The Internet and Broad Band have taken a hold of my life. How has this means of communication wormed its way into every area of my existence? At work if the server goes down it limits my ability to record data; social workers, finance teams, payroll or clients call, and I'm unable to fully satisfy their queries.
When at home, whether it's leisure, disability campaigning tasks or trade union duties, the Internet drops, and I'm lost. Sure, I can use my mobile as a back-up; but I'm from a slightly earlier generation that cut its IT teeth on PCs, not really coming to terms with hand-held devices.
Anyway, my BT BB has been giving me intermittent service for some time. To add to my computer usage problems I discovered that even though MS Office 365 had emailed me confirming payment and renewal over a month ago, I was locked out of MS Word. On checking my bank statements I discovered that for some reason Microsoft had not debited my account - how I was still receiving all MS Office 265 products from 18th December to 19th January is a bit of a mystery.
But I now to the point of this Blog. Though I've been receiving a poor service from BT, I've kind of managed to grit my teeth and let it go. Today however, I really started to examine my dependency on the bloody Internet.
First I had no service. A BT engineer called, looked at my connections and decided the problem lay outside my home. So, about an hour later he called to let me know my system was up and running.
Great. It's a cold rainy Sunday in January, what better way to wile away a few hours than to finish uploading the new copy of MS Office 365 that I'd purchased a couple of days ago - I forgot to say, due to the 'Grand Old Duke of York' performance of my BB the MS software had been loading since Friday evening.
So, phone and BB working I tentatively venture online. No sooner am I in than I get an instruction to reboot the iMac in order to complete the installation of the new software. Now you might recall I've been downloading this software since 6 pm on Friday evening. It is now 1.30 pm on Sunday. Remembering the advice from my councillor about sweating the small stuff I composed myself comforted that these small trials are sent to try us, and that life is too short to continually worry about such minutiae.
Composed, I instruct the iMac to Restart...
The iMac gracefully dies, leaving me peering at myself on a darkened screen.
Up comes the Apple logo followed by the progress bar. The bar creeps along slowly adding white millimetres to its progress. Then, it halts, vanishes, leaving me once again looking quizzically at my reflection again.
Ah, but up it pops, back to life. This time I'm presented with a:
'Installation in Progress: Estimating time remaining' message...followed by: 'Completing Installation: About 27 Minutes Remaining'.
Not much I can do but wait. Returning to the machine 30 minutes later I'm met by 'Installation in Progress: Estimating time remaining'. Tentatively I sit watching the screen for some action. It's now about 45 minutes since I began the rebooting exercise. Ah, here we go, some action at last.
'Completing Installation: About 35 Minutes Remaining'. WTF! The fucking thing is going backwards. And so the drama continued - '16 Minutes Remaining'...'15 Minutes Remaining'...'13 Minutes Remaining'. Oh well, at least it's going in the right direction...Except it's not as the next message reads: '26 Minutes Remaining'.
Christ on a cross, not only is the 'small stuff' pouring from my pores, but the air is blue as I exhaust my extremely wide lexicon of expletives; and go back to invent a few more just to make sure my feelings are adequately expressed.
I'm now up and running, though I have a greatly diminished trust in MS and no faith whatsoever in those notorious daylight robbers British fucking Telecom.