Thursday, 20 July 2006

Why I am not 'Cool'

WEDNESDAY:

Thank you friends and visitors for your comments while I have been in the maze. I will catch up soon.

I am not yet out of the maze, but I can see the way clear. There are a few twists and turns yet to be negotiated, but I can at least see them ahead to see where they are going, and what they will lead to. Enough of metaphors. I am now trudging forward fairly confidently and have progressed significantly since Sunday's despair; mythical stories of Herculean trials and damsels in distress have nothing on a 21C cogdysfunck'd crip getting to grips with technology.

At least the chaps on the various helplines (especially those located in India) know better these days than to patronise a female, and a disabled one at that. The BT chap had the added advantage of sounding familiar, being located just few miles from where I was born on the Yorks/Derbys border. I am a connoisseur of regional accents; a devotee who used to be able to distinguish between east of Sheffield and west of Sheffield, or was it north -v- south of Sheffield.

This weather ?!?! That is partly why I am not cool today.
This is England, right, and we have a green landscape from all that rain we get 11.5 months of the year and warm summers that sometimes reach a balmy 24 degrees C. Well, not anymore; whether (! ha pun) its global warming or high pressure stuck over south west England, it is suddenly much worse than my experiences in Algeria and Crete, where the humidity was less.
Here my humidity monitor is registering 65%, which turns the actual air temperature of 85F into an' apparent' temperature of 92F, according to my conversion chart. Compare that with low humidity of say 40%, and an air temperature of 85F would translate to an apparent temperature of 86F. (Not bad going for a slightly cogdysfunck'd brain !)

I have the impression that it is not 'cool' to admit to having problems dealing with advances in technology. Everyone else seems to know what they are doing, or have on hand (i.e. free) someone who does and can sort it out for them. I don't, and have to pay for help, so I try to do it myself, hence the maze.

Generally, I keep up quite well, because the new information is generally out there somewhere and it is just a matter of finding it. And knowing what it is called in order to look it up ! I have heard the moans of a 'Blackberry' chained IBM employee, listened to the Green Party meeting in the village hall about Tetra masts, radio waves (and ley lines crept in somehow !). My laptop, software and internet protection generally update themselves providing I have paid them. I have the digital camera I would like on my Amazon wish list, but spend my limited budget on books instead (150 anniversary edition of Walt Whitman). I scan flowers and seed heads to my laptop and print my own writing paper (for friends who appreciate snail mail) and email Social Services rather than phone, now that they have accepted this disability necessity of mine.

All in all I have been a happy bunny. Until my internet protection needed upgrading. That lead me into the maze. Which in a very 'uncool' fashion I am going to describe, because it may be (a) my cogdysfunck'd brain and therefore my disability that led to my despair, or it may be (b) that new technology is very complicated for everyone, but in order not to appear 'uncool' people are not admitting this.

THURSDAY morning:
I have arrived at the middle of the maze. Its shady, cooler (only 27F today) and I can see the way out of here, as follows ...

Skip the entire next long paragraph if you are cool or bored or don't want to go there ...

The maze began with Norton internet security live update not updating, the next twist was tech support for my version of Norton ended, so pay to upgrade. Upgrade download (get your little brain round that first Sally) took three hours on dial up, and failed after two hours. Phone helpline, they will send upgrade on disc, take 7-10 workings days. I can't wait that long. Look into changing from dial up to broadband that my 'bump' has been nagging me to do for yonks. Neighbour says I can get broadband and free internet phone calls for price of current dial up. My eyes sparkle at thought of saving money. Find out I need to keep existing BT landline (no one told me this) so no saving there. Discover I need an internet phone to plug into laptop. More expense. Decide no. So keep current BT landline package. No money saved. Discover that BT broadband includes Norton internet security. Save money by not paying for Norton upgrade as included in BTBB package. Cancel Norton upgrade (nice man in India very helpful). All this time I am not happy connecting to internet without virus protection etc. No blogging. Spend a lot of time on the phone trying to get information. This leads to my tinnitus screaching and pinging and the white noise in my head is very very loud. Spend a lot of time on laptop writing notes on every step of the way, which is the only way for my cogdysfunck'd brain to keep track of the twists, turns, and direction decisions. Try to save money by looking into cancelling BT rented phone (which gives me a free headset, essential in disabilities) as buying a phone is so so cheap, but find buying the headset costs almost twice as much as the phone. No saving money there. Discover that BT have an excellent disabled customer service phone helpline, and they give me lots of time to talk through my options for renting/buying phone. BT chap (no BT chappesses anywhere in all this) tells me I can upgrade my battered rented BT phone to latest model at no extra charge with new headset and for free they will link me to BT's Privacy service and the phone will have caller display function, and there will be no charge for BT's caller display service. That is a good service. I have had nasty phone calls from oddballs and despite using the Telephone Preference Service to block double glazing salesmen, still get a few nuisance/selling/unsolicited calls, so caller display will help (sorry non UK readers for this UK centric detail). BT have more time and more patience through their dedicated service to disabled customers, so I did not spend much time looking into other broadband providers. Discuss with neighbour who cannot understand why I choose BT over cheaper new kids on the block, so slight digression into facts of disabled life. Disability costs more. Hit a bit of a blind alley; I need a bit that plugs into the phone socket and an external modem, which are supplied by the broadband supplier BT. BT chap initially assumed I would put my modem on my desk next to my laptop. No. Another digression into facts of disabled life - I recline online - in bed; in reclining chair in sitting room with earl grey tea within reach, with a low fat hob nob ('hobnob' without the space somehow is more appealling with earl grey) biscuit to nibble (see what I mean!) and I hope to recline in a wheelchair with a reclining feature, as well as sit in a wheelchair at a desk - when they have built the extension to my little cottage to make room for a desk etc. So although I can envisage carrying my laptop from bed to chair to w/chair, not an external BT broadband modem as well. BT man asks have I consider a wireless home hub. Not a home hubby, not available from BT. Well that's a shame because the rest of their service is excellent so I would expect a BT hubby to be quite worthwhile considering, wouldn't you single lady crips too ? Initial reaction to radio waves bouncing about the cottage was remembering the Green Party's comments (see above). And it was bound to be expensive because new technology stuff always is and the only friends who blather on about their latest toys are ones who can afford 1/8th inch thin televisions and picture phones and all other technology that would just be too much for my little slow brain to contemplate. And for crips sake, I am nearly old, and its all getting a bit too much ! However, no need to give up just yet on the brave new world. Then I found that the Hub is included in the BTBB package. Did I say also that the Norton annual subscription is also included in the BTBB package, so all in all my switch from dial up to broadband will cost me precisely £5.5o per month more. Those of you not dependent on UK disability and means tested benefits will not appreciate why every little £ extra committment has to be given serious thought. In terms of one-off capital expenditure all I need to spend money on is an extra bit to make my laptop gobble up the radio waves from the home hub. Phone laptop supplier. The lady has matured considerably since I purchased this laptop two years ago from her. She no longer has problems dealing with an oldy disabled lady technophobe (ok I have technology-matured a bit too) and is quite happy to accommodate my need to take this next step slowly with lots of explanatory digressions, before I commit. Discovered that the empty space ... (which bewildering is called a PC Card slot in the picture - god I hope I've got that bit right)... behind the flap on the left side of the laptop is where the wireless network adaptor pops into the laptop. All instructions included. And the WNA only costs a few little £s more than what the Norton upgrade would have cost me - remember that was where this maze began. And she volunteered information that it would be a good idea to have the WNA in place in the laptop and ready to go, for when the BT man arrives with the home hub, and configures the router and gives me the W.E.P. key which is not a key (for a lock) but a number as in a code (I had asked where do I put the key! Told you I was slow. Well at least I am telling you about it so if you ever get in a similar maze you don't ask the same stupid question !). Then I can check that it all works together with the BT engineer on hand (don't let him out the door until) to deal with any hiccups.

THURSDAY evening.
Having decided to commit to BTBB I have to go online, despite my virus updates being un-updateable and therefore internet security not assured. I risk infection. In order to get BTBB package with free hub I have to order online, ordering by phone means a charge for hub. So I connect to my dial up. I get a message from Norton that my automatic updates are out of date. I flippin' well know they are out of date, that is why I got into this maze a week ago. It ran automatic live update anyway ... AND what do you know, but the blasted thing updated - live - automatically - without aborting - without an error message telling me it failed again. I am back to the same point where I started. No, not back where I started in this maze - because after all the hard work on the phone this last week I now appreciate that this is a clever maze, and just the other side of this bit of the track, is the exit. The exit sign also says 'hello broadband' and I reward myself by blogging about it.

I am so overcome with relief about everything, that I savour the moment, and put off actually doing it until tomorrow. It will be cooler then.

Night night.

2 Comments:

Blogger The Goldfish said...

Glad you're almost out of the maze. Well done. :-)

Actually, one of my pet hates are those people who think it is cool to be incompetent with technology. This affliction is especially prevalent among women, alas, even quite young ones. You hear them competing;

"I've got a mobile phone, but I don't really know how to use it."

"Oh me too! I still haven't worked out how to use the video. My son has to programme it for me."

"Oh, the video. I tried to record Corrie and it recorded Eastenders instead."

"I'm much worse than that! When I first got it, I stuck slices of bread in it expecting them to toast."

"Well of course when mine first arrived and the little digital clock lit up I had to have the local priest in to exorcise it, thinking it was a box possessed by the Dark One. How we laughed when he explained the concept of electricity!"

"Electricity? I can't abide by it. Of course the kids have lights in their rooms - they understand the switches, but I'm quite happy to sit in the dark to be honest."

The other thing which is equally uncool and more prevalent among men is when people attempt to bluff their way through a technological matter because they cannot admit ignorance on any point - whether in conversation or in practice. It is especially uncool when they do this in the presence of people who are relatively expert.

Cool is asking for help when you need it and learning as you gain experience. As it is in all areas of life, I guess. And it is certainly something evident here.

Friday, 21 July 2006 at 23:20:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Goldfish, you should be writing for magazines; submit this to the weekly girly mags and transform the
social/political/feminist awareness of the population of such young women.
Thank you for your comment, I now feel quite 'cool' !!

Saturday, 22 July 2006 at 15:15:00 BST  

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