This morning, I was lying in bed and playing music I enjoy. I was thinking about writing a post about “cheerful music.” This is the music that even on a really rotten day cheers me up. I listened to half a dozen songs, then got dressed and got up, which is also when I realized that Alexa was not working. Odd. She was working just a few minutes ago. Now, she won’t turn the lights on or off — or play music.
I rebooted the router and modem several times. The computers started working. The Wi-Fi phone turned on, but Alexa would not connect to its music service — or control the lights. These are the only two things for which we use it. This was the exact problem I hoped to avoid, but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, technology creeps into your life through the front, side, or back doors. .
Connectivity issues lurk.
I texted Owen and he said, “Maybe it’s them, not us.” I tried all the Alexa control thingies on the phone, on my Kindle and the computer. The computer said I should call customer service. They said it was a “service error.” What’s a service error?
I tried the chat line, but after an initial robotic connection, the promised human never arrived. I tried the phone and after waiting 22 minutes, the phone didn’t ring. Instead, I got a message saying Amazon was “updating their service area.” Oh, really?
Owen was right. It’s not us. It’s them.
We are not as dependent on Alexa devices as some people are. We have four Echoes and its management software is on every computer, the phone, and my Kindle. None of which was the least bit useful. In the end, if the company that provides a service isn’t providing it, nothing you do it will make it work.
Which leaves me with a worry that’s hard to ignore. We and everyone else are dependent on Wi-Fi for so many things. It’s no longer an “extra” service. It’s basic, right up there with electricity. There are so many things you can only do via computer — like renewing your driver’s license or registration, writing a blog, processing photographs. It’s all accomplished online.
I didn’t want to use Photoshop online, but I ended up using it anyway because I ran out of other options. Worse, we have an unstable ISP that manages to be difficult to use and vert expensive. Your basic double whammy.
I didn’t want to be entirely dependent on Wi-Fi but at a certain point, you don’t have a choice. While I’m sure there are more dependable services than Charter – Spectrum, even the most dependable ISP will fail. A squirrel chews through a wire or a branch falls on a cable. A transformer blows up. Something, somewhere malfunctions and down goes the Wi-Fi in your town and maybe your state. Not only can it happen, it happens. Regularly. Every day. Here, there, and in your village.
Worse? I don’t see any currently available alternative. We are going to need to do a lot of building and rebuilding in the future, assuming we have a future. We are stuck with Spectrum/Charter because our town made a deal with that particular ISP. But even if they’d made a deal with a more dependable service provider, there’s no guarantee it would survive our weather or the munching squirrels.
FLASH FLASH! AMAZON IS DOWN. AMAZON WEB SERVICES, THE CURRENT BACKBONE OF THE INTERNET, HAS CRASHED.
Hacked? Worse? That’s probably why everything else went down too. Sometime between 11:30 AM and 1 PM, the systems crashed.
Tune in tomorrow — if you still have Wi-Fi.