7 September, 2013

"I'm So Mad, I Could Spit!"

Commentary by Cherie Jung

My grandmother used to say that when she was frustrated. And am I ever frustrated!

I'm not a tech savvy computer user. I only want to learn exactly what I need to know, to do specifically what I want to do. There's no room in my brain for extra computer knowledge. Just the basics.

I never believed for a moment that computers were going to save me time, make my life easier, or be "user friendly." (Did I mention that I think my computers are actively plotting against me? No? Well, that's a topic for a later commentary then.)

I know that some — some, not all — of my computer problems stem from the fact that all three of my computers are old-ish. Also, my internet access is via old (and very slow) dial-up rather than DSL or Wi-Fi. But after many years of computer use, I am convinced that e-mail once delivered (downloaded and deleted at the ISP source) should not reappear — or be regurgitated, as my husband calls it — daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly.

Periodically (though almost daily for the past three months) hundreds of duplicate (three or four copies of each email) reappear in my inbox. They just keep coming. The same old, previously downloaded, read, and deleted emails. Three or four times a day. Although once the same emails arrived six times on the same day. There was a considerable amount of shouting at the monitor that day, I can tell you.

It is particularly annoying to have 4.5 MB, 3.2 MB, or any bytes, for that matter, from old, previously downloaded, and deleted emails dumped into my computer every time a new email arrives. Not to mention that every now and then on a whim, email from 3 years ago is re-sent to me from my ISP. (Particularly unnerving are the emails coming across the line into my computer, purporting to be "new" and "unread" emails from my dead sister.) Now, considering that there are three email addresses associated with this website that are all receiving these "dumps," you might imagine the problems we've been having not only trying to sort through the really new emails and the regurgitated emails but also just trying to get the new emails without the others clogging the download each time.

After exploring the problem online with other complainers...(since all attempts to get my ISP to respond to my queries and complaints proved useless) I discovered that it is a "known" problem. Aha! You say. Problem solved. Oh, no! I say. Since the recognized problem affects only 2% of my ISP's subscribers, they've decided it's not a big enough problem to bother fixing.

I dread switching ISPs because we've had the same email addresses, with minor modifications, for decades and it would require re-coding a lot of material.

It's like one of those old horror movies where the monster is killed but just won't stay dead.


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