Tag Archives: Internet service provider

(Not) Lazy Sunday…

How to confuse and bewilder a simple mind with one easy device…

Every family has their resident, unpaid technology whisperers – the one, uniquely calming soul who speaks fluent gadget, effortlessly tweaks new mobile phone settings and performs that most essential of modern miracles, making the internet work.

In my family, I am that unfortunate soul.

The major problem with that, of course, is that I’m entirely self-taught and nowhere near being a network engineer, so the major stuff which goes wrong is absolutely beyond my ken.  Power-cycle a router? Can do.  Install software and do updates?  No problem.  Reinstating an internet connection which is shown as being connected but fervently resisting any attempt to allow any device in the house to connect to the internet?  Utterly bewildering.

After the best part of two hours on the phone with my ISP’s technical support team (and three hours of shutting down, starting up, plugging in ethernet cables and grimacing before that), we finally got the damn thing working again by jiggling a pin in a small, hidden port to reset the device entirely.   It feels insulting, somehow.

Yes, I have tried turning it off and on again…

I’ve had better Sunday afternoons, let me assure you.  But everything appears to be working now and Mrs Rolling Eyeballs has been able to blog again and work so I feel as though my wasted hours of first world problems, switching on and off again, obtaining ethernet cables and obsessive tea drinking were all worth the dubious pleasure of chatting with outsourced call centre staff who couldn’t understand my not especially difficult to understand Northern British accent, wouldn’t accept that my PC’s settings were not located where they expected them to be and the sudden, inexplicable collapse of my laptop battery.

It sounds like a horrendous cliché, but it’s true – you really don’t miss the things you take for granted until they’re snatched away by the dread faeries of soul-crushing tech fail…

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Today, in doomed Government stupidity

Yep, feels pretty much like he’s got his eyes on all of us…

My position on copyright infringement and piracy is pretty clear, I think. It hurts creative industries and helps to foster a culture in which somebody’s art doesn’t have any value – if you can steal it via the internet then why would you think that the MP3 or movie file you’ve downloaded would have any financial worth?

That said, the UK government has a new, asinine idea in the fight against intellectual property theft which adequately illustrates how genuinely clueless they are about technology.

Under new proposals, if you’ve been accused by a rights holder of illegally downloading their creative works, you will have to pay £20.00 for the privilege of defending yourself.

Whilst this would be a fine way to conduct ourselves if the process of bringing somebody to court for these kinds of offences was in any way clear-cut, the nature of wireless broadband connections, unsecured routers and general I.T. ignorance means that any number of entirely innocent people could find themselves facing charges and having to pay to defend themselves purely because they lack the wherewithal to securely comport themselves on the internet.

For that reason alone, I can’t see this kind of legislation standing up in court – we would have to live in a culture where it was a legally enforceable condition of internet use that your hardware was secure and password-protected, so as to prevent such potential miscarriages of justice from occurring.  And how likely is it that your ageing ‘Silver Surfer’ relatives are going to be taken to court because they neglected to stop a grandchild from torrenting porn or the new Bruno Mars CD on their internet connection through ignorance of securing their laptop and router?

I’d love to see the government which tried to enforce that law.

Given that we live in a society where nuisance legal firms and shady right holders troll the unaware and get rich on the basis of spurious ‘pay up or be sued’ requests based on nothing more than an IP address – not the safest of identifying characteristics – I worry that this kind of thing will target exactly the wrong, tech-illiterate folks and let those savvy enough to circumvent elementary barriers to get away with merrily torrenting all the while.

Paying to defend yourself against potentially baseless allegations from cynical rip-off merchants – isn’t it great to know that you live in a country where the idea of being innocent until proven guilty is a thing of the past?

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