“High Speed Broadband has arrived”, not in this pocket of County Durham it hasn’t. It may be all flash downloads and wall to wall Netflix a mile away in the village but in our own little notspot carrier pigeons were more reliable and considerably faster. Not for us a weekend binge of box sets and Sky on Demand. Estimated download time for a single film was over 10 hours. On a good day we could get 1 Mbps on a bad day it just ran out of juice.
When the bad days began to outnumber the good days and the only way we could send work to clients was to use a dongle and sit on the drive (under an umbrella if it was raining) we decided enough was enough and took our laptops to a coffee shop with decent wifi and did a bit of research. We are now the proud owners of a mastband internet connection. We can watch films, we can send work without sitting in the garden. We have joined the 21st Century.
However if you are still in the internet dark ages, these are a few things I learned.
- Nothing is on paper anymore. If you need to know what time your local Tesco Metro opens on a Sunday you are going to have to go out and stand outside until it opens and note down the time for next time.
- Telephone directories were quite useful not just as door stops but also, oddly enough, for looking up telephone numbers
- Social media has too many photographs. Photographs, videos and pictures take ages to download. My FB newsfeed had been visually redacted. Great blank squares all over it.
- If you haven’t recorded it you aren’t going to see it. Catch up tv services were not an option. “Listen again” was but a dream for us.
- Your children will fail all their exams. Or so they tell you. It is apparently completely impossible to revise for A-Levels without a functioning internet.
- Your children will have no social life. Or so they tell you. Unless they can sit in bed and watch Netflix with their friends they are social pariahs.
- You will spend a lot of time on the phone playing solitaire on your (unconnected) lap top listening to a recorded message saying “all our operators are busy at the moment but you can resolve your problem by going to our website.” Oh no I can’t.
- You can’t join in any conversations about online grocery shopping. See above about pictures and social media. Supermarket websites have even more pictures.
- You can’t answer those nagging little questions like “Who’s that actress on the left of the guy who used to be in Eastender?” or cheat on the Saturday general knowledge crossword by looking up the answer to “who invented the bunsen burner?” (Robert Bunsen btw).
- You cannot have more than one tab open on your browser and don’t even think about sending a file by email when somebody else is trying to download something on another laptop. Multitasking on line is a guaranteed way to bring the network to its knees.
But now, I can listen to the Archers podcasts. I have a Spotify account. I watched the first series of Fortitude in a box set binge and I have discovered there are pictures on Facebook – and a lot of them are of cats!
Love Gillie x