17 August 2008

Connection Issues: Technology

My internet connection stopped connecting me to the world this past week. As I was going away for a few days I did not jump to resolve the disruption, hoping it would sort itself out.

Upon return, I did all I know to do then called my internet service provider who then proceeded to give me the run around. While I could use some exercise, I didn’t want a run around from them. I wanted efficient service and a reestablishment of my service. That’s why I pay my bills on time.

Upon thorough investigation, they noted that there was a disruption of service, not only to my address, but to the entire exchange. Resolution should come soon.

It’s been a few days now. I now know terminology about networking, mostly in acronyms, that I don’t really want to know. I like wireless. My computer, a faithful Mac, asks me if I’d like to join a network and I say, "Yes!” and I’m on. That’s how it is supposed to work. It works in hotels and cafes and some airports. Why is it not now working in my home?

After four calls to my ISP, receiving different information and advice each time, I’m taking a risk of $80 for them to send a technician out to see where the fault might be. I am totally at their mercy. They can say it is within my sphere of responsibility and I’ll have no way to refute it. That’ll cost me $80.

They may say it is their fault. In which case, the man, Allan, may say sorry, but probably not because he’ll be employed by a subcontractor who tidies up after the big teleco. The mobile technicians are not at fault. They are just the meat in the middle of the sandwich.

They may say there is still a fault in the exchange, possibly a result of over 28 days of rain in July, and they may have no estimate of the time it’ll take to resolve the issue. They may then think I have issues because this is NOT why I pay my monthly bill on time.

Yes, I can go to a café that offers wireless access for the price of a cup of tea. I did that yesterday and had the Olympics in the background as a bonus. The commentators are running short of adjectives for Michael Phelps. They should’ve paced themselves earlier on!

But our lives, many of us anyway, are very much linked to the internet. We look up tide times and exchange rates and TV schedules and bus schedules and recipes and blogs and news and do research and try to find things we need to buy or places we want to go . . . . and, being so far from so many friends and relatives, I like having that email link. It bridges the great divide and lessens the distances sometimes.

Technology. I can live without it. Have done. On the other hand, used as a tool and not allowed to become a tyrant, technology is a very handy thing to have on hand.

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