Outernet

Once in a while (ahem), I interject a note of caution regarding technology.  This blog has been part of my daily routine for over a dozen years.  I try to post every day.  When I experience life outside I often think “that would make a good blog post.”  I make notes.  I ruminate.  One of the things I caution about is the fragility of tech.  In order for me to post these thoughts many different components have to work just right.  Not only that, but if I want to pay bills, or, more importantly, work so that I can pay bills, I have to have internet.  Everyone in my family uses it and they do so all day long.  This weekend is the long anticipated Project for Awesome (check it out at projectforawesome.com) sponsored by the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green.  If the names are familiar it’s perhaps because I’ve read and commented on their books.  Then the internet went out.

Late on Friday afternoon, of course.  Now we’ve had outages before—most recently after a power outage earlier in the week.  I called what used to be RCN, the only service provider in our area, only to be on the phone for half an hour with a tech.  She talked me through the usual rebooting and system checks.  The router was fine, but the only actual connection to the internet is via wifi mediated by a device called Eero.  There’s no ethernet cable (as if Apple laptops even have ethernet ports any more!), no phone line plug-in (ditto), nothing.  Nothing but Eero.  Apparently Eero had died.  And being a weekend a masked tech can’t be sent until Sunday afternoon.  So Friday night with no Disney Plus and Saturday without the long-anticipated Project for Awesome (you really should check it out).

Then my wife noticed her phone could act as a wifi hotspot.  It felt like we were entering a new world of magic.  (And data bills.)  The laptop could covert the G4 that her iPhone could receive into wifi.  It wasn’t ideal, because we have three people who want to use the internet.  With old tech.  All because one component of RCN’s complex system has x’s for eyes.  We had to play Wordle through her phone.  Watch Project for Awesome (it supports charities!) through her phone.  I don’t know, maybe we are even breathing through her phone.  Once in a while I interject a note of caution regarding technology.  This blog post is brought to you by my wife’s phone, acting as an internet hotspot, before anyone else awakes this Saturday morning.

Ancient history!

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