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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Technology fail day

11 September 2018

Yesterday was an "interesting" day.

Note that I used the word "interesting" in quotes.

What I really meant to say was, "yesterday was a disaster".

The morning started well enough and after rising with the sun, I had all my emails and other writing duties sorted by just after 9am. Woohoo...

Then the internet stopped working.

No, I don't mean the entire internet... just the bit that connects Tokoroa to the rest of the world.

I rang the Spark help line and was told "there are some common things that can happen which stop your internet from working so we've sent you an app to run and want you to log in to our webpage at..."

Excuse me?

What part of "the internet isn't working" do you not understand you stupid automated voice-response system!!!!

Telling someone who, it has been acknowledged, has no working internet, that they should log into a webpage on the Spark site is so ridiculous that I'm sure they're just taking the piss with this.

Oh yes, they sent me a link to an app. They sent it to my 2G "dumb" phone.

Yeah, that's going to work isn't it?

Oh, I do have a smart phone... but I only use it with Wifi -- and my internet is down -- CLOWNS!!!!!!

Anyway, I was also told "if you want to wait on the phone, we'll get around to answering your call in about 20 minutes... or you can leave your number and we'll call you back".

Okay, I left my number and sure enough, about 20 minutes later I got a call.

"When Mr 'Bruce Simpson' is ready to come to the phone, please press 1"

So I pressed '1'.

Utter silence.

I waited a minute and a half

Still utter silence!

It seems that the same circuits used to carry the interwebs to Tokoroa were also being used to try and carry the voice-telephony for this call -- so no talkie, no hearie.

I should mention at this stage that I do have a landline associated with the fibre connection but, since the fibre was down, so was the landline -- so I'd had to call from my 2G mobile.

In case it was just "bad luck", I repeated this whole process -- but with exactly the same result. The callback resulted in total silence.

Way to run a support service Spark!

I figured by this stage that I was flogging a dead horse so I went to the workshop to see if my 4G broadband was working there. Surprisingly, it was! When I checked the outage list, sure enough, the whole of Tokoroa was a red dot and I was told that the interwebs had failed just after 9am.

Ah well, nothing to do but carry on and make some video at the workshop.

Then my phone rang... it was the old sheila.

Her car was dead and she was supposed to be dropping it off for a warrant of fitness.

I sped home and found that the battery in the key fobs (both of them) were flat.

Off to the shop to get some new 1632 button cells.

I found them and took the card of cells to the counter. "Sorry, no EFTPOS, internet down" I was told.

Fortunately I found a couple of bucks in in my wallet and paid with good old-fashioned cash (gee that felt good!).

Back home, new batteries installed and the car was once again alive -- but too late for the WOF appointment.

At this stage I realised that the truck was perilously low on dino-juice -- but I'd spent my last few bucks on batteries so with the EFTPOS system seemingly also affected, there was not going to be any way to fill up.

As I said... today was a day of tech-disaster but if it has served any purpose, it is to remind us that the more technology we rely on, the more vulnerable we become to any failures.

I'll make sure I carry more cash in future and I'll start replacing all my key fob batteries (for alarms, entry vehicles, etc) as a matter of routine -- rather than waiting for them to go flat. I'm also glad I have two forms of internet connectivity -- albeit I won't be watching Netflix until Spark twist their wires back together.

Update: Tokoroa rejoined the wider internet shortly after 9pm -- making this a 12 hour total outage. I could hear the prolonged wailing of Facebookers across the entire town -- followed by a collective sigh of relief :-)

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