Tag Archives: cell phones

Imagine a world where you had a remedy for bad cell and cable speeds

Anyone with cell phone or cable service knows that the transfer rates they advertise to get you to sign up (up to 100 Mbps download!) almost never match what you get in the real world. That is why they use those magic words “up to” since it allows them to say to you that they never promised you would get those actual speeds, even if they charge you extra for them.

As this article I ran across today notes, the UK is taking steps to give its citizens some recourse if the speeds they advertised to sign you up for that contract fail to materialize:

Internet users are to be granted more rights on connection speeds as [the UK] imposes tougher rules on how ISPs advertise broadband services.

The proposals give consumers the right to exit contracts penalty-free if speeds fall below a guaranteed minimum.

[British government regulator] Ofcom says there is a mismatch between what is advertised, and the speeds customers receive.

But experts say speeds are affected by different factors, and are not strictly a measure of connection to a device.

A public consultation is currently being conducted until 10 November.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of [the consumer advocacy group] Citizens Advice, said: “Many people seek our help each year because their slow and intermittent broadband service falls short of what their contract promised.

“For most people, a reliable broadband connection is a necessity, so when they don’t get what they’ve paid for they should always have a quick and easy way out of their contract.”

She said: “These changes are an important step in giving consumers more power to hold their broadband provider to account for poor service.” Ofcom’s existing broadband code of practice requires ISPs to provide consumers with an estimate of the internet speed they can expect from their service.

If the proposed rules pass consultation, broadband providers will need to be much more specific about the speeds customers will receive and will have to set a guaranteed minimum speed for each package.

This could mean current estimates of “up to 17Mbps” become “a minimum of 10Mbps”.

If the speed falls below the guaranteed minimum, under the new rules, the ISP will have one month to fix the problem, and if it cannot be fixed, the customer can terminate the contract without penalty.

With that simple change — changing the words “up to” to “a minimum of” the ISPs would be forced to account for the actual speeds you get on your service.

So what are the chances of these types of rules being forced on similar companies in America?

Don’t hold your breath. As you can see from the screen cap graphics from OpenSecrets.org accompanying this article, the telecom industry gave just under $26 million in political contributions to candidates for federal office in 2016 alone, almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

In Washington money talks, and the telecoms are in the drivers’ seats on Capitol Hill until we consumers get our act together and decide to hold both parties accountable for the ways they allow cable and cellular companies in this country to saddle Americans with some of the most expensive service in the world for the least amount of reliable bandwidth. 

A disinterested old woman and Johnny Depp

celebrities celebrity Hollywood jefferly.com

Take a look at the tweet below.

This reaction — this guy’s “new favorite photo of all time” — is representative of the crazy viral reactions this photo started all over the internet. 

Reactions generally ranged (and I am not overstating this a bit)  from overjoyed to ecstatic because so many people saw in this one elderly woman all the alienation they believe social media have brought into the world. 

As Mashable noted in a post about the photo:

In this photo from the Boston Globe, most of the crowd watches the red carpet through their smartphone camera lenses while an older onlooker takes in the event tech-free.

Oddly enough, the woman’s lack of technology is exactly what’s made the photo such a viral success.

“Oddly enough” just about sums it up.

For its part, the Boston Globe started its article accompanying the viral photo with this:

Now we know what happens when Johnny Depp steps out of a black Escalade in Brookline: People scream. The actor, who plays Whitey Bulger in “Black Mass,” joined several of his cast mates and director Scott Cooper at a special screening of the movie Tuesday at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, and the reaction among those gathered to gawk was, well, exuberant.

People interpreted the elderly woman’s lack of a camera phone as proof of her refusing to get “caught up” in the “cell phone selfie culture” of today, and her desire “to live in the moment as a real person” instead of experiencing it through an allegedly distancing smartphone camera lens.

Wow. That is a lot of sociological baggage with which to freight one elderly woman in one photo.

Since we are allowed to read anything we want into this photo, allow me to propose some alternate explanations:

  • She is an elderly woman, and as is the wont of many elderly women, she is somewhat flummoxed by cell phones.
  • She was simply walking by and decided to check out what the fuss was about, and so did not have her old school camera with her.
  • She had a camera with her, but really just does not give many f*cks about Johnny Depp or celebrities in general.

That last one seems most likely to me. Since I can read into this whatever I want based on my fears, frustrations and biases, I feel this is correct.

I would have found it more alienating if I had found out that she was so enraptured by the arrival of Johnny Depp she just couldn’t bear to ruin it by experiencing it through a camera lens.

If a woman this age is still managing to get so caught up into America’s love affair with all things celebrity, I would feel sorry for her. I would rather imagine that she has realized with wisdom in her advanced years that our celebrity culture is as damaging to our social fabric as any cell phone.

And who cares if people take pictures of an event such as this with camera phones? It’s not the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

People have experienced celebrity appearances for decades with old school cameras and I doubt anyone would say they were not “in the moment” by doing so. What else should they do? Take notes and discuss the event’s larger sociological ramifications?

Social media are only alienating if you allow them to be.

For some people — usually extroverted gregarious types who love working rooms of people in-person — social media takes away from them one of the things which make them stand out in a live crowd: their winning personality. Of course they hate online communications vs real-time interactions in-person.

For many others, social media gives them a link to the outside world. From introverts to shut-ins, social media keep them connected.

People who express themselves better through reading and in writing find online interactions to be very often  illuminating and funny, rather than alienating. Social media can be alienating, but mostly at those times when your online world teaches you how many ridiculous people are in the world.

Meanwhile we are being placated by a never-ending stream of news about the rich and famous, even as the world is falling apart economically, politically and environmentally.

But, by all means, let’s all get worked up over an old woman staring with an expressionless face at Johnny Depp — just as I would be doing if I were there with her. 

Old elderly woman Boston Globe Johnny Depp jefferly.com
The disinterested elderly woman who spawned a viral overload.