Sunday, 2 October 2016

Autumn Ramblings - and a rant!

September was a frustrating month. For it, I’ve was without internet access and, to be honest, I felt like I’d lost an arm. I should point out here that although I have a smart phone, I don’t use it for Facebook or Twitter – if I’m honest, it’s because they would be too much of a distraction! Nor do I bank online.

Indulge me for a short time while I tell you the woeful story. Sometimes my connection was on, sometimes it was off – more often off than on. Numerous phone calls to my service provider, were frustrating, to say the least. Eventually, they arranged for an engineer to call – but it was a week and a half away. ‘But I can’t do without the internet for a week and a half!’ I squeaked. I had to, of course. Eventually, when the engineer came, he’d fixed the problem which had been, he said, because of routine maintenance work in the area.

For a day and a half, I had an internet connection. Then – nothing again. Knowing that the maintenance work wasn’t due to finish until 19th September, I deliberately didn’t phone my service provider again until Tuesday 20th September. I was assured that the person I spoke to would be personally monitoring matters for the next ten days to ensure that I had the best possible broadband service. Oh, and please, not to ring again until the ten days had elapsed. The call ended up with her saying ‘Have a good day’ to which I replied ‘I would do if I had an internet connection.’ Talk about being fobbed off!

On Saturday, 24th September, my daughter and son-in-law visited, bringing with them their no-longer needed router which had been from the same internet service provider which my lovely s-i-l connected. Oh wonders! I had an internet connection – and I still have it!

Why, oh, why wasn’t I asked how old my original router was? (It was ancient) Surely that should have been an obvious starting point.
Colchicum - Autumn Crocus

In the midst of all this kerfuffle, I had a phone call claiming to be someone from my internet service provider who said they could fix the problem over the phone. As they knew my name, address and account number, I had no reason to doubt them. I allowed them remote access to my computer and they did various whiz-bang thingies that looked pretty alarming. When they said they were going to give me £200 compensation providing I gave them my bank details, alarm bells started ringing. When I refused, the line went dead. The only consolation was that I’d wasted about 45 minutes of their time. I immediately switched my computer off and rang my pet computer chappie who came up within the hour to delete a couple of programs that had been installed. So no damage done. But just goes to show how plausible it all sounded. My heart goes out to those who have fallen for these scams because now I realise how easy it is to fall for the scam.

Two areas of concern remain, how did they know my account details and how did they know I was having problems? Is this a major breach of security? I have written a strong letter of complaint to my internet service provider and mentioned both areas of concern.

On a more positive note, I did manage to write a couple of articles, prepare an author talk for an event on 19th September, sort all my tax records out and started making notes about book number three.

All this has left me pondering though. Just how much of our lives are dependent on the internet, unknown 30 years ago? Today, most young people seem to live their lives through their smart phones. You see them at bus stops, restaurants and pubs, texting or scrolling through social media. What’s going to happen in 20-30 years’ time? Will any one actually be speaking to each other by then? Or will smart phones be a thing of the past? I doubt I shall be around in 30 years’ time to find out!