Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dial up some patience

Having had a pretty uneventful flight over and a wonderful few days with family (and ex family), on which topic I shall expand at a later date, I am currently enjoying life without high speed internet. In fact I am enjoying life without low speed internet, and am being challenged by the joys of 'dial up'.

Of course, I have been very spoiled, turning on the computer and jumping on line. On days where connection is limited for whatever reason, the stress levels of everyone seem to rise. Walking around a mall realising that there is not a concert in progress, and extended arms, waving from side to side, are not holding torches, but attempting to connect the mobile phone to the satallite, becomes commonplace when inclement weather strikes. I havent quite worked out the benefit of gaining a signal when the phone is so far from your ear. 'It's back online' comes the shout, and everyone performs a basketball leap, taking it in turns to press the call button, but alas, once connected, no one can hear, as the phone is three feet higher than the ear. None of the phone booths have thought of selling step ladders, but I suppose that would mean admitting their network does sometimes fail. The 'f' word, never mentioned by vendors, is quite often followed by other words starting with the same letter.

However, I digress! I arrived in England with a 'pay as you go', and a small notepad, which can be used in a library or a coffee shop, or the house of a family member. As mum is not an internet fan, she sees no reason to go wireless, and I really don't blame her. The computer has a purpose; and she remembers the days when solitaire was played with a pack of cards and shuffling was an art performed with one's hands rather than the 'Enter' button. If you didnt win, you could manually throw the cards into the air so that they would all 'waterfall' onto the floor.

I have no problem with dial up, if I have the time. Checking emails takes up a large portion of the morning, and in between deleting spam and opening anything that is relevant which does not contain an attachment (don't ever send me a you tube link, I will still be sitting here waiting for it to open when they call my flight!) I have a shower, make the bed, and vacuum the lounge. Working 'off line' only works if you can get 'on line' to gain access to the page.

Remembering the days when the internet was reasonably new to the general public, I would sit for hours waiting for a connection. Leaving it on redial, I would venture up and down the stairs, periodically, to see if there was any reprieve from the dial and click, dial and click, and then suddenly it would make the high pitch sound, and you were half way there. Of course, there were times, in the early days, when it would connect for a couple of minutes and then you would spend another few hours waiting, or it would stay connected for an hour, and just when you had worked out how to access an email, it would disconnect, leaving you with an almost blank page with the obligatoryopening to an email, 'Hi, how are y ', before giving up and going to bed. Broadband seemed like a luxury, and then came high speed and, of course now, we are encouraged to go 'fiber optic'. I am not quite sure what 'fiber optic' actually is. Optics, I know, are another name for the upside down bottles in the pub, or perhaps another name for spectacles. Fiber is material, thread, or cloth. I have visions of glass tubes covered in thick netting. No doubt I am widly off course with this thread of thought (no pun intended) and would gladly be educated. Having recently been informed that an NVQ level 3 is the equivalent of an A level, and having obtained said qualification in Information Communication Technology, it is pitiful that I am not better acquainted with the term. Tea cosies for whisky bottles have absolutely nothing to do with the internet, unless of course you need a drink to cope with dial up.

In the past, I have taken to spending a period of time in the library on their computers, generally tidying up email and checking facebook. Now, I have one more 'must', as I have feel the need to check the Stats on the blogger page. The question each morning is, do I open three windows with three pages, or do I access one at a time. The problem arises when I check my emails, close the window, check facebook and have to return to email when, after sending a message on facebook I receive a note saying, 'please use email as I dont come on to facebook very often'. I have reduced my email check to once a day, as each time I log on and off, the telephone makes rather a loud 'ding'. This is quite acceptable at 8 o'clock in the morning, but if I start to check my emails at 11pm, by the time I have read the first, it is past 1am and short of leaving dial up connected all night, and leaving my mother with an extortionate telephone bill, I have to disconnect with an exceptionally loud 'ding', which at such small hour, echoes rather more loudly than at any other time during the day.

I apologise for the lack of colourful, artistic additions to this post, as although I have taken pictures during my visit, downloading them onto the page would also take an eternity. I probably would not feel as isolated if I had the ability to 'ping', 'bbm' or even 'whatsap', but my blackberry has also lost its juice and become raisinlike, unable to perform as a workhorse. It has become as a paper bound encyclopaedia in comparison to 'ask jeeves'.

When did I become so dependent upon electronics, you may ask. I simply do not know the answer, but as usual, the more one gets, the more one wants. I would imagine that if I were to move to a remote island, where there were no modern conveniences, such as electricity, gas or internet, I would survive. As long as I had a duster to clean the dusty branches and leaves, and access to the sea to wash the floor of my mud hut, I would eventually succumb to thinking I was living in paradise.

Fortunately, help is at hand and I have been promised a small item, the like of which name I cannot recall, that will connect me to the internet on a 'pay as you go' basis, and my life will become slightly more convenient. Of course, anyone who is desperate to contact me can telephone, or contact one of my children, who will inform me and I can telephone them. What did we do without telephones. Quite unable to exist without modern technology, I believe that I am adapting very well. Going back to basics has its advantages, although I am currently unable to find them. Once again, I find myself using the word 'pityful'. As I sit in a nice warm house, watching a comedy on the television, having eaten a very scrumptious dinner followed by coffee and mints, I do understand my lack of direct internet connection is of little consequence when so much of the world is without peace and tranquility, let alone food. We do take so much for granted.

My trip here is short and I am grateful for my visit, and I do anticipate a less self absorbed post in future, when the little light at the left hand corner of my screen shows I have permanent connection. A full account of my visit, including lots of non computer based activities will ensue, but for now, you will have to wait for broadband and high speed and fiber thingies for ..... another story.

1 comment:

  1. You poor girl...... You sound like a writer without a nib to your pen! :( I totally sympathise with you we do take the "Connection" for granted! Dial up is so unreliable and timely. Neither the less....... I really hope you are having an awesome time in the homeland. Looking forward to hearing all about your lovely trip. Happy New Year to you GF.... Family & Friends.... Good Health for 2011!