Ian Morris returns with his weekly column. This week, the internet goes down in the Morris household and Ian begins to ponder our dependence on technology.
Down, down…deeper and down – Status Quo this time. I saw them live in Southampton in 1984 on ‘The End of the Road Tour’, the first of Lord-alone-knows how many last tours. But on Wednesday last week, the Morris household was both down and down.
I had risen with the lark and was cracking on with a 2021 budget spreadsheet – is there anything more joyous? – when the sadness alarms on my laptop indicated that once again, the internet had fallen over. This isn’t uncommon in recent months and to be fair to the service providers, considering how many of us are caning the interweb from home I have been impressed at how it has held up.
As the rest of the household was still fast akip, I cracked on with =Sum(e5:e266) and awaited re-enforcements. These appeared and pressed reset and ten mins later….nothing.
Tom was smugly waving his dongle in the air (this is not a euphemism), but I was now flapping.
‘Create a hot spot on your phone and tether the laptop to it!’
Er, the spinning jenny does what now?
Various buttons were pressed. I was ‘tethered’ to Ian’s iPhone and I went about my business whilst the home internet still wept quietly in the corner wishing to talk to no-one.
Virgin Media were summoned but not available for a day and a half. How would the household survive? The home internet got over itself and limped us through to Friday when Virgin arrived with a new hub, 210mbps down. I am told this is very good and on asking them, it’s about 40 times faster than dial up.
Anyone remember dial up? ‘Get off the bloody computer, I need to use the phone!’ The weeebly weebly weebly noise as a picture resolved itself, one line at a time. Ah, a more relaxed pace of life.
But not for us. We now have 217mbps up, Tom has just checked.
What we hadn’t bargained for is the hub has a new password, and whilst not wishing to invite burglars into my house, I have counted the number of devices we needed to reconnect.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing either. My network of Alexas suffered casualties, my home office one will work as a speaker and it is connected to the interclacker but refuses to accept it is an Alexa. The kitchen one, which was always a touch odd (it spoke with an American accent and gave you temps in Farenheit), has lost its marbles completely, and looks like it has to retire.
Is all this tech actually making our lives easier or better?
I pondered this as I left my office to go into the front room in order to ask Alexa to turn on my desk lamp, now the office and kitchen Alexas are not working. I came back to my office and realised I could have saved myself the journey. On the base of the lamp there is this rather innovative switch which flicks the light on and off without a voice command.
What will they think of next?
Something for the Weekend will be back next Friday, tackling national issues from a local perspective. In the meantime, you can check out all of Ian’s writing for S&C, here, along with past editions of the Pompey Politics Podcast.