Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tech wars and terminators

It's actually nippy here today. Before anyone asks, yes, really nippy. I was forced to put on clothing before venturing into the cool confines of my living room. I turned off the fan and donned real clothing, instead of my usual morning uniform of over sized t-shirt or white cotton nightgown now wearing great splotches of black ink. I had an accident with the ink bottle when I filled my fountain pen last night while sitting on the bed. The great spill, as it will now be called, cost me half a bottle of Levenger's finest black ink and another shower, not to mention the damage to the sheet and my nightgown. I only have two nightgowns and that is why I am dressed before dawn instead of lounging around under the faux mink throw with my feet up. The other one is in the laundry that I didn't do over the weekend, along with my over sized t-shirts.

It's also frustrating here this morning. I have no Internet.

I called the phone company because the DSL was wonky yesterday and after a long menu of pushing buttons to respond to a menu-driven idiot system asking me to check the things I'd checked before I called, I finally spoke to a human being. After a few minutes and a couple of tests on the other end (I think they just put you on hold and go for coffee or a restroom break), the result was that I need a technician to come out today to check the wiring. I had this problem before and the guy told me he replaced the crumbling and aged wiring with all brand new, high tech wiring, but maybe he didn't. I suffered through four hours of no Internet access before calling my ISP and asking for a local dial-up number, configured the program, plugged in the phone wire and listened to the tinny sound of the modem dialing, rushing static and then voila! connection at 54 kbps. That's a far cry from the usual light speed. Nothing like crawling along at sub-light speeds. But I was connected and checked my email.

The real reason for going the dial-up route instead of waiting for a technician to show up between the hours of 8 and 12 today was because I needed to get my weekly reviews written and sent so I would get paid this week. With no guarantee my access would be fixed by 10 a.m., I needed to take care of things ahead of schedule, and I'm glad I did. Books read. Check. Reviews written. Check. Email written and reviews attached (I forget the attachment once in a while). Check. Email sent. Check. Done and done. Deadline met.

While I was online checking on some other necessary information, like funds available for paying bills and rent and buying food, I did a little research and reading and engaged in a little Live Journal badinage between one of my favorite LJ friends. He usually has something interesting to say and it often involves food and laughter. Last night was no exception. We talked of callused gun boats, the efficacy of large pink grapefruit to soften and remove said calluses and the farming of maggots for digesting dead flesh. You had to be there. Then I disconnected the dial-up and went to bed early with a book.

This morning, dressed and ready for a quick trip to the grocery store for breakfast foods, I decided to turn on the computer and check email, just to get it out of the way. As the modem began to do its little tonal dance, the line stutter-beeped. I had a voice mail message. Someone called when I was online last night. I unhooked the line, plugged it into the phone and dialed my voice mail. Two messages. The first was from the phone company. They canceled the technician this morning because the problem is an outage in the area. Well, duh! A computer generated phone call will let me know when the outage has been resolved. Oh, goody! It was their problem all along. I figured that out before I answered the 50 stupid questions about whether the modem was plugged in and the cables connected.

One thing I have noticed about technical support is they don't know much about technology and with their kind of support in my bra my boobs would be on the floor. The people usually speak English and reside within the confines of the continental United States, but their expertise is limited to their memorized spiel. Get them off track by asking a pertinent question and explaining that you did the things they're asking you to do before you called and they are completely lost and must go back to the beginning. I often wonder if they're not computer generated menus that just sound like real human beings because they sure don't act like rational, intelligent, tech-savvy people. If that's the current generation of artificial intelligence, I don't think Skynet is going to happen in our lifetime and no terminators will be striding across the landscape over our decomposing flesh and stripped skeletons any time soon.

Long story short: I still have no Internet without dial-up which ties up my phone so I won't know when the outage is fixed. At least I have access and I'm dressed and ready to go outside, get in my car and start driving until I find some quiet, secluded mountain valley to stop, get out and scream until my throat is bloody and my voice fails me. Life is good.

That is all. Disperse.

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