Posts Tagged ‘tech’

Hating IT

By Corby Anderson

I am being methodically, malevolently denuded of an already depleted mental capacity by a wireless Internet system that taunts me mercilessly and evades capture on a regular basis.

If I could afford the monthly expense (which is to say if I avoided eating, fueling my vehicle, drinking, etc.), I would gladly pay for my own dedicated Internet line to avoid this maddening, odd circumstance that I find myself in – trying to marathon-watch the fourth season of Breaking Bad on Netflix on my shit-hot new iMac via a poached wireless connection that seems to vanish every time Brother Hank the Narc appears on screen.

“IT” – the  appropriately creepy name that the gracious stewards of the ranch that I live on have given their weak-ass wireless signal – wafts in like a mirthful, rotten ghost. IT appears in my available networks list in full-bar force, only to vanish when I wearily discover IT’s renewed presence and attempt to engage in a renewed viewing of a show that I can never seem to catch up on.

Hello, big fella! I’m here! USE ME! IT howls, only to dissipate into a cloud of nothingness, leaving me with a red, spinning wheel of Netflixian frustration to ponder. I curse. I reload. I back the stream up a few seconds. I close programs. I holler. I whimper. I consume more than the recommended daily intake of alcohol (but that may indeed be unrelated.) I plead for technical mercy. I do everything in my limited internetworking experience to cajole IT into action. But like Charlie Brown lining up for a field goal attempt, my efforts end up with me foiled yet again, lying on my back and staring at space.

If the wire-free Internet weren’t invisible, matter-less, and everywhere at once (or, mostly not) I’d stab IT in the groin with a rusty butter knife.

This weekend, as I was setting up the new computer – my long-awaited, first –ever personally purchased machine that I saved every nickel for over the past few months, I went out and bought a wireless range extender – some cockamamie device that is supposed to boost the area’s available wireless signals. Then I spent an hour on tech support with some Linksys agent who prefaced each instruction with “kindly please.”

Predictably, this brain-numbing programming effort worked for a total of about 30 minutes, during which IT appeared on my list of available wireless signals. Approaching cautiously, expecting the virtual football to be yanked once more, I clicked around the link in every direction. IT hung around, all four bars gleaming invitingly into the distrustful rods and cones of my jilted eyes. Finally, feeling like something Technically Important had occurred, I clicked IT.

Then, as if life had always been this simple, the Internet fired right up. Netflix launched into the episode I had previously watched in five-second spurts with dazzling speed.  The extension had WORKED! IT was compliant. I had broken IT’s rebellious spirit.

“Thank the Lord! Or Steve Jobs, or whoever is running the weird spectacle that we all bumble through, because we’ve got high speed connectivity!” I yelled silently. (Better to not to wake the wife. She avoids computers with Luddite passion, reads books and falls asleep at a normal hour.)

I’ve never been a fan of the term “it goes without saying,” mostly because it is generally always followed with a direct contradiction, but in this case it really does go without saying just how important the Net is in our lives these days. Hardly a single job, task, event, duty, hobby, or responsibility can be accomplished without some necessary component of Internet.

And now, thanks to my impressive technical support dialing skills, I had accomplished total, harmonious internetical SYNC with the neighbors’ Internet signal. IT has personally approved of my equipment choices and invited me into IT’s world. Good ol’ Hank was back on his feet again, shaking off an assassin’s bullet to his spine.

In the immortal words of Gilby, the freckled kid from Guam who tormented me in the street games of my youth: “NOTTTTT!”

Just as easily as IT had come, IT went, taking my spirit with IT. Then IT appeared again. Oh Hi! Ca-lick. Then, gonzo…

Brutal, pervasive frustration reigns. Remember dial up? No? Here, let me remind you.


IT makes that crazy-making dialup “speed” of yore seem like a live HD shot from Mars.

I would tether the fucker to my phone, but I learned THAT harsh lesson a few months back, when in a fit of ignorance, perhaps exacerbated by an extended homebound flu, I decided to see what the Personal Hotspot function of my new cell phone was all about by watching the entire show run of The Wire, back to back to back to ohmygodwhatisthis$500billfromAT&fuckingT?

Did I mention that this connectivitease happens only when Hank the Narc is on screen? Isn’t that ODD? What sort of superfreaky juju does THAT character have over me? And why has IT channeled Hank the Narc into my own personal Lucy? Am I supposed to skip those scenes? Is there something GOING ON here? Is the entire internet possessed by some sort of paranoid Meth-crazed jokester?

Or is it just me? Can someone Kindly Please email me an answer? Better yet, mail IT.

*This story originally appeared in the Oct. 2012 release of the literary journal The Flip Collective. 


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August 29, 2011

Steve Jobs
Chairman of the Board
Apple Computer Inc
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014


Congratulations, such as it is, on your recent retirement from your veritable position as the Main Brain behind Apple. The accomplishments of Apple Computers under your heady stead are bogglingly numerous, monumental, and, perhaps most important, beneficial to humanity for generations to come. You moved us forward, kicking and screaming at times, but onward toward that great maw of science fiction that we now see as our reality.

I sincerely hope that your retirement is more for your own peace of mind and to more keenly (if possible) focus and facilitate your creative process than it is for health related reasons, as has been speculated. In either case, and speaking for my brethren in human skin, whom even the nastiest of Regressives would have to agree, we wish you many great and thoughtful days ahead.

I write to you out of a gnawing and mounting sense of personal frustration. I have been an avid user of Apple products for years, both professionally and personally. The first keyboard that I ever drooled upon was a Macintosh. I wrote my first love letter on an Apple 2. If my skills of perverse persuasion had been anywhere as effective back then as the machine which manifested the delivery of my deepest teenage desires, it is a certainty that I would have had a much more satisfied high school existence. A transplanted North Californian at the ripe age of 8, in 1980, I literally grew up with Apple as my tangible image of good business, and yourself cast in the role of our technical Moses. As a professional video producer and writer, your inventions and subsequent products have made my career (such as it is) more user friendly, creative, and portable. Until recently, that is.

Despite my best efforts to lead a clean life, with steady piles of veges and fruits, I am unfortunately enduring some sort of rotten Apple syndrome of late. I must have acquired some sort of reverse-Midas touch to have tapped into such awful technical juju, but I can currently count at least six key components to my personal and professional life as deader than Al Davis’ facial nerves.

Every single high end digital device that I own with an Apple serial code tattooed on its cool, contoured underbelly is currently miserably, haplessly, and (to me) tragically broken. The little green lights that have warmed me with their constant, productivity-promising presence for all of these years have all gone terribly dim. No workie workie.  None of it. Not my constant companion – my Macbook Pro, my glorious iPhone, my iPods, slim white keyboard, or even the moderately form-fitting SuperMouse. It’s all broken. And damn it all to hell, Steve, I need all of this great shit to work.

“Get it fixed, dude” you might well say. “We’ve got great techs, stores FULL of them, in fact.” All well and good, unless you are living check to check, indeed, job to job as I have been since the bottom dropped out in 2008.  I’ve paid twice now to have the bastard motherboard of my professional central nervous system – my Mac Book Pro repaired. It’s the heat, they tell me. Metaphorically, I like to think that the battery can’t handle the intense fire that my creativity produces, or some such. In truth, the beast was maldesigned to handle the regular work of a modern multimedia professional. There aren’t enough fans, apparently. Ironic, in that you could say the same about my efforts as a writer. Nor is there any income to repair my basket full of bruised Apples.

I have now had three such failures in the past year, and each time it has crippled my productivity to the point of inviting the slothful dogs of sustained poverty directly into my cabin office. My second iPhone (the first one was stolen from the Monterey Rec Center. We tracked the thieves via Mobile Me until they wiped the phone and replaced my contacts with a series of Nortenos gang symbols before my very eyes) stopped working when a truly embarrassingly small amount of water touched the screen. That was months ago. Though urged not to by your support people, I performed delicate neurosurgery to the bloody thing in the glum light of my neighbors tack shed and somehow gave it a new battery, as recommended on the boards, but no avail. I still wound up stuck perpetuitously in some godforsaken logo loop. The iPods all died separately in consecutive Februaries. My wife refuses to buy anything with an Apple tag for Christmas anymore because of it. She thinks that we are jinxed or cursed, as if there is a difference.

I write to you because I am beyond wits end. I can’t even see a trace of wit from here. It is possible that you might be both the only person who cares to help a working schmuck like me, and simultaneously do something positive for our economy right now. It’s an easy proposition, Steve:  Fix my shit, and you fix America. My livelihood depends on this pile of gorgeous garbage working properly. Without it, I simply cannot do my job, nee cannot even look for a job, and thus in time I wind up back on the streets alongside the millions of other workless fools. America needs jobs like Michelle Bachmann needs Jesus H. Christmas himself to stump for her doomed campaign of brain dead logic and civil indifference.  And of all things, I’d think that you’d be interested in that. They don’t call you Mr. Jobs fer nothing, do they?

I’ll end with a quote that seems applicable, while admitting that I have no bleeding clue who the author is. Seems like a right minded chap, eh?
“Fix your eyes on perfection and you make almost everything speed towards it.”
-William Elery Channing


Corby Anderson
0300 Vagneur Lane
Cabin A
Basalt, CO

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