Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Techno torment



My problems with modern technology just go on and on.... because of our frequent contact over the last 4 weeks, Virgin Media and I are now on first name terms, although the name I use for VM is too rude to enter here. Loss of broadband and television (intermittent but frequent), loss of phone service (lengthy, twice).

My phonelessness was sorted yesterday, thanks to a cancellation appointment becoming available sooner than my booked one, and to the persistence of the very nice young woman from the call centre in India taking it very seriously She rang my mobile numerous times to tell me that she was still searching, and sounding genuinely pleased in the end to have found me an engineer two days earlier than expected. And for once I managed to keep my mobile charged, switched on, and somewhere where I could hear and find it.

Today, no computer. My modem appeared to be dead. But at least I had a landline again, the only means of making that triumphantly-announced "Absolutely Free!" call to VM. After going through the laborious button-pressing rigmarole to get to the bit where you can report a fault ("You now have 43 options....if your call is about hamsters nesting in your capacitator, press 1... if it's about the damp weather causing crackling on the line and frizziness in your hair, press 37... zzzz.... if you think (think!!) you may have a fault, press 43 and please don't shout at us, we're only the oppressed employees...")

So I pressed the 'think/don't shout' button, and got a message telling me that all the oppressed employees were busy, and if I held on, my call might take ten minutes to be answered. So I chose to hold on, having nothing better to do with my life, and a cup of tea to hand. And then I was given another, new, option: choose your own music to be driven demented to while you hang on and slowly lose the will to live. The recorded voice sounded proud to be offering this novel choice.

So what to choose? I felt I wasn't up to urban, hip-hop, pop, techno, house or supermarket-ambient, and predictably chose classical. I could just cope with speeded-up electronic renditions of Mozart's greatest hits, having encountered them so many times when making internal calls at the Civic Centre. But no - what I got was vague themes from the classics, jazzed/popped/hiphopped up with accompanying crackles and electronic plinky-plonkiness, and I'm sure some of those tunes were actually film music, or maybe even thinly-disguised soap opera, and not Wolfgang Amadeus and his chums being murdered.

Thankfully, it was still just audible enough, without causing significant brain damage, if the phone was tucked inside my clothing while I carried on with my daily life, feeding the cats, medicating the dog, having breakfast, answering the door to the postman (ooh, my first birthday present this year! a tantalising 44 days early!) until I finally got a human being, a cheerful chap from Liverpool, on the other end of the line.

After I had obeyed his instructions, which entailed undignified crawling about under my desk, disturbing the tangled heaps of cables, not to mention the hamsters nesting in the capacitator, and I had swapped cable ends around, the modem was pronounced Dead. A new one could be couriered (is that a verb now?) which might take till Saturday, or an engineer could bring one round. On Friday afternoon. No contest then, it being Tuesday today. Let's take the speedy option.

I would have to send an email from a neighbour's computer to all those people who might still think I was without a phone, to tell them I wasn't ignoring their emails, and that I wasn't dead behind the door either, being eaten by my pets,
my absence unnoticed for weeks, but no one was home this morning. No one to whine to about my email lifeline being brutally withdrawn till Friday! I would have to face this crisis alone.

But hours later when I went back upstairs, I saw that the modem had flickered feebly into life. I'd like to think it was the nesting hamsters that did it, out of pity. But I shall await the new modem, and the next, inevitable, VM service breakdown.

If you are calling to express sympathy, press #. Your call may be placed in a queue.....

10 comments:

liZZie said...

You have my complete admiration. Why? For being so blummin funny in the face, bum and upside down of R Branson's utterly fabricated wonderfulness. Soooo, you have a birthday in 44 days time do you? Let's just hope the so and so doesn't make a bid for the postal service whilst they're at a low ebb and very unpopular.

Linda said...

I am a complete ignoramus when it comes to what my computer needs to operate happily, so I have only one comment for anyone who does know - RESPECT!
(Now this would be a really useful skill for Millie!)

BumbleVee said...

The Virgin group should be home by now and back to work...unless their plane got held up in Abu Dabi... they were all at the fancy new Formula One race track over the weekend...

.. hahahahahha.. thanks for the laugh ... this was a good one when I needed it. Love the hamster opton.... I'm trying to be somewhat less of a techo dweeb than I usually am...well, almost computer illiterate probably... ...and trying to get my "stuff" downloaded or uploaded or whatever the terms are...to my new Mac... arrrggghhhh! I could cheerfully toss the whole mess out the nearest window... I found out I have over 6,000 photos on my computer ! I managed to scroll through plenty and seem to have been able to give up only 187 so far.... it's a long way to Tiperary.... la la la la la.....

but....I think I actually managed to get my Bloglines list to show up...yay me! And... and.... I found a way to do my blog post...even if the lettering seems to go in different spots than I am used to... so....baby steps..but, I got a few things...... .

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

What ? No Vivaldi ? I always wonder if they've chosen that , in particular , to hint that one might actually have to wait a year before talking to anybody .
Congratulations on beating the incapacitating hamsters , however temporarily . Long may it last !

Pam said...

Husband grumbles off into town with the modem,inconvenience big time. I know that the phone and computer won't work,until it comes back. That's all I understand.The workings are truly beyond me.My husband basks in the fact that I think he's a genius dealing with any computer glitch.Always ready to get up from the sofa with a sigh when he hears me wail "I just don't understand this".Yes, you have my admiration dealing with all that so well.

valct4joy said...

Utmost sympathy for your predicament and heartfelt admiration for your willingness to see the humour in the situation. My husband's laptop was in the computer "hospital" for five days last week and sharing a computer is not conducive to a happy marriage, I can tell you.

Rattling On said...

It took me two years to get a new modem out of Orange, you should be proud you sorted it quicker than that!
Mine would be off for days on end. They said it was...a magnet in my house, thick house walls, the weather, telephone lines touching...no-it was just a crappy modem.
Hardly a blip since getting the new one. Funny that.

Lesley said...

It's all so funny and entertaining when it's not happening to oneself! Well done for summoning the guts to write amusingly about it - I would be snarling and crying alternately.

Lesley x

Marie said...

This is no comfort, I know, but I told my mom about your woes today, as she's going through the same thing in Cape Town, where it is easier to blame breakdowns on municipal attrition, if not collapse. Your story is MUCH worse. And really disconcerting.

Making Space said...

Dear me! I'm hearing about lots of techno-trouble recently. Would Mercury be in retrograde or something? Anyway, speedy modem vibes to you.

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