Almost Back Online

Well, this is a short one to say I am almost back online now, although the process has been far from easy. It is entertaining that in today’s modern world, having a short spell offline can cause more problems than you can shake a 32gb memory stick at.

It it hard to work out where to start with my ranting over this recent debacle, so I may be disjointed (no change there though). Some recent examples of the “traumas” (which are, admitedly mostly trivial!), have included such things as working out when the rubbish bins will be emptied. My house now has two types of bin (recycling and landfill), with a note saying they will be collected on alternate weeks. Nothing else. No idea which day of the week, or which week is which. Wonderful.

What the note did say was that to find out the day of collection, and which week was landfill and which was recylcing, I was told to “log on to the councils website and enter my address details.” Brilliant, except I didn’t have an internet connection.

Where I live, there are no branches of my bank anymore, so the advice is to manage my account “online” – with one small problem… I dont mind surfing on my phone (which explains some previous comments) but anything other than the most trivial tasks is a non-starter.

I wanted to get broadband, so I tried to get some. On my behalf, Heather went to a massive variety of websites, only to be told (by ADSL companies which require a BT landline) that my phone number was a cable number (it isnt). Even BT didnt recognise the number and they gave it to me. This pretty much carried on for a few days until I managed to find a place which had a load of dial up signup disks – the ones where you put the disk in, it installs all manner of branded crapware and then lets you connect at the speed of a striking sloth on sedatives.

The next hurdle was discovering my “new” computer (bought last year) didnt have a modem. Wonderful. My old computers no longer had working ones either (it has been three years since I was last on dial up!). Bummer. No way on Earth am I going to buy a modem just for a short time online. By the Grace of Toutatis, I found out my laptop had a built in modem and (eventually) I sourced a working phone cable and got on line. At a blistering 40kbps. wow.

Online at last, I went to sky.com to try and sort out my TV – having decided I want more than freeview, but not willing to pay £35 a month for Virgin Crap Cable – I went with sky’s £15 per month package. This was after a lifetime spent finding out they do not offer anything even remotely competetive as a broadband offer (65% of they UK, my backside). The sign up process was painless, if slow, until one page which required a few details and had a CAPTCHA at the bottom. Like lots, this was text in an image, and barely readable (q or g?). What did surprise me though, was after entering the details – and properly entering the CAPTCHA letters, it said the image had timed out. It had taken me too long to fill in the form and press submit. Helpfully, the script then cleared all the form fields and let me start again. Guess what happened the second time… What inordinate madness is this! Eventually, I was fast enough to get through (ok, it was only the third time but still – I can actually touchtype!). All well and good, as the next thing was select a delivery date. This was great, as a JavaScript error on the page meant it didn’t show any dates. In the end I cracked and made the order over the phone. Isn’t technology brilliant.

Anyway, I still haven’t solved the hurdle of getting a broadband supplier – I dont want a capped service and it is comical how many have caps hidden deep in their T&C. Orange things 2GB a month is “loads” – I think that it madness – half a linux distro per month. Why would you even have broadband!! As soon as I get over this problem, I should be able to be back online and I will resume my crusade against the Godded and the Stupid.

[tags]adsl, cable, captcha, computers, dial-up, internet, modems, phones, rants, sky, society, technology, toutatis, virgin-media, TV, customer services, web design[/tags]

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