Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Over the last few weeks we have been having problems with our internet connection. For some reason, without warning, we’d lose connectivity. Just like that. And it was often as I sat down with a cup of tea after work to catch up on all my blog reading. As you can imagine, I was less than amused.

After re-setting our router hundreds of times as per the limited trouble-shooting options in the accompanying manual, I even unplugged all the telephony filters, blew into them knowingly, re-plugged them but even this piece of advanced technological DIY had no positive effect. Banging the table with a clenched fist didn’t work either.

Things became so bad last week that after much weighing up of the situation, I decided to take action. Now, I deliberated because taking action meant that I would have to telephone our internet provider, BT. (British Telecom) and I’ve been down that unfulfilling path before.

When a company has ‘British’ attached to its title, one is lured into a false sense of security that you’ll be dealt with by a team of dedicated, polite and efficient customer care advisors who really do sympathise with your plight. In the same way as flying BA (British Airways – the world’s favourite airline, according to their advertising), one expects a certain superior level of service but these days this is about as far from reality as me getting to grips with long division using the chunking method.

So I ‘phoned and got through to the automated numbered instruction routine. After keying my telephone number into the keypad as requested about fourteen times I was still no nearer to speaking to a human being. There has to be a quicker way to do this, surely. I was getting madder. Patience with telephone answering systems is not my virtue, especially as one of the messages informed me that I could get help by looking at their website.

 NO, I COULDN’T.

In exasperation I slammed the receiver down, tried the internet connection again – unsurprisingly, no change there. I paced the kitchen until a bright idea began to emerge. Why not telephone the BT sales team? I was betting that they would be available to chat about all their wonderful offers right away without all this ‘press one for Bill, press two for Direct Derrick’ (whoever he is) etc. I bet the good old sales team will be right on the money.

I scavenged around in the home file to find an old phone bill and yes, hallelujah, a direct line for the sales department. I was on to something here.

Without too much preamble Sales very helpfully put me straight through to the engineers (there’s a tip for the rest of you BT customers out there …) where I spoke to an actual person. A well-spoken, Queen’s-English-sort-of-a-person, who talked me through a simple procedure involving the unravelling of a wire paperclip and its insertion into my BT Home Hub (router).

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Hidden at the back of the home hub is a tiny, barely visible  hole, into which I poked said paperclip. This apparently resets something that the engineers can then use to change its frequency.

The reason we were losing connection so frequently was because so many of our neighbours were using the same wavelength at the same time. Not any more, thanks to my trusty paperclip.

Where would technology be without them?

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My mother never fills the car up with petrol herself. She takes a six mile round trip in the opposite direction to an independent garage where tattooed Terry does it for her. He’ll check the oil and do the tyres too, if she asks, and no, she doesn’t pay for the attention, it’s all part of the service. He also calls her Ma’am and wishes her a nice day as she drives off regally in her replenished and roadworthy Seat Ibiza. It’s not that she’s incapable, far from it, but apparently that’s not the point; it’s the principle.  I’m pretty sure that faced with an empty tank and a self service pump she’d cope.

     At eighty one, after being cajoled by the rest of us, she bought a lap top and mastered the internet. Two years on she is a demon at on-line scrabble and delights in e-mail correspondence with the grandchildren, even if secretly, she is appalled by their spelling. Google maps has opened up a whole new world as she zooms in on street view to see where we all live, and, after a few abortive attempts at setting up an account, she likes nothing more than waiting for an Amazon book parcel to arrive, although she often forgets her password.

     The other day I arrived home grumbling to no-one in particular. I’d been held up at Waitrose in the six items or fewer queue and was running late as a consequence. As I clattered around the kitchen, I muttered something about self checkout being the thin end of the wedge and they’ll be getting us to stack shelves next. My son, from his favoured prone position on the sofa, shouted out that I was turning into Grandma.

     Well, that’s as maybe, but it’s the principle, isn’t it?

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