Sunday, January 27

Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)

A rock song of 1988 by the same name sums up what happened to us. Saturday we awoke to NO INTERNET. That’s like NO COFFEE or the TOILET HAS VANISHED. It’s amazing how our lives have been altered by the Internet. Here in the boondocks we don’t have newspaper delivery. Our mail comes to a post office box over an hour’s drive away.

Our particular problem involves a satellite hookup to the Internet. The provider, HughesNet, has been very reliable with only a few hiccups in service. But Saturday our satellite modem lit only two of its five lights, Power and LAN. System, Transmit and Receive were dark. I used my computer to reboot the system, hoping to get it going. No luck. I tried over and over for a long time, then gave up and called their service number. After responding in my best computer-like voice to their computer-voice questions I was told to wait for the next human. Priscilla came on the line after a twenty-minute wait and told me that the company was doing maintenance on the system and was keeping everyone offline till 8:00 PM Eastern time, 5:00 Pacific. Odd, I thought, doing maintenance on a Saturday during daytime. Usually that’s an overnight task when everyone’s asleep.

By 5:30 Pacific time we still didn’t have service, so I called again. After the usual talk-to-the-computer interval, I got ahold of a human whose name I forget. He told me that their tests showed our modem to be faulty. Something about the transmit/receive function having a ground fault. We would have to get it replaced. I knew enough about electronics to have a strong suspicion that the technician was full of beans. Sure enough, after we ended the conversation the system rebooted and we had Internet again!

What was going on? We have been receiving literature in the mail from HughesNet about their spiffy new satellite’s capability. Generation 4 they call it. Ten times speed on downloads! It seemed miraculous and was competitive with the kind of connection you’d get from a local landline link. Were they trying to get us to upgrade? We were suspicious.

Today, Sunday, we awoke to no connection to the Internet. I tried the usual re-booting procedures to get the modem working. Nothing. So I turned it off. With no connection to the outside, we resorted to doing human things, like looking at the world right around us. Rocks, trees, clouds, that kind of stuff. We took a couple of long walks. We saw turkey tracks in the mud. Deer tracks too. The breeze was crisp. Hawks soared above. The air was refreshing; puffy clouds gleamed in the sunlight. The dogs romped and asked us to throw things they could retrieve. We talked and talked.

About 5 o’clock I turned the modem back on. All the lights came on. We were re-connected to the world!

Hooray (I think).

1 comment:

Susan said...

We lost our Internet for several hours today. Mick commented 'What did we used to do before we had the Internet?' and that caused a lot of memories and discussion to ensue.

Then the Internet came back on and we retreated to our respective machines.