Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Media, Old Boiler

When the Internet was invented, it was all about an Information Super Highway into CyberSpace. Which initially meant Project Gutenberg and a Star Trek episode guide. Shortly afterwards the Internet invented sex and hasn't looked back since (I remember working for a firm where we used to test the speed of a PC's processor by loading up an unintentionally hilarious animated gif on a porn site - if they were banging like hyperactive steam hammers then there was a chance you'd be able to run FrontPage. Ah, innocent days).

In the early days shopping involved emailing someone your credit card details, or buying a cheap DVD from Amazon and then paying £31 import duty. It was exciting, it was cutting edge.

I don't know at what point the internet got boring. Was it just after "other people" found out about Lolcats, or when the gays got grindr on their mobile phones? Or was the moment, just now, when I caught myself shopping on ebay for spare parts for my boiler?

This is a liberation for me. I used to have a sexy plumber. Then I got a really dull Greek one who turned up briefly to try and mend the timer on my boiler 18 months ago. I said I'd like a new timer switch. He brought me a thermostat.

ME: Will this turn on the boiler at 7am?
HIM: Yes. If you wake up. You can turn it on then. From your bedroom. With remote control. Is wireless.
ME: But will it turn on the boiler at 7am if I don't wake up?
HIM: Yes. If you leave boiler on all night.
ME: And will it turn off at 9am after I go out?
HIM: Oh yes. If you use Remote Control. And work nearby. Is wireless.
ME: But is it a Timer Switch?
HIM: (puzzled pause) No, is Thermostat.
ME: I would like a Timer Switch.
HIM: Okay, boss. I get you now. But this... this is wireless.
ME: It is not a Timer Switch.
HIM: No.
ME: Can I have a Timer Switch?
HIM: Yes. If you really do not want this Wireless Thermostat.
ME: Yes please.
HIM: You want it?
ME: No, I want a Timer Switch.
HIM: Ah, okay, I go get you one right away. If I have to come back three dozen times I shall do this for you.

He charged me £100 and I never saw him again. The internet - it may be dull, but it means that I am no longer a slave to my plumber. (Although in the early 2000s the phrase "Slave to my plumber" would have got a lot of hits).


JahTeh said...

It probably will still get a lot of hits.

I found ebay two years ago. Who knew it had so much jewellery on offer, lovely but my credit card is always borderline cringe.

lorrainel said...

Teehee. FrontPage! And talking about exciting technology, has anyone ever perfected smellevision? I'm sure I read about it in Wired.