Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Closeted with my Computer

Isn’t contemporary life a rich and wonderful thing? At the weekend there we were lapping up 18th-century refinement and interior decoration and taking tea with the Tudors, whereas for much of the last three days I have been grappling with that most absorbing of activities: changing internet service provider. Not that I regret this, having now emerged on the other side of the process without too many scars.

As promised, the router (or “Hub) as BT likes to call it arrived in good time on Monday. “Nice one”, said the delivery man as he handed over the plastic-wrapped box, although I am not sure if he was referring to the excellence of the product he had just delivered or to my house (in which case, thanks very much) or to the accomplishment of his mission—perhaps to all three. With any new piece of technology I always feel a mixture of excitement and trepidation and so I decided to have lunch before disconnecting my old kit and setting up the new.

Basic set-up was very easy, so that soon we were connected to the internet, as evidenced by the rather lovely blue lights on the Hub, but we hit some complications when it came to getting email to function, as I could receive messages but not send. The recommendation from customer service was that I try and sort this out with them the next day, as they do not always have all that they need in place to help a customer straight away. I was happy to postpone as my old address was still working.

Yesterday therefore I rang them again and, after downloading a little bit of software, gave the very helpful and patient technician, who was thousands of miles away, control of my computer. It turned out that the automatic set-up of my email with the new provider’s details had made an incorrect entry in one of the relevant boxes and that, once that was amended, everything worked as it should.

The next task was to advise my friends, family, associates and acquaintances of my change of address. The system choked on an email to over 200 addressees and so I had to split the recipients into groups and send five separate emails. So far so good with that. The rest of yesterday was taken up with amending my address on banking and other sites of varying degrees of frivolity and seriousness, a surprisingly time-consuming process, particularly when some organisations send you an email in which you then have to click a link to confirm the change. Facebook was particularly irritating in this regard, as their email kept not arriving. I let them cool their techie heels for a bit and the procedure worked when I tried it a few hours later.

There have been a few loose ends to sort out today, but I think all is now in order. My wife meanwhile is fighting her own battles to alter her address on various websites, not so easy as her computer (an, ahem, Windows PC) is stroppier than mine and keeps flinging pop-ups at her.

Tomorrow I go for my free flu jab. It’s all fun around here, I can tell you.

Here, apropos of nothing, is a dramatic example of what can be achieved with Lego.
Mind you, it could be taken as an illustration of what it feels like to cope with reluctant technology...

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