Gigahertz And The Abacus

I’ve been shopping for a new modem. The tin cans and string we’re currently using simply aren’t fast enough anymore to keep up with our home data demands. I want my Darwin awards videos instantly. Anyway, I figure the prudent thing to do would be to check in with our current service provider and figure out what modems are on their “approved” list.

I asked the support person if they have a modem that supports 5 GHz wireless channels as well as the standard 2.4 GHz. That didn’t seem like a difficult question for someone who answers the support line for a telecommunications company. Her first reply was “The website has a list of modems”. I informed her that I knew that, but the list doesn’t include specs so I was trying to avoid spending hours individually looking up each modem and finding data sheets. Silence. Crickets. I asked her if, she didn’t know, could she possibly go ask someone else? After being on hold for long enough to write the next great American novel, she came back with one of the best technical answers I’ve heard. “Sir, our modems have speeds.” Uh, what? “I checked and they said all our modems have speeds.”

We’re doomed. Technology is advancing at a frightening rate. We rely upon complete connectedness and data infrastructure in every aspect of our daily lives. Unfortunately we’re busy creating a front-line service sector that probably has trouble operating the TV remote. This does not bode well for the future. Kids, do you have facial tattoos, ear gages, or a degree in art history? Then you’re a perfect fit for the exciting world of telecommunications technical support! No experience needed!

Which reminds me of a news item that came out this morning. Per testimony being given for Clinton scandal number 1,234 it turns out that the former Secretary of State did not have a computer in her office. Why? Because she did not know how to “do email” on a computer, only on her Blackberry. The head of a department that employed tens of thousands of people and had a budget of $65+ billion dollars can’t figure out how to “do email” on a computer? I’m flabbergasted that in today’s technology centric world such dinosaurs still exist. For gods sake, Facebook became uncool because it’s user base became 90% grandmothers and aging soccer moms. Its been a year or two since these new fangled computer things were invented. Claiming technological illiteracy no longer flies.

Why on earth would we keep putting people like this in charge? This is not an indictment memo(no pun intended) of Clinton – I’m sure there are swaths of pointy-haired managers across government with the same lack of qualifications. Could you imagine any corporate board today voting to hire a new CEO who isn’t capable of using an email program? I’m fairly certain the days of the abacus and having your secretary “take a memo” are over.

I’m starting to think it’s time to just unplug and enjoy the simpler things. A bike ride. Reading a book. But then I realize I’d miss watching crazy ass wingsuit flyers. And, at guaranteed ludicrous download speeds! (ludicrous speed is theoretical. your speed may vary. ludicrous speed only available with 8 year contract extension)

Colonel Sandurz: Prepare ship for light speed.
Dark Helmet: No, no, no, light speed is too slow.
Colonel Sandurz: Light speed, too slow?
Dark Helmet: Yes, we’re gonna have to go right to ludicrous speed.