Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cultivating Patience With New Technology

Cultivating Patience With New Technology

Sometimes it is easy to forget how far we’ve come in the Internet age.  With each improvement in the technology, my expectations are raised exponentially. My first foray into the world-wide-web really was around 1995.  That is when through multiple family trades I ended up with my brother’s antiquated 386 PC.
That was also during an age when cell phones were the size of bricks. Dial up connections were miraculous. It didn’t seem slow considering the benefits.

But as the technology became more advanced, so did my expectations. I next bought a brand new Gateway PC with Windows 95– I mean really – the cow design on the box was adorable.  But when the newer version came out a few years later, I needed a new PC with Windows 98. My last PC was a Dell that I bought at Costco with Windows XP. But that time, I was a veteran of online shopping and entered the world of online dating. EBay was soon to follow. But through all of this, I was satisfied with dial up.

It wasn’t until I moved to Winchester, Virginia in 2006 that I discovered the cable connection. The speed made my heart sing. Now, I was able to justify working from home – I had a high-speed connection! But my Internet world soon came crashing down. I married the man of my dreams and moved to what some would term rural and others an environment reminiscent of “Deliverance”. No cable. No DSL. The only option was satellite – and I decline to elaborate on our experience with our satellite provider only to avoid being sued for libel. But the service was abysmal. We were repeatedly dinged with additional charges over a “fair access” rule. Instead of increasing speed with improvements in technology, we saw own service decline to the point that the little spinning hourglass became the family mascot.

Then, the a star appeared, the angels sang the “Hallelujah Chorus”, the Good Fairy waved her magic wand and we found…Verizon MiFi- the device that freed us from satellite and brought our service into the 21st Century. But it wasn’t enough.  4G or LTE beckoned.  When we had a coupon for an upgrade to 4G a year ago, we traded up – even though Winchester was not yet on the 4G networks. It was promised. But we had problems and had to reset the device to 3G only.  And then again, right before Thanksgiving, a customer service manager at the local Verizon store assured me we now had LTE on my road. Our cell phones confirmed it. Both of our IPhones held the LTE signal consistently. I called. We converted.  We crashed.  It was not to be - yet. There are problems with LTE in our area and with the device.  After a few brilliant hours of lightning fast speeds, everything froze.  Ultimately, we had to downgrade – to reset to 3G. 

But really, is that so bad? We’ve become spoiled. As one who was born before color TV, having more than 4 channels, microwaves, wireless phones, computers, eBooks, CDs (music not investments), cable, and average citizens flying routinely, 3G should be more than sufficient. But I am impatient. I want the latest and greatest and fastest.  I’ve become a woman of the 21st Century and crave all of its glories.  This is kind of funny coming from a former Luddite who saw no need to learn anything about computers in the ‘70’s. Really – why would I need to know anything about computers….a passing fancy. 

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