After years of connecting to the Web from home using dial-up, I thought it time to investigate faster speed options. It seemed reasonable to use the Internet to seek out what choices I might have. That was a mistake.
Googling for “broadband internet services,” I eventually found a listing of seven services available in my area. Most of these offerings are packaged with telephone and television services that I have no use for, but two seemed promising.
The first one I looked at presented me with a page that required my address, to check if their service is available here. It was quite an involved form, that also needed my phone number, split up, like Caesar’s Gaul, into three parts. The address was similarly precise, with separate inputs for street number, street name, unit type, unit number, and so on. But when I pressed the “find” button to see if the service is available, the results page complained that it could not locate my apartment.
I went back to try as many variations on my address as I could think of, always with the same result. At this point I should mention that Google Maps can locate me on the entire planet from a one-line address. Hmm.
So on to the other service offering. This time the form to fill in had even more detail. Not only type of unit, but floor number, type of building, and other details were required.
With some misgivings now, I pressed the “find” button. The result? I got a page containing a large, bold admonition: “You are not authorized to view this page” it read. Oh dear. I decided to give up for the night.
Yesterday I came across an advertisement for a new broadband service that promised a low cost to people ordering on the Web. So I began my quest anew.
The service site offered to locate me either from my telephone number, or from my address. So I attempted to enter my phone number.
Three input boxes are provided for the number, but when I tried to enter my 3-digit area code in the first, I found that the box only had room for two digits. Hmm. “This won’t do,” I thought, “Better try the address option.”
Once again, the form for the address has many fields to fill in. You can imagine that I held my breath when I pressed the “find” button.
My hesitation was justified. There on my screen was a beautiful display of computer code. No matter that I know the computer language the code is written in, it did not help at all in finding out if the service I want is available at my address. As in all these cases. I did go back to try different input, but always with the same result.
Finally, in desperation more than from logical thinking, I switched to another browser to try again. The first browser I used tends to make text appear a bit larger than normal on my particular computer set-up, compensating for the high definition of my screen. This time I used a browser that displays text a bit smaller, so I returned to the page that offered to locate me from my telephone number.
Better luck this time. The area code fits in the input box now. So I enter my complete phone number and press the “find” button.
I think you can guess what happens next. That’s right – the same computer program code comes up in my browser window.
There seem to be some potholes on this electronic super-highway.