From our old friend C. S. Lewis:
If we are going to be destroyed by a far-right government, let that government when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about politics. They might break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
That’s got to be my strategy. Fury, denial, despair — none of these will help. Simply getting on with life just might.
My wife is one of the billions who have no interest in computers per se, but want to use them to do things — just as I have no interest in cars but want to use them to drive places. She’s just spent a solid 20 solid minutes trying to figure out how to export a video file from iDVD on her Mac, so she can upload it to YouTube. No dice.
So I stepped in, a professional programmer, wise in the ways of computers. I was ready to click a couple of menu items, File -> Export -> MP4, and save the day in 30 seconds. Twenty more minutes later, here I am.
Back in the early 1990s, when I was working on Sun’s Unix boxes, it was routine for them to be up for multiple years at a time. A reboot was a big event.
Now here we are in 2017, and every single update to the Linux kernel — of which there are several every week — requests a reboot.
PlusNet had been my ISP for years — despite the many problems I’ve had with them (metered usage, not disclosing MAC key, secret packages). On top of all this, the actual service had degraded so much — with an outage pretty much every day — that on 18 July I finally decided to leave, and move to a more expensive but much faster BT deal. Hurrah!
So needless to say, they have continued to bill me.
I’ve written to my MP, the Conservative Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) quite a few times in the last few years, on many different subjects. (I use the “Write to Them” site.)
And to give him credit, I have nearly always received a reply — in the post, printed on nice, heavy parchment-style paper.
Today, I turned up at my local surgery, Forest Health Care in Ruardean, for a routine appointment at 1:20 pm. Except it turns out that the centre shuts down for the day at lunchtime, so it was deserted when I got there. Evidently I took down the appointment time or date wrong.
So far, so dumb.
Step 1. Offer to sell the customer an extended warranty
Step 2. Offer to sell the customer an extended warranty
Step 3. Offer to sell the customer an extended warranty
Step 4. Offer to sell the customer an extended warranty
This is, evidently, the strategy of Bosch, a white-goods manufacturer with a good reputation for quality and reliability, but who I will quite possibly never buy another device from because they will not stop spamming me.
I mentioned last year that, living in rural England, I often find it useful to drive a hire car home from airports, and that Europcar had been my favoured option. But now they’ve stolen £22.08 from me, so I’ll have to find a different car-rental company to use.
You may remember from last time that John Lewis failed to deliver our new dishwasher, didn’t even trouble to tell us that they weren’t coming, and wouldn’t prioritise getting it to us subsequently. Everything that’s happened since has made a bad situation worse. The upshot is that three full weeks after I placed my order, I am sitting at home, unable to go food-shopping, in the pathetic hope that maybe, just maybe, they’ll do what we paid them for.
Our old dishwasher died. Fair enough — it’s nine years old and has served us well. So we needed to order a new one. Having figured out what model I wanted, I did the comparison shopping, but chose not to go for the cheapest option: instead, I paid slightly more to order from John Lewis, because of their reputation for competence, professionalism and reliability.