Saturday, March 03, 2007

No Visible Means of Support

Perhaps I watched way too much of The Jetsons as a child, but I always thought technology was supposed to make our lives more efficient. By now, we were all supposed to be zipping around in flying cars and leaving the drudgeries of life to the robot maid. Weren't we? I'm not the only one who feels ripped off: my friend Stephen has been known to grouse, "Where the hell is my hovercraft??" Where, indeed, Stephen... where, indeed. It's probably in some undisclosed government warehouse with my Replicator.

Instead of whipping up perfect casseroles with the touch of a button, I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time and psychic energy wrangling my technology...coaxing my browser to open Wikipedia without crashing, force-quitting out of applications that have inexplicably gotten their panties in a bunch, and praying that twackity-thwackity noise my computer is making isn't the death throes of my hard drive.

Email has become my bad boyfriend—he treats me like dirt, but I can't live without him. Unreliable, mercurial and insensitive to my mounting frustration and my longing for stability, that Email is one bad mutha-shutyomouth.

A spammer has filched my domain and has been using it to send prodigious amounts of crap to people all over the world. I know this because I get the blowback—automated "out-of-office" and "delivery denied" notices fill my inbox, along with an occasional note from a real (and really ticked off) person—usually in a foreign language, which makes any attempt at explanation on my part pointless.

This has been happening for several months, with no sign of letting up, and now my legitimate emails are beginning to hit walls of resistance, erected to keep spam-spewing scum like me out. It's a form of identity theft, and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it, short of retiring my domain name and starting over. My clever attempt to set up an alias so that I could get past the ramparts of one client's system resulted in me wiping out the contents of my Inbox and my Sent Mail file with one cavalier keystroke. Clearly, I am not as smart as the spammers, and that really chaps my ass.

Meanwhile, emails to me are being rejected by my own email provider, Speakeasy, for what appear to be entirely separate reasons...though I can't be certain they are separate, because the 12-year-old I spoke with in "tech support" won't stop playing World of Warcraft long enough to actually investigate an issue that isn't covered in his phone script.

Why do I always get those guys? You know them: new to the job (or any job, really) and trained only so much as handing someone a binder and pointing to a desk with a phone on it constitutes training. Unfamiliar with, and uninterested in, the technology they are charged with supporting, they seem to get paid to sound young and earnest as they consign your trouble ticket to the bit-bucket of obscurity.

So here I am, venting my frustration into the blogosphere, knowing no one will read it, knowing it will change nothing. I might as well stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon and shout my complaints into the chasm...but, hey, it feels good anyway.

Ain't technology grand?


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