I must start my column this week with a grovelling apology.

Last week I waffled on about a fancy new Samsung mobile I'd acquired through an advertising promotion. I grumbled that although it bristled with Android technology, I couldn't download an international newspaper with the elementary ease provided by an iPad.

Well, I took the problem to the newspaper's representatives in Hong Kong, who were so concerned by the anomaly, they involved their team in Paris to resolve the dilemma. After considerable correspondence and combinations of different download failures, they passed what appeared to be an unsolvable technical problem on to the newspaper's senior computer staff in New York.

For the best part of the week I have received a deluge of cyber support coming from all corners of the globe, all focused on discovering why my fancy new technology persistently refuses to download my subscription to the International Herald Tribune. By midweek I'd become quite chummy with the technical team, discussing Christmas plans and weather around the planet.


Believing downloading couldn't be done, I glumly concluded that I would have to keep carting around two mobile devices if I wanted to continue reading this particular newspaper.

As I grumbled over this at the dinner table, first my 7-year old and then the caregiver started tinkering with the Samsung.

"Are you positive you renewed your subscription correctly for an Android device?" murmured the caregiver, sceptical as ever about my ability to carry out cyber-transactions involving credit cards.

Indignantly, I assured them I'd carried out the procedure correctly.

"So where's the receipt in your emails, Dad?" asked my little one, searching my files. Further investigations indicated I'd made an error with my credit card details and that was the simple reason I couldn't download the newspaper. I'd been trying to start a car with no petrol in the tank, and had involved a considerable number of people around the world in a non-existent problem at the expense of the obvious.

Within minutes of the caregiver reloading my card details correctly, the newspaper was up and running.

As they handed my flash new mobile back to me, I thought I glimpsed - not for the first time - that pitying look reserved for those individuals who still pretend to understand the subtleties of advancing technology when clearly, they should be taking up residency in the nearest home for the bewildered.

• Peter Bromhead's new children's book, The Creepy Book of Creepy Crawlies goes on sale this weekend at Askew in Ponsonby. Bromhead will be signing copies on Sunday, December 16, noon to 3pm.