you have to press it again… look, just forget it.

5. Finding a spare memory card

Put it anywhere other than inside your camera and it's never seen again. You have a better chance of finding a specific pin in a stack of other pins while blindfolded and using only your mouth.

6. Cleaning living room tech

Just like you, household dust is addicted to the holy plastic-meets-metal trinity of stereos, televisions and set-top boxes. Trying to wipe it away is as pointless as digging upwards – as soon as you've put the cloth away the dust has doubled, like the crows in Hitchcock's The Birds.

7. Untangling headphones

If approached in a calm, methodical manner, we're sure it's possible, but, really, who does that? You thrash at them wildly, one-handed, before they annoy you so much that you tug a bit too hard and damage the cable. As a result, music only comes out of one ear cup, really capturing that sonic nostalgia of pressing your ear against the closed door of a gig after being physically removed. Happy days.

8. Opening a car window the desired amount

We're all for the iCar invasion, but electric windows still appear to have just two settings: “retract fully to unleash a hurricane through your motor” or closed. All other options see your passenger despairing as you repeatedly press buttons to find the sweet spot, before demanding that you do it up again because the field smells a little too fresh. By this point a wasp's flown in, the ensuing panic causing you to crash into said field.

9. Typing with one hand

After five failed attempts at inputting your still pathetically unsafe six-letter password, blood pressure reaching dangerous levels, it's time to admit defeat and put the sandwich down.

10. Re-boxing any gadget, ever

The tech equivalent of trying to get toothpaste back in the tube. Out of the box came the device, a plug and a slim paper booklet, so why is it that now you want to get it back in there for Mr Ebay there's a power brick the size of a microwave? Replacing polystyrene packaging is a task that reduces grown adults to tears of frustration faster than you can scream, “Get the crystal!”