Disconnected

outage“Use the cloud, “they said. “It will be so much more effcient. “

“Detox , “said the others.”You’ll feel so liberated without technology.”

“I am neither, “say I.

I have been without internet access and home phone from Sunday afternoon 2nd April until….who knows. My cordless phone reports line in use and there is activity on my internet account which the isp hasn’t blocked. There was no notice on this outage of major proportions. No chance to rally a plan B, to let people know or to organise myself. I was suddenly hurled into a non-connected world. I don’t have a big mobile data plan so using mobile data was not an option. I frugally used what I had to try and get some things achieved. I even went to the library Wednesday and soaked up all the delicious connectivity. Thing is, though, when you are randomly trying to manage a connected world in a non connected way you are nowhere near as efficient as when you have access to technology services. Maslow’s hierarchy of digital needs is a reality these days. The worst thing was that people trying to call my home phone number had been getting a lady in a suburb one over. She has had to battle this as part of an ongoing two week mess with her home phone line. She is with a different isp. Is it really 2017? I haven’t been able to access my banking, my planning, my social media, my online course, my blogs, my searches, my online tools. My outage is caused by the nbn rollout in the area and the technicians have been in my street and around the corner for several weeks now. The outage was notified on the line providers site but I had no knowledge of it. They are not my isp or phone providers. Communication in this day and age ought to be easy. I was in the middle of personal business transactions which needed attention and the capacity to achieve that without the internet and a phone has stretched me to the limit. I feel like I have been thrown into the Tardis and transported back in time. I am scrambling for pens, paper and envelopes. I am going to the library to do things. I am going into my bank to talk to people to resolve the issues and then more pens, paper and stamps. It all feels so cumbersome and awkward. I confess the banking people were so effective , as have been others ,I have had to deal with in person.

None of this has been helped by what would be a strain on our telecommunication services because of the cyclone in Queensland. It’s hard, I know. I do think outages in nbn areas need to be publicly broadcast and notified somehow. People need to have a chance of working out their best way of managing an outage of several days. It is disrupting phone services I found out by talking to others. It is a big infrastructure change. There will be problems but no one is owning and identifying the problems. We are left in the dark and confusion.

It is better to have things on your computer than in the cloud for the reasons I have experienced. There are files and information I can’t access because they are in cloud storage. I do keep plenty of back ups and files ready to access on my computer but not everything and much of what I do is now connected to online services. There are not alternatives. I’ll be rethinking all my cloud things again but there really isn’t a solution to a world which is increasingly online other that to have a rock solid access available and then a well thought out back up plan for when it isn’t. Wouldn’t it be possible to have wifi access available in areas which have outages as they have in major cities?

I know there is mobile broadband. The stick which worked perfectly interstate on a trip refused to work in my time of need. The older stick I had didn’t work either and neither did the other older stick . I tried. I tried on 3 computers to get a mobile broadband stick to work. No. Computer said no.

I don’t feel detoxed. I feel like I can’t run my life properly or effectively. It’s amazingly quiet and I have appreciated that. No ringing, dinging, blipping, plopping, bingly bonging. Nothing. Birds singing, cars passing by and maybe an occasional voice. I have liked that. For some people it would send them to breaking point. No capacity to have or make phone calls and no chance to engage online. They would be isolated like in the olden days. The other thing I have really noticed is that it is so much easier to establish yourself online. People get to know you and your capabilites very quickly because you can showcase them very efficiently. In real life lots of people would not know who you were and what you can do and have no way of connecting with you. I have worked out you can make the real life relationships as positive as online and it allows you to connect really quickly with others . Apply those online skills in the real world and it really facilitates relationship building.

For now, I am glad someone has lent me a mifi gadget. It is saving my life and my sanity. . I am going to rethink my online things and try and get a back up outage plan together. Internet and phone providers need to consider that too , especially when there are major telecommunication infrastructure upgrades going on. You can’t really ask people to lump it. That is not a business plan for technology use at all and the bottom line in all of this is communication. Work with people.

We have quantum computers

Quantum computers are finally on the planet so we are set poised to really take off with technology. Don’t get too excited, though, because it will take a while to perfect and improve the research and then apply it. It would also appear quantum computers won’t be  much help in our daily lives.

So, in practice, classical computers will probably be faster and more practical than quantum computers for day-to-day operations, and quantum computers will only come in useful where massive parallelism is involved. When they are let loose, though, their speed will be spectacular.

gizmag

The article does explain how the research is going and how the University of NSW has built the first blocks of a quantum computer in silicon. If you want to keep up-to-date on quantum computing developments then it is good to consult the site D:Wave which is a quantum computing company. Then you need to visit ExtremeTech to keep your feet on the floor as they always make an effort to bring sound information without the hype. This is all exciting, though. The world is about to make a quantum leap forward in technology.

The 21st Century – are we there yet?

I love the Jetsons. It was a cartoon series which finished in 1963 and had a revival with better technology to produce it in 1985. The Jetsons lived in the 21st century. Elroy’s Dad drove him to school in the flying car and then ejected him in a space pod to Dipper Elementary School. In 2062 Elroy had a robot teacher with all of its glitches. The bad boy is sitting there reading a paper book and watching a video on his phone watch. These watches are just coming onto the market now. Elroy has a jet pack to fly around the classroom and the school reports are produced on tapes to go home. No thought of email and file attachment or an online portal.No thought of e-books and the robot teacher is quite the martinet. So, do we actually have a vision of what we want 21st century schools to look like? Do we want robot teachers? Jet packs in class? Watch phones with wifi access? Flying cars? There is a black board with maths written all over it in this episode. When Elroy gets into so much trouble from his parents he runs away from home. The bad boy rings up his parents on the Visiophone and tells the truth about the report switch. We have video phones and, occasionally, we have children who run away from home. Wouldn’t the report have had the wrong name on it when George was listening to it? Do they not identify children in the 21st century? Why ruin a good story with the truth! So, while we are imagining an 21st education scenario, how much is it going to be as faulty as the Jetson’s predications? I love the Jetsons. My favourite cartoon. It’s a cartoon, though. When we are doing our thinking and planning we are in the real world with real students and their families. We need to be looking at emotional intelligence with regard to technology as well as dedicated use. Relationship building is a core skill of teachers as is trouble shooting. A robot teacher might be useful but is it the answer and if we create robot teachers, what do we actually want them to do and be? If we don’t have input as teachers, we’ll get technology devices which don’t suit our purposes, don’t suit our purposes, don’t suit our purposes.

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