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A week after setting up a new notebook, monitor, printer and iPhone software in his office, JOHN HARRIS bellyaches about the pain incurred in the struggle to make new technology work.

 I think of myself as a glass-half-full sort of guy: Pollyanna with a gender reassignment if you like.

But this past week has worn the sheen from my optimistic façade as I’ve struggled to configure a new notebook, buy new equipment and even get my beloved iPhone working properly.

So rather than boost technology’s latest greatest achievements, this week’s column is pure bellyaching about problems with computers.

Things started to go sour with my iPhone after Apple’s launch of iOS 4.0, the latest version of its phone operating system.

With blandished enhancements including multi-tasking, icon folders and a unified email inbox, I happily hit the upgrade button when iTunes informed me a software update was available.

As well as flushing away all the content and contacts on my iPhone, iOS 4.0 has made my handset run like a sumo wrestler wading through cement ever since.

I’ve followed Apple’s suggested remedies to this electronic lethargy, which range from repeatedly turning the handset off to reinstalling iOS 4.0 as a new phone – to no avail.

Today, I even attempted to downgrade my iPhone’s software back to iOS 3.1.2, but the handset spat the dummy with a 1015 error, which basically says there’s no reverse gear iPhone software upgrades.

So, despite ages messing around, I’m stuck with a sluggish iPhone, which I resentfully blame on Apple attempting to nudge its previously happy customers towards the latest model.

My next whinge is about the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional on my new ASUS notebook. 64-bit software addresses four gigabytes or more of computer memory which allows more programs to run better than with a 32-bit version of Windows.

The downside is that not all Windows software runs on the 64-bit OS, so I’m hand-knitting the software install to make sure everything I need works before moving from my old PC to the new notebook.

It’s a painful process with Windows regularly informing me that I’m installing the wrong software. While it may be 90 per cent complete, I reckon that last 10 per cent of 64-bit programs will be hard to find.

Another bane is the lure of end of financial year specials to my impulsive nature. Recently I saw a 27 inch ASUS monitor advertised for just $430. What a bargain! I thought and ordered two of them, one for home and one for work.

However, when they arrived, I found that despite its large size, the thin panel display was so glary, despite hours messing with the settings, that it was harder on my eyes than the screen it replaced.

My accommodating computer store accepted the returned screens and I eventually spent more than twice as much on a 27-inch Dell monitor with IPS (In Plane Switching) technology, a joy to behold.
This clearly demonstrates the principle that you get what you pay for.

Which I’m sure is true with the 2010 version of Microsoft Office installed on my new PC – if I could only find where it’s hidden in that labyrinthine design.

John Harris is managing director of Impress Media Australia. Email jharris@impress.com.au.

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