At the End of the Day

Bury my heart at Broken Promise
It all began with a very simple idea. As several of my Acer laptop keyboard functions weren’t working, I thought, ‘Why not just go out and buy a simple keyboard, plug it into the laptop and bypass the buggered bit?’

So I went to my nearest hiphop cutting edge techie centre, and they said, “Smart idea but you’ll have to connect the keyboard using Bluetooth in order to do that – this is the kit you need”.

I did the rest of my shopping, got home, followed the Easy-3-Step installation process, and the wifi button on my Acer went dead. But the new remote keyboard was OK: as if to establish an alibi and evade all blame, it carried on blinking….. which meant “nothing wrong with me nernernenerne”.
At this point, anyone with only one form of wireless kit would be screwed….because in order to understand what’s happened and why, you’d need to go to the Acer website. And to do that, you’d need to be online. And I wasn’t.

But I do have an HP notebook. It only takes about 25 minutes to crawl into action, so I powered him up and went off to write a 160,000 page novel. Its internet access via my Trendnet 658 state-of-the-art router purchased eight long months ago was AOK, so that told me the problem lay with my Acer. I typed the Acer laptop problem into my HP notebook, and you’ll never guess, 12 user forums popped up saying “My Acer has turned off wifi and won’t turn it on again”. (Trendnet also obliged by getting in touch to say that my 658 state-of-the-art router had been discontinued).

One poor soul in the forum did however observe, “Acer has a tendency to switch off wifi if your drivers and Bios settings are out of date, and as you don’t get any warnings from them about being out of date, it can be slightly inconvenient”.

Slightly inconvenient. Right. Not the descriptor I’d use, but anyway I went to the Acer website to get these downloads using my HP Snailbook, and of course realised I was being a twat because I couldn’t download to the Acer. So I Googled how to get a wired connection using an Acer E-157 and a discomboobulated not very trendy Trendnet 658, and the site said you have to get Papal dispensation to pull that kind of shit and I thought feeeeerrrrk that.

Instead, I went into a plastic poubelle [garbage] sack I own marked ‘old tech’. It has an advertised capacity of 150 litres, and sits hidden but packed to the gunnels behind my original Habitat Mushroom design icon wickerwork easy chair. Therein I found two neolithic Mac ethernet connections, and put one end into the router and the other end into the Acer. All this Acer and router stuff put me in mind of the Chuck Berry/early Stones classic track, Route 66.
Well if you ever plan to motor west/taxi my way that’s the highway that’s the best. I was that Easy Rider giving a big, long middle finger to the rules, man. It worked: I went to the Acer download site, and began downloading the previously secret updates. The download space on my at last connected laptop told me the process would take two and a half hours.
While I was waiting, I had another thought. Why not fire up my android and see if the remote keyboard would connect to that? ‘A little learning is a dangerous thing’ Alexander Pope once wrote; but by now it was 3 in the afternoon and all my previouslu scheduled tasks had been blown onto the rocks by technology: what on earth did I have to lose?

At first, all went well. The tablet quickly recognised the remote keyboard (being Bluetooth enabled) and ‘paired’ with it. Unfortunately, the pairing turned out to be that of an Islamist fiery chariot with an early US Gemini capsule. I pressed the ‘a’ key, and a dollar sign came up. I pressed the ‘i’ key, and a q materialised. I don’t like to think what might have happened had I pressed ‘°’, which is OK because I didn’t. But who knows: some day perhaps, a jumped-up sorcerer’s apprentice will do just that –  and the Hadron collider will turn Time backwards.

I said get your  kicks/ on Route 66.
So to sum up, I went out to buy a solution, and wound up bringing home a grab-bag of problems. The downloads completed at 7 pm, but neither of the compressed files wanted to open.
My tablet speaks to my keyboard, but the keyboard  replies in the manner of Ben Bernanke following a mild stroke. The Acer will now only work via ethernet….and has but a deranged keyboard as the communicating tool. And as for my new wannabe replacement keyboard…. it quickly ran away from the field of anarchic Star Wars: where once there was a proper reception signal, there is now only a mild, flickering green light. I’d love to Google why it’s doing that, but I don’t fancy the Geek solution likely to be on offer. I  suspect it would be harder then cracking the Enigma Code: perhaps even the Da Vinci Code.

I went for a long swim in a cold pool after typing that paragraph. On my return, the tablet had frozen. It may be called a Terra Pad and it may be made in Germany, but right now it’s about as much use to me as a Paraguayan terrapin – and a damn sight more expensive.
The downloads, meanwhile, are compressed in zip files my Acerloadashit doesn’t want to run. Under extreme duress, it has been persuaded to open them, but I suspect the machine knows only too well that the Universe may well implode if they’re allowed to run amok.

But even that isn’t quite as definitively daft as the page my ‘troubleshooting’ app vomited when asked to restore my choice of routes onto the cyberway. It showed me every public and private network I’d accessed since 2004, and then commanded, ‘Select those networks you’d like to forget’. I’d no great desire to forget any of them, but whatTF was the point of me obliterating a network I was trying to get back? That was, by the way, the sum total of ‘Help’ on offer.
°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°
It’s all very well writing mildly amusing pieces about the random disorganisation and brain-muddled nature of hitech in 2015, but there are very serious charges to be brought against the sector as a whole – not the least of which is its arrogant and unremitting ageism. Yes that’s right  – ageism: the biggest crime of the modern era perpetrated upon the biggest single demographic alive today, but for whom there is zilch legislation to even begin to rival the homophobia, feminist, islamophobic and race relations body of law sitting there on the statutes to placate those who think a point of difference gives them the right to special treatment.

Whereas for the ageing majority, surely their experience and failing faculties DO give them the right to – at the very least – consideration. I’m angry to the point of violence with online banking sites where, if one doesn’t immediately enter the 57-digit code number, an irritating notice comes up saying ‘This is an obligatory response’ or – even worse – the bloody web page page fades and blames the user for inactivity.
But less controversially, contemporary technology is a crime wrought by yet more of these so-called free market loons who claim sole ownership of the principles of marketing – yet know nothing whatsoever about it, operating whenever possible from the vantage point of sleazy monopolism. Here I would finger Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Facebook and most of the companies they have bought in order to kill real competition….and then armlock the distributors into foisting upon the public both hardware and software that is at best dysfunctional. The sole design criterion for all of this pointless crap is that users should become so frustrated by it, they will purchase any replacement that seems to offer something better….until you try to use it, that is.

Over a century ago, such criminal disregard for product quality and customer satisfaction would have attracted the ire of legislators who put the citizen first – and damned such constructs as Trusts and Monopolies. But in 2015 – where few citizens support legislators, and thus they must crawl to the corporacrats – the layman consumers of technology are left to visit forums…when in reality – as the paymasters – they should be entitled to the support of experts who can speak languages beyond geekygobblejargonbabble.
There are two words that sum up the computer technology sector, and they haven’t changed since IBM was conning business into buying their useless desk-boxes forty years ago: broken promises.

Broken promises are the reason why every home in the West today has wires, hubs, dongles, disks, roaming appliances, mice, phone-connectors, ADSL convertors, dialup wall-sockets and other obsolescent dead-ends taking up entire cupboards, attics and poubelle sacs.

But on a broader canvas still, neoliberal eternal-growth bollocks is based on the same sociopathic mendacity. And that’s why – when even veteran Sloggers wonder why I go on about poor performance of techno products, overpaid footballers, digital television, despicably inaccurate accusations of paedophilia, the use of a myth called Grexit, media dissembling and the War on Terror – it’s because every last one of them is merely another aspect of the same syndrome: the infinite ability of the soi-disant elite to break promises to the very people they promise to serve.
Enjoy the weekend.

30 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Ease up dude you ll have a coronary .

    Just dump all that poubelle crap and buy yourself a wifi and bluetooth enabled ipad Air 64kb for about 500 euros.

    Of course it helps to have an ISP that can put one foot in front if the other and supply reliable CABLED broadband to your prooerty not some hootenanny poor mans wireless.

    Of course being in France this may not be possible . Go Stateside and get Verizon . Or better yet come back to Blighty and get Virgin!

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  2. download this ubuntu-14.04.2-desktop-amd64, along with this Universal-USB-Installer-1.9.6.0. Put Ubuntu on a usb key and boot from it, See if your keyboard works, bet it does. Then think about this, reflect a little and you will find the solution rapidly.Bonne weekend

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  3. Of all the technological innovations that affects the elderly more than youth … dark grey writing on a light grey background. With contrast diminished I struggle to read the dam words whereas if it is black on white I can read it just fine.

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  4. You appear to have described most of my weekends for the last 15 years! I gave up on wireless keyboards, wired ones are still available and usually work without needing new batteries or recharging.

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  5. I find white lettering on a black background to be even worse than dark grey on light grey. Spent several hours this afternoon trying to get a Windows update unstuck. Fortunately was able to eventually find a solution using the ipad but it was no simple matter. Most sites said to re-boot and re-start in safe mode. Great advice but there was no way to stop the buffering of the configure page. After many dark minutes considering throwing the computer out the window I was able to do a hard shutdown and a safe re-boot. Then a system restore was in order, but of course there was an error and had to go through it all again and restore to an even earlier date. The panicky feelings were akin to those connected with a lost wallet.

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  6. On your Acer laptop you may be able to re-enable WIFI by finding the relevant setting in the BIOS menu and re-enabling it. On most PCs and laptops the BIOS menu can be entered by holding down F2, F12, or whatever key it mentions on the very first screen of text displayed after a reset or a power on. There is typically a series of menus regarding several different aspects of the machines configuration available there. Search around looking for one looking related to networking and if it is indeed reset-able you should come across it. With any luck re-enabling WIFI access could be as simple as turning it back on.

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  7. This sounds like a switch toggle problem; English follows now.

    There is a Function switch along the top of the keyboard. One of these Fn keys turns on the Bluetooth. If you find which one it is (It will have an “F” plus a little aerial on it, or something else which looks like a network) then hold down the Fn key (bottom left) and press the network key. As you repeatedly press the network key, it will toggle (rotate) between these options: Wireless (only) on / Bluetooth (only) on / both wireless and Bluetooth on / both off / Wireless (only) on, and so on in rotation. While keeping the Fn key pressed, keep pressing the network key until you get to the option where both are ON. Release the Fn key and all will be sweetness and functionality.

    It dawned on me what you may have done (by mistake) when you said the keyboard was Bluetooth. Most laptops which have both wireless modes (Bluetooth & G-Wireless) have this ‘toggling’ switch. It is designed to save power when running on battery, by only turning on the required wireless format. Bluetooth is heavy on power-draining while being seldom-used.

    The trouble with all modern technology, as you know, is that you need to know and fully understand the entire machine before you use the machine for the tiniest, basic function, and life is too short. Moreover, in the Olden Days (ten years ago) THEY ALL CAME WITH A BLOODY PAPER MANUAL which the skinflints now won’t supply – as – wait for it – IT’S ALL AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET. The number of times I have needed to look on the internet to find a solution to “no internet connection” is greater than the number of leaves floating on your pool. As an old (59 yrs) Nerd, I always carry a weeny Netbook, but it’s damned annoying.

    I sympathise. Email me if you need extra help.

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  8. “On my return, the tablet had frozen…”
    The trouble is John – you left Windows open.
    Try using Hotmail, ;-)

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  9. Absolutely marvellous! That’s progress for you. Just think where we will be in the next 100 years. Good thing I won’t be around.

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  10. Why not hire an 18 year old to sort out all the technononsense and write down with a lovely fountain pen on white paper what you want him/her to transfer to the ether?

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  11. John
    I have used USB wifi dongles for a few years now and they usualy find my router and cheap to buy too: re the keyboard it may be you have the greek/japanese/ or some ancient script type font selected …had this a few years ago… it was masking important buttons in the set up procedure! the drop down context menus were in ?><+":<~+ or some such alien tongue. took ages to sort out… .had to fire up a puppy linux iso I had down loaded and burnt to a disk! AS the lable said it did not bugger up anything but ran in ram. Gave me the oportunity to check out loads of foreign alien keyboards and find the bugger to change.
    PS a yanky K/brd will swop @ for ".

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  12. Vintage, JW: the glove of mirth, concealing the fist of truth.
    Nice one!

    I know only how to switch my laptop on & off, beyond that, zilch, nada, nowt.
    Any problemos & I phone Simon, not cheap but supremely competent.
    Saves hours of my time, gives me a break from the dreadfully addictive box,
    & allows me to pick up an old fashioned paper book. Simon does in seconds
    what I would fail to do in hours, & spares my wifes’ ears & my blood pressure.

    He’s neither 18 nor pretty, but hey, can’t have everything.

    Slog on, John. :)

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  13. Fortunately I had just over 20yrs in the industry but, just getting used to Windows 8.1 which my son has on his Alienware 18 laptop but, the install, or re-install is much the same as all Windows installs. The Dell techie tried to make out it was different but, it’s not. The bit that puzzles me is the drivers, why is it so hard for Dell to provide the correct drivers on a disk for the specific machine? My own machine, a MacBook Pro is very easy to re-install, either just the operating system or a re-image. I have just installed an SSD in place of the original hard drive, a big improvement in performance, I recommend it to all who are able to do it.

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  14. Liberate yourself, download your favourite Linux distro, try Ubuntu or Kubuntu if you have no idea, and then your device will work again.

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  15. JW, good on you for trying.
    You’ll learn a little more each time you fight with the beast.
    Unfortunately you will immediately forget what you just did to make it work.
    Either video it with your phone or write notes.

    seriously.

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  16. just read a comment on the DT…and the whole commment section was so oppisite to mine I was shocked. its rigged.

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  17. You’ve stumbled upon the first great rule of communications equipment – never ever use any form of wireless interface unless absolutely necessary. No wireless keyboards, mice, printers, Bluetooth, Bluetongue, none of it. It’s all additional levels of complexity, unreliability and doubt which should only ever be risked if the solid, hard-wired cable option is absolutely impossible in that situation. Lesson over.

    Liked by 1 person

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