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Monday, 8 January 2018

The Tubes Are Full

(Please note that Poetry Monday is on hiatus with Diane somewhere in the sunny south! Regular programming may or may not resume at some point; it's unclear at the moment. In the meantime, feel free to leave your poem, on a topic of your choice, in the comments here. Or you may leave your address in the comments with a note that we can find your poem on your blog.)


Dear Fellow Internet Users,

For almost two weeks, the Donkey House computer has been experiencing frequent slowdowns, often to the point of complete stoppage. I am becoming all too familiar with the following critter:


What IS that critter, anyway? Is it meant to look like something in current popular culture?? I get that it's holding a map, but WHAT IS THAT CRITTER SUPPOSED TO BE??

Here it is, up close. I still don't know what it is, no matter how big it gets.



At first, I used all the well-known, non-techie manoeuvres: clicking the mouse button over and over, clicking the mouse button a little (or a lot) harder than necessary, clicking the mouse button as quickly as possible, clicking the mouse button as slowly as possible, staring at the screen, giving the screen the side-eye, pretending not to watch the screen at all, swearing at the computer, apologizing to the computer, pretending I didn't care, etc., etc., but not a single one of those things worked consistently.

So I moved on to actual thinking and troubleshooting.

Maybe our computer had a virus. After all, it is flu season in the northern hemisphere. A virus scan showed that two Trojan horses had indeed tried to infiltrate our computer. However, they had been contained by the anti-virus program and we were able to eliminate them. And because they had been contained, they should not really have been the source of the issue at all.

Next, I reset our modem, because I've been told it needs to be done now and then if there seems to be a problem connecting to the internet. I don't know all the technicalities, I just know that it means a trip to the basement, unplugging some stuff and plugging the same stuff back in, and it might or might not improve things, depending. Depending on what? I have no idea.

I reset that thing at least ten times. I didn't keep an actual count, but I can assure you that ten is a conservative estimate. At twelve stair steps per one-way trip, it was a pretty good workout, especially for a bum knee.

Nothing helped. Our internet connection was non-existent at this point. I know this because the little icon at the bottom of the screen that shows the four bars when we have a good connection was now showing a yellow exclamation mark instead. Sometimes it shows a red X which means the same thing, and I don't know why it's one way sometimes and the other way other times, but it is, and I've learned to be comfortable with partial knowledge, as long as it eventually turns back into four bars of magical connection.

So at the point where there was zero connection, I had a nap.

And when I woke up, the internet was fine. It was more normal than it had been in ages, in terms of speed and connectivity. For a few hours I thought perhaps resetting the modem had worked, but with a time lag.

Hah.

The next morning, it was back to being slow loading pages, or refusing to load them at all. I don't know anymore if it's a connectivity issue or a loading issue, or if there's any difference between the two. AND I DON'T CARE. (Pretending not to care again.)

The only theory I have left is that the tubes must be full. You know, those "the internet is a series of tubes" tubes. For anyone who has not heard of this meme, it is part of a statement made in 2006 by former Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens when he was criticizing an amendment to a bill; the amendment essentially supported net neutrality but the late Senator didn't believe it was a good thing. You can read more at this Wikipedia entry.

Here is the excerpt from his speech which contains the "series of tubes" comment:

"Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got… an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially. 

"[…] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."
 
It's 2018. Clearly the tubes are now filled.

With "enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."


I've always pictured the internet tubes like this:

Large, sparkly, and unfillable

But it is becoming painfully clear that the internet tubes are more like this:

That's right. Skinny, blue, and no capacity at all.

The truth is such a disappointment.

So, Fine People of the Internet, I must ask you to stop filling the internets with "enormous amounts of material" in order that the rest of us can get on once in a while.


Thanking you in advance,

The Donkey
XOXOXO


Both internet interpretations are provided by Pixabay, as usual. Thank you, Pixabay; you always know just what's in my head and have a picture for it.


43 comments:

Red said...

Hilarious! I think I see myself in this post as I've done some of these things with the same result. Now I know to empty a few things like the browsing history.

Elephant's Child said...

Sigh.
Have you noticed a time when the internet is less cluttered and prepared to play nicely? I am wondering whether your ISP knows something (which it may or may not be prepared to share).

kylie said...

Our internet gets dodgy when it rains or when it's too hot or when it's cold or when we have rice for dinner or blow our noses too hard.
I guess the tubes don't like rice

River said...

I get the same message, but not the map reading dinosaur. Usually at times of increased usage such as when businesses are opening or closing for the day and when school kids get home and log on, also around Easter Christmas, New Year and when the schools go back for some reason. I've learned to just shut down and read a book or wash floors or something for a couple of hours.

LL Cool Joe said...

I'm never seen that critter before but it seems to carrying a map? Why and where's he heading? Down the tubes? Maybe it's his job to unblock your tubes? Sounds painful, and I wish you luck.

Geo. said...

Excellent post, Jenny. Over the years I've had more trouble with the internet than there can be with with the internet. I figure it's commercialization vying with criminal malware slowing everything down to where it won't compete with the post office --or is it the other way 'round? I don't know. I'm just an old retiree on a fixed income and my identity has only been stolen twice. What was the question again?

baili said...

How strange that i been facing same over and over with the break of time and thought may be my 8 year old laptop is about to say his Last goodbye.

either i thought same way about the INTERNET like endless world where we all can float until we want but how sad that it was just an illusion dear Jenny and you removed it so badly (sorry i am hurt :( )

i wish and pray that your back is getting better and better with each day and you are living your day with complete joy and peace my friend ,Hugs!!!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I was going to download a movie today, but not wanting to cause you any more grief, I will read a book.

Have you contacted your internet provider? We had similar problems and they found the problem in the buried cables a few houses away from from us.

only slightly confused said...

That little critter looks like a virus to me lol. I always think of the internet as a black hole......I have noticed that if there is strong wind our internet is hopeless. Also, we have a lot of squirrels in this neighbourhood and every once in a while the wires get chewed through so..consequently...internet trouble. What a pain.

Marie Smith said...

Lol. Our connections is slowed to a snail’s pace too. Just supports the good senator’s contention!

Joanne Noragon said...

My internet tubes are frozen this morning. I wonder if it's because I brought up Netflix.

Steve Reed said...

I think the "critter" is the Mozilla dinosaur, the mascot of Mozilla, the company that developed the Firefox web browser. I'm basing that on the dinosaur-like tail, but I would agree that it is a very indistinct critter! And yes, it seems to be holding a map.

We have terrible problems with our internet connectivity too -- and like yours it seems very sporadic. We especially have problems on Friday and Saturday nights, it seems, when (my theory) all our neighbors are streaming movies. So maybe Ted Stevens WAS right about that "series of tubes" thing! (I always thought George W. Bush said that, but I guess not...)

Chickens Consigliere said...

If Barney the Dinosaur and a hippo had a baby, it would look like that playful creature. Regarding the internet, call your provider and complain. Can't hurt. I've heard that during prime times, when there are many users, it slows down. Now I picture the tubes like a subway system and Ted Stevens like a moron, probably the same one who is trying to dump enormous amounts of material into the tubes.

Jono said...

Call your Internet Service Provider and complain. It probably won't change anything, but you might feel better. Tubes? Seriously? Ted Stevens was definitely not the sharpest quill on the porcupine, was he? And the creature is probably an artist's rendering of an alien from a different dimension. I wonder what Stevens would have called it?

jenny_o said...

I could try that; at least it's something I know how to do!

jenny_o said...

It seems random to me, but as the comments after yours show, the most mentioned solution involves talking to our ISP. I am loathe to do that because of the time it will undoubtedly take, starting with "is your computer plugged in" and ending with "we can fix this problem by running fibre optic cable like we wanted to do five years ago and now we'll charge you twice as much too" ... but eventually that might have to happen :)

jenny_o said...

I'm kind of glad it's not just us, but I don't like other people to be suffering too! And rice IS pretty sticky, at least the way I make it :)

jenny_o said...

I'm THIS CLOSE to the desperation required to wash floors, River! lol

And I think the critter belongs to Firefox because I just get the plain message when I use Internet Explorer (I usually use Firefox). See Steve's comment below. Nice call on the dinosaur!

jenny_o said...

Oh, it's painful all right, but not in the way you're implying!! Yes, that appears to be a map, signifying - I guess - that he's trying to locate the place I'm asking for. Maybe he needs a better map. Maybe he needs to Google-map the darn thing.

jenny_o said...

You have a good point, there, Geo., and it makes me think Mr. Stevens had a point, too. I'm not sure overturning net neutrality will benefit the little guys like us, though - unless we're willing to pay dearly.

I still shudder when you talk about your identity being stolen. Twice. Shudder.

jenny_o said...

I am so sorry to destroy the illusion of endless internet but the truth must be told, baili! lol

I hope your laptop has a long life and many years to go before saying goodbye :)

Thank you for your good wishes - I wish you restored health as well, my friend!

jenny_o said...

Thank you for your sacrifice, Arleen; now that is the action of a true friend :) Others here are suggesting I call our internet provider, but until I have time to deal with the inevitable hours of problem-solving resulting from that call (see my reply to Elephant's Child above) I'm trying to avoid it :)

jenny_o said...

That photo was actually labelled "wormhole" on Pixabay, and black hole is not so different, is it?? I'm not a scientist so I'm not sure about that. I would think that we would have telephone troubles if it was a problem with the wires, because we get our internet from our telephone provider. Again, I'm not sure about that . . .

jenny_o said...

I'm starting to think that everyone is having the same problem, and, yes, it does support the series of tubes theory!! We need more tubes if that's the case :)

jenny_o said...

Oh, ouch - that sounds like a possibility and not in a good way ... hope you can get it sorted out with a minimum of mind-numbing conversations, Joanne :)

jenny_o said...

Yes, I'm using Firefox and that creature seems to be the creation of that browser. I thought Bush said that, too, until I went looking. As much ridicule as Stevens has gotten for that attempt to explain how the internet works (and it wasn't a bad visual, if you ask me), I still don't like the idea of overturning net neutrality like they are doing in the U.S. Apparently the biggest fear is that providers will restrict freedom of access to buyers as cable companies do now with their services. Freedom of access will be a thing of the past.

jenny_o said...

Hah! It did remind me of Barney, to be honest! I never thought Barney would do that, though . . . ahem. Calling my internet provider will definitely hurt -- my brain cells, my free time and probably my wallet!! My husband keeps telling me it's just the extra users on at holiday time, but, darn it, the holidays are over :)

jenny_o said...

See my answers to Elephant's Child and Chicken, above, re calling my ISP :) But I might have to do that eventually anyway. Blech. I think Stevens was trying to get his point across in a way the average person could understand it, but he probably lived long enough to regret trying.

dinthebeast said...

We had AT&T at the foundry, briefly, and the internet was really slow in the mornings. That was on my old computer, so I blamed it on that, but when we lost the wired AT&T and I had to use Sara's Verizon MiFi again, it sped right back up.
The internet is a series of tubes full of cats, so I blame it on the cats:

http://cheezburger.com/5707001344/the-internet

-Doug in Oakland

37paddington said...

these interwebs are all very mysterious. i mean, what the heck is the cloud? i believe everything gets lost there.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Your post makes me grateful that we enjoy excellent internet connectivity. I came to this blogpost hoping to find another poetry challenge but instead I am witness to your internet breakdown. I advise you to lie down in a dark room and breathe slowly.

John M said...

I have my internet and TV over the same X-infinity cable. The internet usually works fine but the TV makes me go through a strange routine sometimes.
A message comes on the screen asking me to unplug the TV, wait ten seconds then plug it back in. I have to watch as the TV -SLOWLY- runs though some sort of cycle, sometimes with small spinning colorful circles.
Sometimes it works. At other times I call the cable company and talk with a robot voice that asks if it can send a signal to my TV to try and reactivate it. I have to wait ten minutes with the TV on. It worked the last time I tried it.
If it didn't I would be forced to talk to a human! Frightening I know but someday it may come to that.

jenny_o said...

Ha ha! I love it. In hindsight, it should have been obvious that cats had something to do with the clogged internet :)

jenny_o said...

Well, it's probably hard for everything to see to navigate through all the cotton batting that's used to make the cloud. That would be my thoughts on the cloud. My ONLY thoughts. And not very coherent.

jenny_o said...

You are in the lucky minority, I think, YP.

Diane, our fearless poetry leader, is away on vacation at the moment. I should have added that to my post. If I can stay connected long enough, I will do so now. You may write a poem of your choosing and put it here in the comments if you'd like. If you need a topic, I suggest "irony" or "sarcasm" or perhaps just "humour"!

jenny_o said...

Good heavens, that doesn't sound very convenient, especially if you're trying to watch a program in real time! It sounds like the TV is resetting itself when you are asked to unplug it and then plug it back in.

Really, talking to a human is half the reason I don't want to call our internet provider!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Those topics don't seem to suit my dour, humourless and straightforward personality Jenny. I will wait for Diane to return with some new poetry themes... or I might write a poem about somewhere I have never been - Nova Scotia. I like the sound of those two words. Sounds like a faraway galaxy.

jenny_o said...

Latin names will do that every time! I look forward to whatever you write.

I think.

The Happy Whisk said...

I notice that it's taken me longer to publish comments but I'm only having this slow-down on blogger.

jenny_o said...

That's interesting. Mine is everywhere. I'm not sure which is better/worse :)

Diane Henders said...

I'm not even going to say anything about the senator's speech, because I always try to be polite when I'm commenting on other people's blogs. But the little blue internet-critter? I dunno. I've wondered about it, too. If I interpret the top two dots as frowny eyes and the little line peeking above the map as a corner of its mouth... then what is that thing on its cheek? A skin tag? A misplaced nose? These are the things that keep me awake at night. ;-)

jenny_o said...

I know! It's . . . just . . . I don't know . . . wrong . . . :)

Steve Reed said...

Oh, I agree. The loss of net neutrality is a terrible thing!