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How to use Uber for the first time


Today I will be using Uber for the first time. I've been hearing about it for a long time, and it's one of those things that seems as if everyone else knows, and understands. But there has to be a first time for everyone.

Doing something like this is as frustrating as beginning to learn a new software program. There's no lack of information, in fact there's a ton of it, and just getting to the beginning stuff is almost impossible to find.

I've been learning new software for decades now. And the first thing that you have to realize is that it's all pretty new, and that they're kinda making it up as they go along. No software is going to be perfect, it always has bugs, and things that go wrong, or are confusing, based on the fact that the software designers can't possibly foresee everything, and every way that people will use it. The fact that they do as good as they do has always been astonishing to me.

I set up my Uber account on my desktop. It's much easier to do it there, in the quiet and comfort of my home office. I set up the username, password, the usual stuff. I did as much as possible on my desktop, then I downloaded the app to my phone. An app, by the way, is just the shortened word for "application", which is what software is.

I always recommend going with the defaults on software. That is, answer yes and OK to everything at first. Yes, you agree, yes, it can send you notices, that sort of thing. Yes, yes, yes. They give you a bunch of options to make some people feel better, but really, you need them all for it to work. If you're afraid of the technology, I understand. But I'm not afraid. I know that it works for me.

I'm a big believer in "dress rehearsals". That is, go through the whole thing as if it were totally real. I'll be taking my first trip today, and I expect it to be fine. If not, well, I'll try again. The biggest mistake you can make with any software is to use it for the first time when you really, really need it. I know this sounds cynical, but it's just being realistic. Sometimes things go wrong, and there are bugs you need to work out.

Oddly enough, one of the strangest things is finding it on your phone. In a perfect world, there would the words "Uber", but there isn't. There's just a strange-looking logo which I had never seen before. Sure, you'll learn to recognize it in time, but at first that will be your challenge. Which app is it? So look at the logo, learn to recognize it. In defense of the designers, the space allowed on the screen for an app is tiny, and you learn to recognize logos quickly, like the faces of friends. They start out as strangers, of course, but they become friends. I've been staring at the logo for a couple of days and I see nothing in it, certainly not a "U" or the words Uber, or anything. Not sure what it is, just an abstract shape. I'm sure they meant well. Of course the name "Uber" means nothing to me, either. It's all abstraction.

So there you go. It's just a new piece of software. Install it, use it, and before you know it you'll be an old pro!