The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

The Plug-in Society

Spring and I were talking about moving. Okay, so we are still in the throes of a move so it's not a conversation about moving from were we just moved. No, we were talking about moving in general and why it seems that so many people we know just up and move to a new location, usually far away from where they currently are.

Me, I'm having trouble moving less than five miles away, and here I have friends that have moved cross country, some more than once! Then there's the paternal side of my family—I have three aunts (Dad's sisters) that all live within two miles of the home they grew up in, and the youngest sister lived in the same house with her husband and two kids for fifteen years, so staying in one place seems to run in the family as it were.

Spring seems to think that most people (of our age, maybe a bit older) are of a “plug-in society,” which is a concept from John Brunner's book The Shockwave Rider (which incidently, is considered the first book in the cyberpunk genre of Science Fiction). Our culture is so homogenized that one can pick up and move from Seattle, Washington to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and not feel out of place. Even though Seattle and Ft. Lauderdale are over three thousand miles apart, they are very similar—similar stores, similar restaurants, similar weather.

Okay, so we don't have a billionaire software mogul living here in Lower Sheol, but we do have a billionaire garbage mogul with a taste in baseball teams and video store outlets in the form of Wayne Huizinga.

Okay, so maybe there is no difference there either.

It might very well be that since there is no difference between Seattle or Ft. Lauderdale or Los Angeles or Boston then does it really matter where one lives? Or perhaps it could be the perception that life would be better in New York or South Bend or Houston so why not give it a try since the three or four years we've been here has shown this city to be just another homogenized suburban sprawl or rural backwater town or faceless urban monster of a city. Or perhaps given the relative ease with which we can move gives rise to the “plug-in society.”

Or all the above.

Connectivity II

Since Rob called last time, this time it was my turn to listen to light jazz over the phone.

I call. I'm informed that for quality assurance this call might be monitored. I'm also informed that I'll be listening to the light jazz for twenty minutes while Technical Support busily ignores my call. So I wait.

Maybe fifteen minutes later I get Tech Rep #1. After getting the appropriate contact information Tech Rep #1 finally asks what the problem is.

“Yes, I just bought a new network card for my computer,” I said. “I think you setup is storing the MAC address of the old network card so I need for you to remove it and let me renew the DHCP lease with the new network card.”

“Okay, could you please repeat that again?”

Fifteen minutes and a dozen repeats of what I want done later, he gives me a case number and informs me that I'll be passed up the Tech Food Chain to Tech Rep #2. A few minutes of light jazz later, Tech Rep #2 picks up the phone. “What is your case number?”

I give Tech Rep #2 the case number and repeat the request. Twice. Then Tech Rep #2 has me rattle off the old MAC address. At this point, I'm pretending to be Rob, since his name is on the account, and I'm yelling at Rob to rattle off MAC addresses since the computers in question are in his room, and the phone is in my room. If Tech Rep #2 clued in to what was happening, Tech Rep #2 didn't say anything, which is a Good Thing. Then I have to rattle off the new MAC address. Reset the cable modem, grab a new IP address using DHCP and we're good to go.

Unfortunately, I think this means I'll be making the tech support calls from now on.

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