Our ADSL connection dropped out last Friday- coincidentally at the same time that Telstra (our home phone telco) dealt with a crackling noise on our phone line. (The adsl connection had been dropping in and out randomly the whole day the phone was crackling – an indication to us that the whole thing was most likely a line issue rather than a handset issue, not that that stopped Telstra from warning about the $105 call out fee if it turned out to be our equipment and not their line.)
Unfortunately I realised that the broadband connection was gone completely after the technician had left – and so I was left, at just about close of business on a Friday, looking down the barrel of a whole weekend without internet. Telstra washed their hands of it and insisted that I had to put it through my ISP. (The call centre people even managed the miffed and accusative “You chose not to use Telstra as your ISP” tone to perfection) – even though they are the line supplier anyway. (And they wonder why they have a bad name!)
The ISP robot voice took my phone number and said the fault had been registered and would be attended to within 48 hours. Great.
So there I was on a rainy weekend (the usual all day netball affair was washed out on Saturday), wondering what to do with myself. I composed a post in Word on my computer, mostly trying to keep my sense of humour – calling for suggestions for my list of 50 things to do without internet access – the starter for which was : “Realise that you can still actually use a computer when it is not connected to the world.”
Now that it is Wednesday and I didn’t get a chance to actually post it, it has kind of lost its currency, and I’ve somewhat lost my sense of humour. After all, the most logical thing for me to do without internet access is to clean my damned house, but of course it takes more than being thwarted from twittering, facebooking, emailing and blogging to put me into a cleaning mood.
It did make me realise what a pathetic addict I am. Using the computer without the internet access was, to me, like drinking decaf! It didn’t feel right, somehow, and it didn’t give me the same fix. I’d catch myself sitting gazing at the modem lights, willing the blasted connection to hold. The orange light would flicker, flicker, flicker, then turn green. I’d hold my breath.. and count, keeping an eye on the Skype icon in my system tray – a real test of the connection. Mostly it would hold for 15 -30 seconds, then drop again. It did tantalise us with false hope for a full half an hour on Sunday afternoon before dropping out again.
A few times I’d get a quick fix. My computer tech guy (aka darling husband) patched in my computer through the wireless and bluetooth and whatever to his mobile phone wireless connection. I quickly caught up on some blogs, email and twitter but time was limited. It was like being desperate for a coffee, at last being served a decent cappuccino, but only getting to gulp down a couple of mouthfuls. I’ve never smoked, but I daresay I was looking desperately like a smoker who’d run out of cigarettes desperately inhaling the passive smoke.
We survived the weekend, but since Monday we’ve been on this frustrating exercise through our ISP technical support who (apart from calling me “Ma’am” every sentence in a hard to understand sub-continental accent, which starts getting me a mite bit riled up) first insisted on changing settings in the modem that has worked fine for years, then asking me if I had another modem I could try. (Yeah sure, like we keep spares all over the house…. NOT.) I got the ‘not our fault callout’ fee threat from them as well – so we wasted another 24 hours while M. procured another modem from a colleague, new cable lines, and set up isolation testing.
The damn thing connected for a full 50 minutes (while we were watching a show on telly), during which time the ISP sent me a text saying ‘you’re showing online, all fixed then, so we’re closing the fault.’ (well, words to that effect.) Then of course it dropped out again.
It stayed on all night, then dropped out again in the morning, and would not connect all day. I called tech support again and then got the message that they’d called their ‘supplier’ and it should be fixed by close of business Thursday. I also keep getting robotic voice messages on the home phone telling me that it is still being looked into.
Deep breath. OK. One week of pretty much no internet. I haven’t got the shakes or anything… really….
It connected again last night with the borrowed modem, so we brought our modem over close to the phone socket (eliminating possible cable issues) to experiment with that, and of course lost the connection. Ah-hah! It’s your modem then, you might think. But then the borrowed modem that had worked wouldn’t reconnect for the rest of the evening- until we went to bed of course – this morning the log showed that it then got itself connected for 11 hours.
It’s now been up for about 12 hours – and I’ve been drinking it in like the addict I know I am, even though it’s on a spare laptop which is just not the real thing, but better than nothing. I know the next step is to re-test the home modem, but I’m afraid that we’ll be back on the same old merry-go-round again. My Tech Guy is away for work overnight, so I won’t be able to get my fix tonight if it all goes pffft again.
I think I might now have spent enough time online today, so it’s time to prepare myself for another day of “decaf” – or one of total withdrawal. If I’ve not managed to leave a calling card around the traps, I’m sure you’ll understand, and if you don’t see sight nor sign of me for another 24 hours you’ll know what’s happened. Not quite necessary to send out the search parties, but you might need to send out the men in white coats.
Wish me luck.