Yearning for a return to cyberspace

Published 8:41 am Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Once you get used to modern technology, it is really hard to live without it.

Living without is what I have been doing for the past week with no Internet connection. A computer is a handy gadget but without the Internet, it is like an ax without a handle; you can’t do much with it (as my father-in-law used to say). I can sit here and type and type and write all kinds of good stuff, but it isn’t much more than a glorified typewriter.

With any Internet problem, the first thing you have to do is get in touch with your Internet Service Provider, better known as ISP. Without an Internet connection, you have to call them on the telephone — which can mean a long wait with the phone hanging off your ear until you can get connected to one of their service representatives.

After you get somebody on the line and explain your problem, they might transfer you to someone else who specializes in that area. This can mean another wait on the telephone while you cool your heels and try not to start banging your head against the wall out of utter frustration, knowing you have other things to do with your time. Sometimes they are pretty fast, according to the time of day one calls.

The first service rep I had on the line soon decided my problem was that my modem had died and I needed a new one. The modem is the little gadget with flashing green lights that brings the Internet into your computer. So I ordered a new one from them —overnight delivery. By now I was really tired of being without e-mail and Facebook and all the perks associated with having Internet connection.

Right on time the next day I received the modem. I hooked it up just like the last one and it didn’t work. It has been a couple of years since I installed a modem, so I called them again and asked for help.

I spent one hour on the phone with the service rep who finally said we should take a break and she would call me back in about an hour. I was using my cell phone so I was glad for a chance to recharge. I was hoping she would also consult with somebody who could fix my problem. Hooking up a modem shouldn’t be like rocket science.

When she called back, we went back over the same procedures and it still didn’t work. Finally she said according to what they could see, I was receiving the Internet, but for some reason my computer wasn’t downloading it.

So I called my son, a computer network engineer who installed my computer and upgrades it when he is home, keeping me up to date. I told him what the service provider person told me. He talked me through several procedures and then advised me to call them back the next day, which was Saturday. Since the computer was working when the modem went out, it should be working with the new one.

“Wish I was there Mom,” he said. “I could probably fix it in about 10 minutes.” Unfortunately, he lives in south Louisiana and at the moment was in north Louisiana. Not close enough to fix my problem.

So bright and early Saturday I once again called and was quickly connected to a service rep who obviously knew what she was doing. She went through all kinds of other procedures, but nothing worked. She also thought it was my computer and advised that I hook a laptop to my modem and see if it would bring the Internet in. She said she would give me some time and then call back.

I don’t have a laptop, but my daughter brought hers to me, and guess what? It is set up for wireless. Mine isn’t. Too much technology for us! I can operate a computer pretty well, but it comes to un-connecting and reconnecting things, it gets a little out of my league.

So Monday afternoon, I sent my son a message on the phone saying, “Would you believe I still don’t have an Internet connection?”

I instantly got a call from him telling me that he was about finished with work for the day in New Orleans and would be on his way to our house to fix my computer. He came and true to what he told me, about 10 minutes later I had Internet access. Within a little while after receiving hugs and extreme thanks from his grateful mom, he was back on his way to the big city.

About 30 minutes after he left, my service rep called. I had to confess to her that it was indeed my computer. I couldn’t tell her much about the problem, as it was way above my technology-deprived brain.

Wow! Six days without the Internet! Thankfully, I’m back on the world’s technology wavelength.

It’s almost like being without electricity. You can live without it, but life is infinitely more worthwhile with it!

Retired Lifestyle Editor Bob Ann Breland, a resident of Pine, writes a weekly column and may be contacted at