Exciting Trench Digging News

June 7, 2019

I suppose I should be grateful to my phone for choosing the morning after I had just met a series of unfeasibly tight deadlines to die on me. It has been proving erratic for a while, but I like to get as much life out of my stuff as I can before replacing anything, so I was resolutely ignoring it until finally I couldn’t. Rebooting, cache wiping and a factory reset all failed, the phone repair shop admitted that they’d just be googling it the same way I was, so it looks as if it’s time for a new phone (or new-to-me, anyway). Fortunately I have enough offers of people’s cast offs that I probably won’t be left stranded for too long – but today at least I have been phoneless, which also means cameraless.

Which is why you’re not being treated to the exciting (in the very specialised meaning of the word used in this blog) sight of two men digging a trench along the side of our tiny dead-end road (it was quite sweet that they’d even put out roadworks signs, even though it would probably have been less effort to just come round and warn us individually). Screeching to a halt on my bike I said the words that most rural householders can only dream of uttering:

… are you … putting in … fibre … by any remote chance?

Readers, they were. This was exciting enough news that I had to cycle back up the hill to tell the other half (OK, I had also forgotten the Guardian voucher but to be honest, such is our hill, that I normally just donate the Guardian the cost of the voucher if I realise I’ve forgotten it by the time I’ve descended). I leave it to you to calculate the bandwidth* of a slow cyclist on a steel tourer pedalling up a Category 3 climb, but believe me it won’t be the lowest we’ve experienced since moving to the country so this is exciting news

Looked at objectively,I would have to agree with the guy on the digger when he declared it mad to be running fibre up a road that serves a grand total of six houses, but it seems the Scottish Government is committed to rolling out superfast broadband to every house and business in Scotland and amazingly that appears to be what it’s doing. Colour me amazed.

Now we just have to hold them to turning their climate emergency promises into actual policies and we may just be getting somewhere. I might suggest 20mph limits as a good place to start.

* as the lecturer on my IT degree used to say back in the last century, ‘never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of floppy disks** heading down the freeway.’

** younger readers – ask your parents.


Don’t You Want Me Baby?

July 29, 2015

You may have noticed blogging has been a bit light around here – it’s partly because I’ve been busy but also because our broadband has been extremely rural in recent days – as in, a couple of tin cans and a piece of string would be more effective. Not only does this make blogging painful, but it also makes working very slow as I need to use the internet a lot to check things and it can take a minute to load even a Google search, let alone the results. Add in some tight deadlines, and the fact that I’ve been working flat out for ages and would like to get stuff finished so I can have a break and you can imagine I’m not in the best of moods.

Finally, this evening, I broke down and called our internet provider, who we shall call TenSulp to spare their blushes. As it was warning me that it would take 30 minutes to get through to an adviser, I also loaded up their help pages (having rebooted the router) only to find that – and I’m not making this up – they suggested you watch a video to tell you how to troubleshoot your broadband speed. I tried their online chat but couldn’t connect, so I resigned myself to half an hour listening to blasts from my teenage past (when did I last hear any Human League?) which would have gone better if they’d had the sense to put their annoying ‘sorry you’re having to wait’ message *in between* songs, rather than interrupting just as you were joining in with the harmony bits in the chorus (Don’t you want me whoa-whoa-whooo-oh). Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, half an hour later, I get through to an actual human being, praise the Lord. I give our account username, which is in the other half’s name, and the password, and then he asks me to confirm my name, which I do. And then he tells me that having had to sit through half an hour of Eighties hits notwithstanding, he can’t talk to me about our account because it is not my account, it’s the other half’s account. And when I protest as mildly as I can manage that this is insane, he plays his trump card

‘It’s the data protection act. If I talked to you about this account and your name’s not on it I could end up in prison’

Oh, really.

It appears that the state or otherwise of our router, any fault on our line, or any technical issues affecting the exchange which might be making our internet pigging slow are now considered the other half’s private business and anyone else living in the house, including the person who has spent the last 48 hours grinding her teeth as the little thing on the browser goes round and round and round for the better part of an afternoon, must not be told anything about such intimate matters.

Either that or the Data Protection Act, like ‘Health and Safety’ and, indeed, the Human Rights Act, has become the catch all reason why nobody can do anything at all that they don’t particularly feel like doing. Any lawyers out there care to give me a second opinion on that?

At the very least, I do think that TenSulp should think to mention this little fact every time they interrupt their music, so that I don’t waste half an hour of my life getting a nasty earworm (You’d better change it back or we will both be sorry … ) to no purpose.

As it is, if it wasn’t for the fact that TenSulp and their sister company TB are the only broadband providers on our exchange apart from KlatKlat (who merrily overcharged us for months when they took over our previous providers), I’d be cancelling our account as soon as I could and taking our custom elsewhere. And then I’d take great pleasure in ringing them up by explanation and giving them the whole extended Human League remix down the line. With harmonies. (But now I think it’s time I lived my life on my own… I guess it’s just what I must do)

And if that’s not a violation of all sorts of Health and Safety at work directives then it’s definitely in breach of their human rights.

But oh it would feel good.


Offline

March 3, 2015

We’ve been visiting my parents’ for the last few days, enjoying an enforced broadband holiday due to either incompetence on BT’s part or the incredible coincidence of my parents’ router stopping working at exactly the same time as their engineers were doing something to the lines locally.

I’d love to say that I took the opportunity to free myself from the tyranny of the screen, reconnect with my loved ones, and made the most of this opportunity to get on with the things that really matter; I’ll leave it up to you to imagine how much time I instead spent pecking away at emails on my phone and fleeing to the free WiFi (but rather expensive beverages) of Costa Coffee in Berwick when things got out of hand.

However, it has allowed me to boil my blogging down to the following concentrated essence. I might not have gained much time out of the experience, but look how much time you have saved:

 

potato day sold out

Potato day. Starts at 11:00 am. Do not, whatever you do, arrive any later than, say 11:15…

Sally Port gate in Berwick

You’ve got to love a town that reserves a special gate just for you

snow on hills

Home again. Clouds gathering over Bigtownshire, as per usual


This is Just to Say…

June 29, 2008

…it’s been a busy couple of days in the town mouse household, what with a trip to BigTown’s small cinema and taking the train for a day trip to Edinburgh, not to mention a spot of extreme ironing, rural style – all of which I might write about one of these days. But not right now because we came back home last night to find our connection kit has arrived and we are on broadband once more. Well, broadish band, but let’s not get picky – after two months accessing the internet through two tin cans and a long piece of string it feels pretty broad to us. And so I’ve got the whole wide world of the internet to catch up with – or at least those bits that require a decent connection.

Back tomorrow, after I have had my fill of sneezing pandas.