As a teenager I thought I was top of the tree when I got a small, yellow, portable transistor radio for Christmas and was even more impressed when, the following year, I received an all singing, all dancing ‘slim-line’ Texas Instrument Scientific calculator (rather than the inch thick basic one I’d had previously). As for the day my parents swapped our old, traditional dial telephone for a push button one, well that ranked as a huge upwardly mobile moment but not quite as huge as the day they traded in our black and white television for a colour one!
All relatively harmless and straightforward gadgets but still important to a young girl, growing up in a world which was rapidly becoming more and more technology led.
But, oh, how innocent those days were and yet that was clearly the start of the rapid spiral towards the throw away society we are now. A spiral towards reliance on technology and the development of a need, for a large number of people, to constantly update to the latest version of a device, even if the newer model can only boast one or two ‘improvements’ or ‘new features’ and even if the ‘old’ version is only a mere 6 months old.
Even for those of us not caught up in this ‘upgrade’ frenzy, the level of technology we need to exist is bizarre, in fact when you think about just how much our everyday lives revolve around various computers and machines, it’s really quite daunting.
Take Mud for example, his job relies on him having access to a good, reliable broadband connection and up until very recently, this was the case. Over the last 2 weeks or so, however, the service has become almost unusable, certainly for his day to day work, with the connection dropping without notice and the actual speed being a diabolical 0.08 – 0.5 mbps. Together with the fact that this also affects his enjoyment of Virtual Landy World and he is becoming somewhat stressed. So today, while Mud was working away, I contacted our service provider to try and get something sorted out.
Unfortunately the first guy I spoke to had such a heavy foreign accent I could barely understand his normal speech never mind the techno gabble he was also blurting out. Half an hour into this phone call and I was completely exhausted with the effort of trying to decipher what he was telling me. Finally the call was finished and although I wasn’t really any the wiser in respect of what he said might be wrong, at least the broadband seemed to be back on track and the crackling noise had disappeared from the phone line.
This, however, proved to be a short lived triumph and 20 minutes later I was back on the phone, this time talking to a nice lady with less of an accent and, therefore, much easier to understand. She decided that our router was at fault but I wasn’t to worry because I could get a free new one ….. provided I agreed to take out another minimum term contract with them.
After a quick call to Mud, who thought this all sounded a bit suspicious and that it was a money making scam to get all out of contract customers signed up for another 12 months, I called back the customer service people and the order was placed for a new router and 12 month contract. Not that we’re convinced for one moment that this will make a jot of difference but we have to try and if it doesn’t work I’ll be calling them back immediately.
At least now they know there is a problem and, with any luck, the new router will sort it out ….. but I wouldn’t hold your breath.