Saturday, 1 February 2014

Connections and Respect...

Having got back into a steady routine of writing and blogging, my life was thrown upside down last weekend by not only losing my broadband, but my phone line too.

Okay, I know. If my phone line goes then so will my broadband. Unfortunately it happened the other way round for me...

I should add that we suspected our loss of service was 99.9% related to the engineer (from our provider) who was putting a broadband line in for one of our neighbours, as we lost our broadband about the time he would have been connecting up to the box in the pavement.

All the cables run under our pavements where we live, so we don't have any telegraph poles with wires running across.

But the provider's fault system requires you go through the testing routine, and of course their instrumentation said our broadband signal had no drop-out (!!!!) and the problem was our phone line-further tests then went on to blame our house wiring, and warnings that if the engineer came out we'd be liable to pay nearly £130 if it wasn't their equipment at fault.

So from Friday evening until the engineer arrived early Tuesday morning we were stuck. You get a lot of other things done with no phone calls, or Internet to distract you. (I read three e-books on my kindle.) But my desk had to be moved right up against my bookcase!

Very pleased to say that the engineer quickly found that the problem was outside, and as we'd suspected on the Friday when we started losing our service, it was related to what the other engineer had done.

Took about an hour+ to fix and test- even that wasn't trouble-free, but eventually we had a working phone and broadband line.

But it has taken the rest of the week getting the bandwidth back to where it was. And don't mention how many e-mails there were to sort through!

It's only when you lose your broadband that you realise how much of everyday life has moved online.

We communicate with friends and acquaintances from all over the UK, and in other countries, as if they were in another room. We use the Internet to interact with companies and services, even publishers! It's often easier to contact a company online than it is by phone...

The Internet has opened up so many resources that writers, a hundred years ago, would either have had to make a time-consuming trip to access the location, museum, gallery or specialist library and spend hours finding the information needed, or send lots of letters to get the answers.

My loss of broadband for those few days certainly increased my respect for those early writers. Their books may have been shorter word counts than we produce now, but they put as much, if not more effort, into producing their manuscripts.

It also makes you realise how much we take access to information for granted.

If the Internet hadn't been invented how many of those essential services and goods we writers depend on, would not have been invented? How many companies and organisations that employ, and sometimes support, people (including writers) may never have come into existence?

That's slightly scary...


  1. This sounds very much like what happened to us, but in our case they had to start at the exchange and check for faults all along the line. It's quite a shock to find yourself adrift from the web and surprising how much we use it All The Time! I share your admiration for those early writers x

    1. We had a new line from our phone to the little junction box on the front wall of the house replaced less than two years ago.

      Fortunately the next stage beyond that was set in the pavement in front of our low garden wall- so he didn't have to search far!

      I'm one of those writers who must check their e-mails first and get the important things sorted before starting writing, and it just threw me.

      Makes you realise how much harder it must have been for writers like Jane Austen, who had to write everything longhand.

  2. I feel a little lost if I have to go without internet access for more than a day or two. I doubt I'd have been a writer if I'd lived in a pre computer time.

    1. I'm sure you would have been eager to get to a typewriter, Patsy. :)

  3. Glad you're reconnected, Carol. As for relying on the internet, you're right. I have a folder full of research for an old project. It was all collected pre-internet and I can't believe the number of letters I sent - and the replies - no wonder it took so long.

  4. Thanks, Helen.

    I know how many folders of notes I accumulated for various projects before I moved from my Brother word processor to a computer.

    With the time saved we can now do so much more...

  5. So glad you are back up to speed now! As you say, it's amazing what you rely on it for, especially when you need to work from home. We went through a phase of our broadband going down about every 6 weeks. It would go down so slow that it was unusable. And of course they just say 'there's not a problem'...They also told us about how it would be our wiring and the charge they'd make for coming out! Like cars, computers are great when they work, and a nightmare when they don't!

    Totally agree on what you get done when you're not online though. I like to spend some days 'unplugged' for this very reason!

  6. I don't mind being 'out of contact' if I plan it that way, Maxi, but when I don't have any control over what's happening, I don't cope very well- who'd have thought me a control freak! :D


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