It started, as it always does, by my trying to fix my computer myself. My logins and passwords used to fill in automatically and for the last year or so they haven’t. It’s mildly annoying. I Googled “broken keychain” and—I had to admit—it all looked pretty straightforward. Applications Utilities Keychain-Access Preferences General Reset Authenticate Hail Mary Bip Bam Boom. Easy! [Cue shark music.]
I did all that and it still didn’t work. Then it said to create a new keychain login password so I did that. Then it said shut the machine down and start it up again so I did that. Then it still didn’t work and, as a bonus, I couldn’t get my email anymore.
Here’s the cool thing about that. My internet provider company is so small—there’s, like, three guys and they work out of a large closet in Goose Hollow—that I can call them up and a warm human answers, swear to God. He’s got a magic machine he can peer through and see mine from all the way across town, and then he fixes everything. One time he off-handedly mentioned I had nice legs and I thought he could see them through my screen, because I’m unclear on how things work, but it turns out he remembered me from when I brought my computer in for him to fix, which he did for free. Anyway it’s a fine outfit.
So he said let’s just get you a new email password and we’ll put that in the little box and everything should be fine again. And it was. It was!
For a day. Then the connection failed again. It was Friday evening and my company doesn’t work weekends, so I resigned myself to calling Monday. Maybe that seems kind of podunk—not working weekends—but it’s better than dealing with Big Fiber Optic where you can fail to be served 24/7.
But the next day it came on again! A hundred sixty emails clattered in all at once. Yay! Then it went out again. Ten hours later it popped on for an hour and then quit. I called first thing Monday.
Took the guy a few minutes to figure it out. Did I get mail on any other device? Well, my phone, I guess, although I hardly ever check it. Did I change the password on my phone? No I did not. I really didn’t care if I got mail on my phone. Aha! That was the problem. Apparently every time my phone woke up (I try to not disturb it, so that’s not often) it would fruitlessly hunt around for mail. And somehow that would make my laptop pout also. Once my phone was sleeping soundly I might get more mail but next time someone texted me it started scouting again and eventually my whole digital neighborhood was in a sulk.
Thanks! I said. I’ll go put in the password.
Years ago, children, when your correspondent was young, no one ever spent hours waiting to speak to someone with a heavy accent for days at a time to fix something that didn’t even exist before but was now indispensable, only to get nowhere at all and burst into tears on the phone with an Indian lady named Victoria. So in the old days there was no joy quite comparable to the joy of poking at some keys and seeing everything suddenly work again.
There wasn’t this time either. I put in the passwords and my phone said it could not verify the information.
I called my guy back. Oh. Evidently my IP address had been blocked by the Umpire of the Ether because my phone had tried one too many times to break into my email. So he unblocked me. Now it works.
But nothing good lasts forever. My darling SpireTech is pulling up stakes at the end of the year. The boys will haul everything out in a few fruit crates and hit the road. I’ve been advised to find myself another email provider in plenty of time to let everyone know. I have no idea where to go. I have a gmail account that I don’t use and I don’t know who’s in charge there, but I’ll bet they don’t answer the phone. The internet being what it is, though, they might already know about my legs.
I may be a bit of a technophobe. Yes, I have a computer, but it’s a desktop model, not a laptop. I have a flip phone. It astounds me when I am in a restaurant and see an entire family there, each on their own smart phone. Why are they even bothering to go out together? One of Paul’s co-workers was crying her eyes out because she lost her smart phone. “My entire life is on that phone!” she wailed.
People even pay for things and do their banking with their phone. These things didn’t exist a short while ago and now, not only are they considered essential, others take for granted that you have one. And when the internet goes down, what then? They have no cash on them, and clerks don’t know how to give change anyway. I usually have to tell them how to do the math. Systems fail. We need to not be so dependent on technology that we forget how to do things ourselves.
I’m also a desktop/flipphone person, but a couple of weeks ago I decided I am going to get an iPhone when the next iteration occurs this fall. Something happened that convinced me that the powers that be would not deal with me anymore if I don’t, but I can’t recall what that something was.
I’m not particularly phone-dependent myself, as anyone trying to get hold of me that way can attest. But I do use it for my banking and I do use my Merlin Bird App and I run a Pandora playlist. It is true we should keep our own skills sharp but it is pretty extraordinary what these devices can do. And I can’t even imagine writing without my computer now.
Next time try the U.S. Postal Service…
Problem with that is that it was a rather lengthy prospect when it worked at all. Louis DeJoy has made sure that it is now as inefficient as possible. Sometimes my mailman doesn’t show up for DAYS, and then suddenly I get a day with my mailbox stuffed. Yeah… don’t tell me they aren’t delivering the mail on fewer days. Apparently the route that “serves” me is a rather odious one; no one wants to do it because it is so long.
DeJoy actually tried to tank the whole operation. Complaints would lead to a call for “more efficient” $privatization$; ballots would get delayed and lead to claims of election fraud. Win win! But they aren’t trying to deliver the mail on fewer days. You might even have the misfortune of living on an “auxiliary” route made up of chunks of other routes and assigned no regular carrier (a cost-cutting move we were protesting twenty years ago: “they” figured it cost less to pay overtime than to hire enough people to do the job right, what with all those pesky benefits and such.
While you’re at it- and I hesitate to raise this on the chance that it is intentional on your part- I’ve stopped getting my regular Tuesday email notices that you have a new post up. Last one was May 8 from follow.it. I checked to make certain I hadn’t inadvertently moved you some place never to be seen again but I haven’t. (Others get relegated to junk only to continue showing up 4 times a day for years. Costco, for example.) Anyway- I know enough to come looking for you but just sayin’…
Hey, I didn’t do that!! Oh dear. I wonder what happened? Did you do a search for follow.it in your email? If nothing shows up, go ahead and sign up again. Right under Pootie over there. Maybe you inadvertently hit the unsubscribe button. And thanks for looking for me! I just checked my followers and you aren’t on the list. BUT I DIDN’T DO IT, HONEST.
Oh dear God! Where are those boys moving and can we bribe them to stay? Can we clone them? I didn’t know people like that existed. Usually I need to talk to seven people, giving each one all pertinent data, then being put on hold for 20 minutes, then being transferred yet again until some gentle fellow working out of his home in India (with chickens yelling in the background,) and speaking slowly because it takes me time to understand, says, “Ah, here. Now try it.” and it works.
If it works, they’ve improved things in India since I had to do it.
Now that the Postal Reform Act has been signed, perhaps the P.O. can finally get around to assigning everyone an email address. I wonder if that would work on Sundays?
I do like the idea of not getting email on my days off…
Can you stay in touch with your favourite fixer-uppers by email or phone? They they’d still be able to help?
I’m afraid they’re going to be gone for good. Maybe I can send them leg shots.
You must realize that This Was All Your Fault for Trying to Do it Yourself, right? For daring to twiddle into the settings? This is job security for all the remote technicians! They place gremlins in the system that magically FUBAR anything you try yourself. That’s my conspiracy theory and I’m sticking to it. I feel yer pain, Murrebaby.
Hey, Julie, you’re all gmail, right? Do you recommend it?
While Julie considers her reply, I’ll just note that I’ve never had any trouble with gmail (except for the one time I ran out of storage space — I can’t recall what the solution was — probably to pay for more).
Having to get a new email address, telling everybody about it, not being able to read all your current emails any more, trying to learn how to use a new email system, having no friendly real person to talk to on the other end … I cry for you!
You might want to give Infinity Internet in Vancouver, WA a try. I’m sure you’ll need to get a new email address, but at least they’re a small local shop that should give you the kind of service the SpireTech guys did — local humans answering the phones and all that. https://www.infinityinternet.com