I bought a little laptop, no bigger than a book
and everywhere I took it, it got a second look.
It has a pen, you see, no nipple, mouse or ball,
you write or tick, and it's so quick, it takes no time at all.
But then I bought a modem card, so it could dial the phone,
and it began to worry me, like a dog does to a bone,
The laptop-modem interface, officially a breeze,
was fully incompatible; I couldn't get a sneeze
of I/O out of both of them, no matter what I tried,
And when the vendor firm went broke, why, I broke down and cried.
I phoned the laptop maker, and the modem maker too,
they both said plug and play, that was all I had to do.
Of course, they added, model numbers sometimes will not fit,
despite the card just sliding in as if designed for it.
The guy who sold it to you, that's who you have to see.
'Caveat emptor, tough on you', and damn bad luck for me.
But I just kept on using that laptop every day,
the battery life was marvellous, and that, I'm pleased to say
came from the power management, a work of sheer delight,
with shut-down automatically, however late at night;
and instant start-up, set to go, just flick the button down,
and start to work, never worry, never need to frown.
But still the modem smirked at me, that stubborn slip of tin,
I vowed to get my right redress, for being taken in.
I went and asked a real expert, my very youngest son,
And oh that galls, he knew the fix, the thing that should be done
'Oh Dad, get modern, Workgroup's out, now switch to 95,
It's got the goods to really make the modem come alive.'
And so I did the full upgrade, and went right back to school,
I learnt the whole damn handbook, and studied every rule,
And finally got the hang of it, that 95 upgrade,
but it doesn't manager power, that feature never made
it to the latest version. I'm wishing that I lied,
for that batt'ry went down so damn fast that finally it died.
I went and bought another one, but far too late, I fear.
The mother-board had failed, and that was bloody dear.
Coincidence, some might say, and, yes, that might be so,
and whether it be thus, or not, I guess I'll never know.
But this I know, and know right well, as poets used to say,
the laptop case was never right, after that long day,
a little bit had broken off, and fallen down a crack.
They searched and probed and looked around, but never got it back.
I fixed the case with super-glue, but stuck my left hand to my face
and when I got the left hand off the right one took its place.
So heed my plight, before you buy. This misery is real.
The scars of all this suffering, they may not ever heal.
Worse yet was still to come, you see, for as my data volumes climbed,
the modem wouldn't hack it, and the throughput fell behind.
And so I switched to cable, for highest download speed,
and for a dial-up modem, I now haven't any need.
This, I find, is irony, that really cooks the goose,
for that modem thing, that caused the fuss,
- is now of no damn use.
I wish that was the end of it, but three years later more had come,
for cable may be rapid, but the user's just as dumb.
I trusted all the hardware then from faults to be quite free,
and I damn the bloody hardware, for it still just laughed at me.
Next, the power package, it was giving all the trouble
ensuring that my happiness was just a soapy bubble.
The power pack wouldn't fail hard, oh that would be too easy.
No - all the proper lights were on - that thing was just plain sleazy,
For though the lights were surely on, the voltage wasn't right,
some little bits got dropped sometimes, however blinked the light.
As stitches dropped from knitting pins don't always then unravel,
so bits that drop from messages of inter-netted travel
don't show up to the user, for the data is re-sent
and just the total throughput speed might get a little bent.
Eventually, of course, as the voltage dropped right down,
the throughput dropped so badly that I really had to frown,
and techo staff - I phoned them up, to hear their usual song -
"Are all the lights on brightly? Well, then, there's nothing wrong."
Nothing wrong be buggered, is what I should have said,
but then they would have hung-up, and left me as for dead.
And so you I held my peace, while yet another techo comes,
and drinks my tea, and fills my space, but he too is all thumbs.
"These modems aren't reliable" well la-di-da I say,
so fit me with another one and then be on your way.
"I can't do that, it's warranty did yesterday expire,
another grand will see you right" - more banknotes on the fire.
Pray tell what will that get me? Will it really fix the fault?
"More banknotes first for Me-dot-com to put into the vault
then register as new user which will get the discount deal,
just logon to the website" -
"Logon, Mate? - get real!"
It's logging on that's so damn hard, the error rate's so high
that if I were to graph it, the line would hit the sky.
What could I do? - I found a friend to email in my form
and many weeks went by for such delays are quite the norm.
I phoned them up and a nice man did escalate the matter,
to keep me sane so this won't make me 'mad just like a hatter'.
He said "I'll email our reply - your friend can tell you all,
but basically we can't get all the cable through your wall
Not through your wall or through your fence, or even up your road,
For our mapping database shows cable ain't in your postcode."
"Hey, cut that out!" I want to cry, and I am close to tears,
"I've been on bloody cable, lad, for several fault-filled years.
The cable-layers came by here, dug the street out years ago,
and now my sensitivities, you toss them to and fro -
I'm not a laughing stock to me, though I can hear you chortle;
I want that modem fixed, you hear, and I really am the sort who'll
keep on saying what I want until I get it done,
so I'm taking modem Dick Smith-wards and give them, too, some fun."
Well, Dick Smith told me clearly that the power box was carked,
and back I went to Me-dot-com for the contract clearly marked
the power box as their problem, the warranty ain't an issue,
and all excuses that they give are patently a tissue -
I won't say lies, for then they'd sue, but you know what I mean.
Well, back they come, new power box, and finally I've seen
some service, real results at last, though the power box feels hot,
but the nice man (now he tells me) finds that that is all he's got.
"This model runs a little warm, but it'll work ok,
just log back in and get your usual email every day."
So all went well, for several months, then the unravel started,
and you'd be right to think that left me feeling broken hearted.
Another techo came and said "The power supply again"
But looked away and wouldn't hear my question as to when
replacement parts would come to hand - "this other one for you -
is it's voltage wrong? so sorry mate, it's all that I can do.
The one you need for this modem is now marked obsolete,
and any stock that they had left was turfed out in the street."
"More folding cash for Me-dot-com to put into the bank,
new modem deal? I'll set you up and surely you will thank
me for all my effort, for all my sterling toil,
as you find that all your data gets through like dinkum oil."
And so it ought have been - but "in your dreams" is how it went.
I have a brand new modem type, Me-dot-com had finally sent,
it's cooler now, has pretty lights and uses much less power,
all good and green but I ain't seen my mail for many an hour.
The techo went away because he had some other clients waiting,
and left me home with nought to do but sit there quietly hating.
I hate computers, so would you, for by then my modem's fine,
but their logon database is flawed and won't let me on-line.
At least that's what I thought it was, and it might have been, in part,
but the techo then enlightened me (knowing somewhat of his art)
that my network cards had forged 'ID's (they came from far Taiwan)
and the network didn't know them so would not let me logon.
I disabled both my network cards, and plugged his new one in,
the internet came flooding out, I took it on the chin.
It seems my cards were half the cause - 'cause broadband's getting fussy,
not talking to just anyone, exclusive little hussy,
So then I had my internet, but with one computer blind,
it could not see the other one, not see nor hear nor find.
I thought my private network dead, as dead as half a duck,
but I turned off one card's disablement and found I was in luck.
Thus I got my network back, and reached the world as well,
it surely beat the deafness that's quite a living hell.
The moral here is simple, pay your money, pay it often,
and then some more, and still more yet, until they start to soften.
So, here's a puzzle for you all, who like to privatize,
are government departments, who tell such whopping lies
any worse than the big companies, who lacking some of ruth,
also screw the public by withholding basic truth?
There's more to tell, 'bout practice sharp, and blatant overcharging,
but I'm frightened of the coppers, and others who might barge in.
No emails now, my gear's been sold, of that I surely spoke,
for my system's cost me far too much
- and now I'm stoney broke!
Copyright © 1998, 2001 Peter Leon Collins
v3, (with more still to come) 10/06/2001