FOR THE PROMPTLESS: BRAND – Charter (Name Brand) the Cloud

Promptless Branding

It started yesterday evening, but I didn’t get to really thinking about it until this morning. I got up a lot earlier than I needed to. My husband was trying to be quiet. But I’m a light sleeper and I heard him tiptoeing around the bedroom and realized I was hearing Heart and Soul in my head. Not a good sign.

I was humming it while pouring my coffee. It just kept looping until I wanted to scream at myself to shut up. I have an Energizer Bunny (brand name) brain that keeps going and going and going.

Philco Clock Radio CD

When My Brain is unhappy it wants me to hum. My mother hummed constantly, probably for the same reason I do. It’s calming. I do it when I’m worried, even when I’m angry. I don’t choose the song; it chooses itself. Apparently humming inane tunes calms the Brain while annoying me. Never mind. Anything to make Brain happy.

The problem? A series of events starting when, a few minutes after midnight, Charter Communications (brand name) went down. Charter (brand name) is a wretched organization. It controls our lives by controlling our connectivity including the telephone and TV. It has an unbreakable monopoly in our area, a position it uses to charge exorbitant prices while doing a genuinely inept job and providing horrible service.

Charter’s (brand name) signal has been erratic for at least a week, but now, it was gone. No Internet. No telephone. Barely television. I heaved a sigh. After expelling three small dogs and a collie from my lap I stood up, groaned to let the world know how much I suffer (I don’t believe in silent suffering). And went to reboot The Modem, hub of my universe.


I rebooted. Which is to say I unplugged it, counted, plugged it back in and waited for the lights to come on. For the magic to happen. The lights flickered then faded. So I did it again, counting longer and a bit slower while unplugging and replugging the router too.

Same result. I looked around for something else to do. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything. I didn’t know if the problem was hardware or Charter (brand name) or some bizarre issue I hadn’t yet thought of. The router and modem are both Cisco (brand name) and not old. Until now, totally dependable.

When things go wrong with techno stuff, I have Dark Thoughts. I know too much but not enough. If the modem won’t reboot, is it dead? How long will it take to get a new one? Installed? Dark Thoughts indeed.

To prove I had not failed in my duty as 24/7 tech support for the household’s 12 computers (five people, 12 computers including three tablets but not counting iPods (brand name), iPhones (brand name) and other small WiFi-based devices such as the Roku (brand name). I turned off all the computers on this floor (seven) and then tried rebooting the modem again. Because amidst the many messages telling me to reboot the modem, I’d gotten one that said two computers were trying to use the same IP address and I should talk to the administrator (me). I figured if I rebooted all the computers, they’d do whatever it is they do and that would take care of the IP problem, if indeed there was one (there wasn’t).

Panic. Fear. Trembling. I starting humming loudly. Heart and Soul. Heart and Soul. I fell in love with you. Heart and Soul.


I do not panic quickly or easily. There are two things on earth which do it to me. Finding a spider in my bed and losing my WiFi connection. Otherwise, I’m pretty level-headed. I have put out fires including putting out a friend in flames. I have dealt with a husband having a heart attack and a child having a seizure without panicking. But losing WiFi? Irrational, frantic, don’t-talk-to-me-I’m-a-crazy-person panic.

I figured I ought to call Charter (brand name), except how could I get their telephone number without the computer? Then I thought I might have it in the address book of my iPhone (brand name). Which made me wonder when I’d last charged the phone (last week?). Where is the phone? I couldn’t do what I usually do and call it from the house phone because we didn’t have a house phone. No cable. No modem. No signal.

I found the phone, remarkably enough right where it belonged. Hmm. Imagine that. I plugged it into life support (electricity) and called Charter (brand name). I hate calling Charter (brand name). I hate Charter’s (brand name) so-called customer service. I know everyone hates their cable company but that’s not comforting. The whole “misery loves company” thing eludes me. Miserable company doesn’t make me happier. It just reminds me I’m miserable.

I called Charter (brand name).

After I got through the robot wall of prompts (press 1 or 2 or 7 or 9 or STAR to do what?) and finally got a person by shouting “AGENT, AGENT, AGENT” into the handset until the robot said “Oh FINE, I’ll connect you with an agent.”

And the agent said “Oh, yes, uh huh. There’s an outage. A big one. Your whole area is out.”

She didn’t seem to find this alarming. She had no idea how long it will take to fix. I found that alarming. “Would you like us to call you with updates?”

I said my phone was out and all I had was a cell phone. She offered to call my cell phone. I said sure, why not because by then, everything would be fixed and who would care anyhow? She said “Have a nice evening and thank you for using Charter Communications (brand name).”

I was humming Heart and Soul very loudly and rocking.

I gave up and went to bed. I couldn’t read the book I wanted on my Kindle (brand name) because it’s somewhere in Amazon’s (brand name) cloud. I can’t get it delivered without WiFi. It got me thinking (again) about abandoning internal and external hard drives in favor of putting everything in The Mythical Cloud. How dangerous and stupid it is. BECAUSE THERE IS NO CLOUD.

There are just lots of huge servers all over the world storing your data. When we put our stuff and our faith in “the cloud,” we are actually handing our stuff over to corporate servers. You and me and everyone else will be at the mercy of whoever owns the servers. How honest are they or their employees? How safe is your data? Who manages the servers? And where are they? Pakistan? Russia? Kyrgyzstan? China? Anyone can run a server farm anywhere without any kind of license. You just need a climate controlled space and equipment.

After we’ve given up control of our files, photos, music, books and videos, we need a high-speed data line and we need it all the time. If you think you are dependent on the company which provides your connectivity now, after you are locked into The Cloud, that dependency rises to a whole new level. Too high for me.

Still feel like trusting everything to the Cloud? It’s a scam and we’re buying it. As soon as enough of us are in their clutches, the “free cloud storage” won’t be free. Worse, the big brand software companies — Adobe (brand name) Microsoft (brand name) and many more — are already refusing to sell their products outright. We will have to rent from them and it isn’t cheap. How does $49/month for Photoshop (brand name) sound to you? Sounds like a big piece of my fixed income to me.

We won’t own anything, not our files, software, nothing. In addition to the mega-bill we already pay for cable or other high-speed service, we’ll pay a monthly fee for each piece of software. Our cost of living will keep going up, but not our incomes.

Remember, you heard it here on Serendipity (brand name).


Categories: Blogging, Computers, Economics, Media, Money, Photography, Software, Technology

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

17 replies

  1. Haha! Wi-fi loss sends me into a panic, too. Dave and I are firmly un-clouded, and we’re not moving our feet from this floor till someone pries us away. It surprises people because we’re such techies, and because we’re young– but it’s BECAUSE we’re techies that we’re so reluctant to give away all of our tech power/control. The cloud is silly, plain and simple. Loved the topic, and the way you integrated brands, haha! 🙂


    • Thanks! I think the “cloud” is a complete swindle. I can’t believe so many people are really buying into it. People can be SO gullible. And lazy. Folks just love not worrying about backing stuff up. The mythical cloud is easy, so they believe. I’m not handing off my data. More problematic is the “rental software.” Adobe’s already said this is the last version of Photoshop they will sell on DVD. If they don’t back off, it’s going to be hard on we who need it but will never rent it. I can’t believe they are getting away with it!


      • People just aren’t thinking it out, or thinking at all. The number of times I’ve shown people how easily I can hack their phones from my phone is ridiculous. Of course, I have no interest in their phones, but there are people who are dedicated to lives of crime who would love to know that all your data is sitting on a server that you have no control of. Of course, outright criminals are the least of our worries, because any good capitalistic company is going to take advantage of people’s desire to have empty computers that don’t require backing up… and they’re going to charge for it and try to make it the standard version. And yep, some of us won’t be renting, even at the cost of our own work!


        • Nice to talk to someone who gets it. I get the same responses from otherwise intelligent people. It totally boggles my mind. How come they don’t see what is going to happen if they hand all their stuff to these cyber pirates?


  2. I’m thinking of trashing the whole lot of technology — anything that requires a plug — and spending my days rocking on my front porch with a book in hand, one with paper pages. I may have to go on a spending spree at a bookstore however, and start hoarding the genuine article in my basement before all the brick and mortar stores go out of business.

    I did succumb to the cloud for a few things, but not many. I still believe in CDs, DVDs, and external hard drives.


    • I don’t have a problem with digital books begin as I have such overstuffed bookcases that paper books are no longer a realistic choice for most reading. But I want to have even my digital books downloaded to one of my computers where I can get to them, not off on a server somewhere. That’s not always practical … especially for audiobooks. They are just too big and would eat more than one hard drive, but I my personal stuff — files, documents, manuscripts, videos, photographs (of which I have a LOT) lives only on one (or more) of my drives. I just got another external so I can backup my laptop. Maybe I’m paranoid about it, but I know too many people who have had entire accounts vanish. Poof. Gone. It’s not supposed to happen, but it does.


  3. Hahahahaha. Suffering silently is for the neurotic. More laughter, then, “…I have Dark Thoughts. I know too much but not enough.” More laughter. This is what I needed today. Thank you.
    Patti (not a brand name)



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