I know I’ve been missing a few Thursdays this year (thanks again for being there yet again last week, Chris), but last week I was here, fingers poised over the keyboard – until I realized that the little thingummy that tells me the broadband is working had an exclamation mark beside it. So I applied the highly technical fix my daughter told me about – switched off and switched on again – but the connection remained resolutely non-existent.
And so it remained for five days. It being the jolly old festive season, ho ho ho, I had things on my mind that didn’t involve technology. Besides, having investigated various possibilities, mainly asking husband whether or not his was working, since we use the same router, and found that it was, perfectly, I’d more or less decided the problem was that my antique laptop was about to expire, so I was steeling myself to dip into savings and invest in a new one. So for a few days I did nothing beyond checking now and again to see if it was working.
Then lovely daughter suggested that it might be worth contacting the service provider before going down the new laptop route. So on Tuesday, I did. And whaddyaknow, the problem wasn’t mine at all; it was Microsoft’s. Apparently, and anyone more techno-savvy than I am, which means everyone, probably knows this already, one of their multifarious updates to Windows 10 caused a glitch which meant some people couldn’t access broadband.
So, after what felt like an entire day spent on the phone to various helpline personnel, suddenly I had a broadband connection again. It went down again yesterday, but at least then I had a number to call.
The day turned out to be alternately hair-tearingly frustrating and hilarious, the first while it was happening and the second when I could stand back and see it from a distance. It went something like this.
Call helpline. Put on hold to await an adviser.
After twenty minutes, adviser answers and asks for details I’d already provided.
I provide details and explain the problem. Adviser offers to send me an e-mail with a link to a helpful website. Umm...
Somehow I restrain myself from throwing phone at wall, tear my hair, scream a bit and call helpline again.
Another twenty-minute wait, followed by asking for details etc etc.
This time the adviser clearly has no idea what to do, evidenced by the way she goes away several times to ask someone else for help.
Eventually she gives me another number to call.
After only a little bit of hair-tearing and screaming, I call it. Only a ten-minute wait this time, then Steve from Cardiff comes on the line. Forgive me my personal partiality, but I do find a Welsh accent extremely reassuring.
‘Oh, yes,’ says Steve, ‘that’s the Windows 10 glitch. We’ll have that fixed in a jiffy.’
And lovely Steve tells me exactly what to do, and lo and behold my broadband connection reappears. I come very close to telling Steve I’m in love with him and want to iron his shirts and bake cakes for him; husband is only a few feet away and I don’t want to hurt his feelings.
Next day it disappeared again, but at least I now had a number to call, with a reasonable possibility that the person who answered would know what to do. (He did.) And today, fingers crossed, touch wood, invoke all available deities, it was there when I switched on and has stayed put.
But isn’t it kind of worrying that Microsoft, the largest technology company in the world (unless someone knows different), with all the funding and resources they have at their disposal, can’t manage to produce a widely-used piece of software which doesn’t interfere with the few bits of technology they didn’t invent? Or did they invent broadband? I’m really not well versed in these matters. If they did, it’s even more worrying. A bit like pharmaceutical companies who invent new drugs without knowing how they’re going to react with old ones – and don’t get me started on that or we’ll be here till armageddon.
None of which has anything to do with crime fiction, of course. Microsoft getting it wrong may be unforgivable, but it’s not a crime. And my helpline experience... well, you couldn’t make it up!
One of these weeks I really will get back to posting about crime fiction. That’s a promise.