Techno Blues

You put which cable where and into which slot?

I am going to begin with an apology – well it could be 2 and by the time I get to the end it could be 2n-1 (lots). So first sincere apologies to everyone who made wonderful comments about my vegetable growing efforts and was left hanging in the ether because I have been in internet limbo land for the past 5 days. To anyone who lives in rural Britain this will not be an unfamiliar scenario. Super-fast broadband – hrmph! So already apology number 2 for a cynical grump.
I promised myself that I would not let this blog become a techno rant! So I will breathe deeply and sip my green tea, think calming thoughts and try not to growl.
After the last fiasco when we were abandoned in the mist by connected communities and no apology was forthcoming for not bothering to tell anyone that the engineers would be carrying out maintenance on the system and that we would be cut-off for 3 days I voted with my cheque book. I fear that the damage was to my piggy bank not connected communities as I had to pay for a satellite disk plus peripherals (why are plastic widgets so expensive?) and an engineer with the biggest array of screw drivers I have ever seen. Unfortunately the techno wizard was only available by the hour and had delicate hands so I had to dig the trench for the new cable and put in the concrete base slab! Am I getting tetchy – do I need more tea?
So eventually I pulled the plug on connected communities and lo and behold I had a satellite link – not exactly NASA (Turin actually) nor super-fast just a working connection or rather the PC in Himself’s study did. So now all I had to do was plug-in the cable from the new big box with blue flashing lights (satellite modem) to the little box with flashing green lights (wireless router which enables my PC to talk to all the gizzmos and widgets in the study). So NASA do we have lift-off? Not a four star cats chance in Hades!
Pause for another apology for ingrained cynicism and intemperance.
So when all else fails switch everything off and reboot; have a cup of tea and try again. It was at this point that Himself informed me that our high-tech eco-friendly boiler was being temperamental again so I looked for the instruction book and wondered whether its simple trouble shooting guide was another victim of lost in translation. While I was taking the intellectual puzzle solving application of scientific reasoning and logic route he did the obvious switched it off and on again and probably gave it a kick in the manifold. This had the desired effect and I thought about running away to sea.
So back to the big box, little box and assorted cables. Eventually I had to give in and phone the techno whizz kids – after hours of checking DHCP, pinging and mac cloning even they resorted to “try switching it off in this sequence and then…. At this point I lost the will to live and had a restorative wee dram.
The next day I tried the techno kids again and eventually they resorted to the standard solution “I think we have a compatibility issue and you need to buy a new little box”. So once again the Industry won and I had to part with more ££ to buy a new gizzmo when there was nothing wrong with the old one apart from built-in obsolescence. It is here that I will just sound world-weary and not start a rant about the way we are repeatedly ripped-off by both computer hardware and software suppliers because one gizzmo won’t talk to another one.
Of course the new gizzmo worked first time and I am connect again. A final apology for feeling smug because the boys from the Admiralty are playing war games this month (sorry NATO exercise Sharp Spear 89) and for once they probably can’t jam my broadband! So before they do I’m going to read the backlog of posts from my favourite bloggers, have another cup of tea and a celebratory piece of cake.

18 thoughts on “Techno Blues

  1. And I hope you enjoy your cake (out of curiousity, what sort of cake?) – it sounds as if it is very very well deserved! What a palava, Chris – at least the consolation now is that you will (you WILL!) have a decent internet connection. What a frustrating experience – and it’s the downside of our familiarity with the instant gratification of modern technology ie when it lets us down we feel we have a right to be aggrieved. I remember the dim and distant experience of changing to broadband for the first time (and wish to forget it!) – and have growled angrily at WordPress twice this week for losing the content of my posts after pressing the ‘publish’ button! So welcome back, and happy catching up!

    • Lemon and ginger cake – I’m not posting the recipe yet as it needs a little more work. I tried hard not to get on my soap box and not to sound like a spoilt child; and I do try to treat the technology issues as problem solving excercises (lots of Zen and green tea) but there ares time when I must admit to growling sometimes and getting just a tiny bit tetchy or even very grumpy! However it is working now and it was a real treat to read the blogs.

      • I am looking forward to the recipe for your ‘improved’ lemon and ginger cake, both favourite flavours with me. There was a similar (but less spicy) recipe to yours for courgette cake in the October Gardeners’ World magazine, a Mary Berry recipe – I am hoping to scrape enough courgettes together to give one of them a go, and I shall be posting the recipe (and a picture) for my apple cake shortly. Do you have a good recipe for a cake using rhubarb?

        • I’m not a big fan of sweet cakes so I prefer the spicy version, but holiday cottage guests and Himself prefer the orange version which is sweeter. The lemon and ginger cakes has a really good lemon flavour but the texture isn’t perfect – too soft. So as the weather is wet and windy I will be cake baking this weekend and tackling the blog backlog! I have a fantastic recipe for a rhubarb cake. We grow rhubarb by the ton, my problem is getting my hands on it as Himself is a rhubarb crumble addict. If there is any rhubarb left in the garden I’ll make the cake – it is a while since I made it so I need to check the quantities.

          • Thanks for the cake update, Chris. I think you said your cottage was self-catering so is the cake a bonus for them? Lucky guests! Do you make it available throughout the year? (the cottage, I mean, not the cake)

          • The cottage is available all year round and so is the cake. I must admit I spoil my guests outrageous with homemade cake, marmalade, jams and chutneys but then our visitors are very special.

          • What a delightful landlord you are! We still plan to make it to the Outer Hebrides, so you never know….! At the moment, however, visiting my Mum is the priority when we head in that direction

          • Unfortunately we’re more than a hop, skip and a jump from Mull. You’d be very welcome and I promise I’d spoil you shamelessly. Until then we’ll just have to enjoy our virtual visits.

          • I know, and unfortunately I’m not at my best on boats….. (and it’s Luing, not Mull, by the way)

          • Sorry, not sure how I managed to relocate your family. I wouldn’t recommend the ferry from Oban to South Uist, Skye to North Uist is much better and a much shorter crossing.

  2. You did have me laughing over my tea since it’s a bit early for a wee dram here.
    At least your issue was hardware related. A friend and I went on a local open garden tour yesterday and I had problems with the GPS in the car all day. While discussing it with my husband later, I discovered the problem was I’m used to operating it from the view of the passenger! Oh dear….
    I had a second Margarita last night.

    • Oh Shirley you are brave – not for the second Margarita but for using a satnav. I still use a map (upside down of course)!

  3. Welcome back! I’d need more than a wee dram if that happened to me. How frustrating!

    • It is nice to be reconnected – not to do administrative chores but to reconnect with all my favourite bloggers!

  4. I feel your pain! Computer technology is fabulous, as long as it works. When it doesn’t, it can be an incredible exercise in frustration. But thank goodness it’s working now.
    It certainly gave you a good excuse to drink tea and read all your favourite blogs 🙂

    • Technology is great and it certainly makes life for those living in remote areas a great deal easier. Maybe I have been on the island too long but I sometimes feel that my conversations with the techo whizz kids (are they really all 12 years old?) bears more resemblance to Monty Python than the real world.

  5. You have my sympathies. I recently bought a new computer, only to find that many of my peripheral devices (from my digital camera to my printer) were “not compatible” with the new operating system — and, of course, would have to be replaced with new gizmos at my expense. And, of course, the techno giants have absolutely no incentive to make these things compatible; if they were, we’d keep using the perfectly good gizmos we already have instead of spending money on new ones!

    • This is obviously a “soap box” morning. Inbuilt obsolescence is just another symptom of our profligate use of resources and our reckless pursuit of growth. I like my techno toys too, but I do not need to be constantly required to “up-grade” in order to make perfectly good equipment work. I really feel powerless in this respect and refuse to buy the latest gizzmo unless I have no option. I’m just worried about what will happen when my antique mobile phone finally pegs out – does anyone make a mobile phone without all the apps and extras – something simple which you can just use as a telephone?

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