Technology is the Devil

I am now going to launch into a tirade of such magnificent splendor, all shall love me and despair.

If you hadn't guessed, I'm fairly tech savvy. I'm not saying I can hack the world wide webs, but I know my html, I can keep computers running long after they should be dead, and I can build/tear apart/Frankenstein nearly anything. I've been gaming since 1979 and on PCs since 1986 and online since 1995. I know how to run my wireless network. Hell, I even got my cell phone to do a few things it wasn't designed to do.

Unfortunately, none of this is out of some deep love for computers. In fact, I despise these loathsome machines the way Bedford T. Forrest despised anyone with a suntan: absolutely and with great rancor. However, here we are, living in the future. We waltz around with the Cray supercomputer in our pockets, ensuring our balls are microwaved to prevent future generations from having to deal with the horrific nightmare which is trying to make all this crap stay running.

That's where the problem is. When my network is running smoothly and my gaming ping is nice and low, everything is right in the world. Happiness is the emotion here. When I get full signal bars on my cell phone, and everyone is coming through nice and clear, again... happiness.

But you know what? The crap doesn't frackin work. Sure, it may work for a little while, or in little pockets of time, momentary fragments during which you'll try to cram as much into as possible. My cell phone hasn't had reception in 5 days. I live just north of a major metropolitan area in a highly populated state in the most prosperous nation in the world. My cell phone provider is one of the largest in said nation. And yet... no service for days on end, with no explanation or reasoning why.

And that, my dear friends, is the heart of the matter. In the last 15 years, we have seen an explosion in personal electronic gadgetry, tiny radioactive devices we shoehorn into our lives so we can... kill zombies with plants, I guess. Every day, technology grows exponentially. Imagine an iPhone in 2005. It would probably be grounds for being burnt at the stake as a witch. Now, not only is it a common sight, we are all expected to own either an iPhone, or one of the myriad "smart" phones the market has been completely clogged with. The cold, lifeless efface of soulless corporations like Apple try to cram as many gadgets and widgets into their little phone, some fairly thoughtful and useful (GPS), some downright useless to the point of being offensive (every app that isn't GPS). Meanwhile, one major factor has been completely overlooked:

In the rush, everyone forgot that this crap is all about as reliable as a sandcastle in Tunisia during a sandstorm. A fragile network of satellites and antennae around the globe (and by globe, I mean big cities in first world countries only) is all that stands between me and a complete contact blackout. That's not a big deal when it's just checking facebook, but when a cell phone is your ONLY phone, as it is for so very many of us these days? So now you've got a cell phone network, promulgating this myth that 4G is better than 3G because it's... yknow... one higher, when in reality they're both using the same network, same method of connection: antennae and satellites. If I were to call my parents back in Kentucky from out here in Washington (Washington ALLEGEDLY being a tech heavy state) on an old fashioned land line phone, guess what would happen? I'd talk to them, as though they were in the room practically. Sure I'm tethered to my home and it's immediate surroundings, but since all my time is spent on the DHO website, who cares? Now, let's make the same call using my 1 year old cell phone.

Oh... wait... I can't, no reception. Ok, well let's just pretend, shall we? I'm going to call across just shy of 3000 miles using the miracle of modern technology that should perform SO much better than my silly old landline. Except now, instead of talking to each other, we basically have to talk as though it was over a CB radio, the lag is so bad. There is sometimes upwards of a 2 second delay between me speaking and the words being received by my folks. And we are content with this, because they jingle keys in front of us, Zynga inspired non-games that we can download to our cell phones using our neat-o penis enhancing 4G networks, nevermind the fact that the PHONE element (which...yknow... is the POINT) is little more than a glorified walkie talkie at times. I don't want to start having to refer to my Dad as The Bandit and saying "Over" after every sentence, as much as he may enjoy it.

Well, "Ma Bell" has been the enemy of mankind for a century now, why should anything be any different now? Why indeed. So let's look back at the miracle of the webses. My internet provider charges me just shy of $70.00 a month for my high speed service. Considering that without my internets, I'd basically be emasculated, I happily pay. All I ask in return is the service. Thats it. Just do what you're supposed to do, take my money and give me what I'm paying for.

Sounds oh so simple, doesn't it? I can sometimes go as much as an entire week with service, which is great and wonderful and makes my nipples as hard as diamond studded codpieces. But then you know what? that bastard of a little greenish yellow light just winks out in the middle of harvesting my farmville crops. I'm offline. In 2011, that's a horrifying notion. Bing! the little connection light comes back on! Whew, crisis averted! let me just wrap up what I was doing and... light's out again.

and back on!

and out.

Around this point I'm regressing into a toddler, bashing my fists uncontrollably on the desk, as though it's a conspiracy of desks everywhere to prevent me from clicking "Like" on a status. I'm just trying to make my gaming clan laugh at a stupid joke, internet! Why won't you let me!?

Light's back on.


and back out.

Now I'm in full on rage. It's not a matter of counting to ten. I thirst for blood. My $70 a month goes from being little more than a tollbooth to being everything that is wrong with this planet and the horrific mutations that have evolved upon its surface to spread their diseased Dancing with the Stars references where once was only joy. So what do I do now?

The same thing I always do; swear off all technology, for all time. Well, that lasts about 3 seconds, just long enough to wish World of Tanks had an offline mode. But, I do decide to take a short break from all this "connectivity" and the wonders it brings. So I think "Well, I've been playing games since 1979! The internet has only been around since the end of the war of 1812 (James Madison famously emailing Lord Liverpool the first lolcat), so surely I should be able to play some NON-online games right? Let's fire up some Company of Heroes!

Let's indeed. So since I'm a modern man, my copy of Company of Heroes was downloaded via Steam. Because it's not complicated enough buying a computer, buying a game, buying a modem and router, hooking it all up, contacting an ISP to being taking away my money, I *ALSO* need another program to run interference. Fortunately, Steam has an offline mode. So I log in offline (wait...what?) and fire up some CoH. And wait. And wait. Then a big popup smears my screen like a sweaty teabag telling me I can't play my single player game offline because... because...

And there you have it. Nobody is making products anymore, they are making services. You can't buy a game, you have to subscribe to a game, hopefully for the rest of your life. As if all this wasn't bad enough, I need to have an internet connection capable of high speeds that is incapable of ever going offline even for a fraction of a second in order to enjoy all these wonderful miracles of modern technology. And every day a new miracle comes out, tantalizing you in the worst imaginable way, kinda like any episode of Epic Mealtime. But the infrastructure? you know, the behind the scenes boffins that keep all this up and running? how has that improved at all since my dial-up days? It's still a crapshoot if I'll connect, still a crapshoot that it'll be a full speed, still a crapshoot that a game or app will even LET me use it when not constantly connected to their demon servers, apparently located in The Third Ring of Hell.

While writing this, my little light has blinked out 3 more times, and as of this sentence, hasn't come back on, so hopefully the Gods of Comcast will deign to bless me with the fracking service I'm paying through the nose for. Ah, it just came back on while I was wondering how I could check the spelling of "deign" without actually owning a dictionary anymore and still being off-- oh crap the light went back out again. I'm not even kidding, as I was writing that, it... it's back on. Wasn't this how Freddy killed one of the teenagers in like Nightmare on Elm Street 4 or something? Or was that Freddie Got Fingered? (I don't care what you say, that movie is comic gold)

Fortunately, not all my hobbies require me to be glued to electricity. I paint miniatures, I'll just paint one and let the internet sort its own problems out. Hmm... oh damn, I didn't finish that youtube video of the wet-blending technique I was trying out. crap. Technology pervades our lives, for good or ill. All I wish is that a larger percentage of the trillions of dollars all these collective companies rake in hand over fist was spent on reinforcing an infrastructure to be more reliable and secure (secure as in wont fall down, security as in PSN security I doubt will ever happen)

I guess that's long enough. You get where I'm going with this. However, let me just add this. If you're REALLY tech savvy, and have some sort of excuse about the network or some minor fact that I got wrong ( the only thing I looked up was the name of the British prime minister during the War of 1812) just go ahead and keep that crap to yourself, I don't want to hear it, scab.


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