Wednesday. I received a letter from AT&T yesterday suggesting I upgrade to “AT&T High Speed Internet Pro” and get twice the speed with $20 cash back, “FREE Wi-Fi” and a $5 Starbucks card. No mention of a fee. OK. Maybe I'll check it out at their web site. Then, a hour after opening the letter, my Internet speed fell to almost zero. I could still send and receive mail, although at a snail's pace, and I could ping outside web sites, but opening anything over a small number of bytes (such as one of my journal pages) would time out.
I was suspicious. Would my modem fail or almost fail just as I received this letter? Could happen. I'd just installed the Windows XP service pack 3 on my three desktop computers. Could that be the problem? No, my Vista running laptop was having the same issue. Reset the modem. No result. Check the various network settings. I once did this for a living, I know where to look. Slow, slow, slow. My journal index page will load (after a long delay), but none of the individual journal pages will load without timing out. It takes forever to load a page into my editor because I have an Internet link to the Haloscan comments code, any page without a Haloscan link loads in a blink. Call AT&T.
After a long series of voice driven menus a real person admitted they've been having problems in Oakland since yesterday afternoon with “my server” and they're projecting a fix by ten later this morning. It's now eight-thirty, I've been out and had breakfast, I'm guessing I can wait until ten. The letter I mentioned advertising “AT&T High Speed Internet Pro” turns out to be a software upgrade rather than a hardware upgrade for an additional $5 per month. Interesting way to market it: no mention of the $5 fee, just a pitch touting the one time $20 credit, a $5 Starbucks card and free Wi-Fi access at what I guess are AT&T controlled hot spots. Cheesy, but I may do it.
I really have no complaints about speed, but $5 a month to double what I have at the moment? Your basic American no brainer decision, maybe: faster is always better? Still. Maybe if I was in the habit of carting my laptop around I'd go for it. But I don't. What I have learned from this is that I am hog tied to the net like some hormone bloated teenage gaming addict. Losing Internet connectivity is, well, revealing. Maybe if I spent a month in a tent in the desert: get away from computers, email, radios, newspapers; clear the mind of outside connections, purge this impenetrable mass of interconnecting brains and waves and wires.
A tent in the desert?
You know, like a Howard Johnson's: a motel with an air conditioned bar and room service in say Phoenix.