Tag Archives: computers

‘And God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light, but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until Thursday to be connected.’ Spike Milligan.

I might have thought that quote funny once.  Unfortunately my sense of humour on the issue of power and light has take a bit of a knock lately.  I have now joined the ranks of those who have no difficulty whatsoever in believing that if God really had had to rely on the ‘Electricity Board’ for a connection we might all still be sitting in the dark even now . . .

Do I sound a little frustrated?  Well, I am.  Just a tad.  For the last couple of weeks I have been getting reminders from the power company that my current ‘plan’ will expire at the beginning of March and that if I don’t renew it immediately there are bound to be dire consequences.  (Those weren’t their exact words of course but that was the gist—price hikes, loss of bonuses, etc etc . . .)

Well alright then.  I’d best get that renewed poste-haste hadn’t I?  No worries, this should only take a second . . .

So I followed the link to the appropriate website, logged in, found the ‘Renew Your Plan’ button, pressed Enter and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited . . .

Okay.  So maybe the website needed a minute.  (I admit I can be a little impatient with these things.)  That’s okay, I have other things I can be going on with.  I left the little round thingy that indicates that the website was processing my request running and went and attended to something of much more immediate importance . . .

After finishing my cup of tea I came back to the site to find absolutely no progress had been made.  The little wheel continued to spin around . . . and around . . . and around . . .

After a further 10 minutes of waiting I decided I definitely had better things to do.  The website was obviously having issues.  I’d try again tomorrow.

And I did.  And the next day . . .  and the day after that . . .


I’ve tried to renew my electricity plan every day for the past week now with the same result (I know I know, the definition of madness . . . ) but I really, really, really didn’t want to phone them.  There had to be another way.  So I searched the site for a ‘Contact Us’ button.  Lo and Beholdthere was a box that said they’d call me (free of charge!) if I had a problem.  Just ‘Click Here’.  Click.

My phone rang almost immediately.  Woo Hoo!!

‘Thank you for calling,’ (said the cheery (and obviously pre-recorded) voice)  ‘ . . . we are taking a lot of calls at the moment but if you are happy to wait . . .  (long pause)  . . . 45 minutes . . .  we’ll get to your call as soon as we can.  If not, please call us back.’

I knew there was a reason I really, really, really didn’t want to phone.  Like I was going to wait on hold for 45 minutes . . .

One final desperate search online eventually found me a ‘Lodge an Enquiry’ section.  What did I have to lose (except perhaps my sanity)—’So. . . .’ I wrote politely, “is there something wrong with your website?  Because I have been following all the prompts for over a week now to renew my existing plan and I really don’t seem to be having much luck . . . “

I received an immediate (and very polite) response‘Thank you for your enquiry.  Your message is important to us.  We will get back to you within 2-3 working days.’

Sigh. (Again.)

Of course, three days later I still haven’t heard anything back from them so this post must now serve as fair warning that next time I write to all you lovely people I may well have reverted to chipping away on a stone tablet by candlelight.

But wait! look!  There’s an email just come in from the power company.  Maybe this will sort it all out . . .

‘Hello Sally.  This is just a friendly reminder . . . ‘


Posted by on March 2, 2018 in Uncategorized


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‘You may not be able to read a doctor’s prescription, but you’ll notice his bills are neatly typewritten.’ Earl Wilson.

Did you know that handwriting can indicate over 5,000 different personality traits? I didn’t even know there were over 5,000 different personality traits, but handwriting analysts maintain that the size and shape of your letters, the spacing between your words, and even the pressure you apply to the page when writing, all signify different personal characteristics.  How you dot your ‘i’s and cross your ‘t’s can reveal much more about you than you might wish to be known . . .

But you know, this may not be much of a worry for us in the future.  I mean, what happens when people stop hand-writing altogether? How will they (the ubiquitous ‘they’) analyse all those thousands of personality traits then?  ‘Never going to happen’ you might say.  Perhaps.  But many schools no longer teach cursive (‘running-writing’) to their students and schools in Finland have become the first to completely phase out handwriting lessons at all in favour of typing . . .

At first I was surprised by that . . . but then I thought perhaps they had seen some of the handwriting that is prevalent these days and decided they were fighting a losing battle . . .

I admit I have been grumbling (loudly, often, and to anyone who will listen) about the sad decline of penmanship and the depressing illegibility of many of the handwritten documents that have come across my desk of late.  

Please bear with me while I have a little ‘vent’ . . .

In 2015 a new initiative was introduced in the education sector in Australia whereby each student enrolling in a nationally accredited course was required to obtain a ‘Unique Student Identifier’ (USI).  This USI was a 10 digit computer-generated mix of letters and numbers, individual to each student, and no-one would be able to enrol without one.  This USI would (eventually) be used to create a secure online database of all student training records.

Sounds fair enough, doesn’t it?  Sure.  Why not?  Except that now, two years down the track, I spend half my working days peering at incoming enrolment documents, desperately trying to correctly decipher these (handwritten) USIs so they can be entered into my own student data system.  ‘Is that a 2 or a z?  . . .   or a B or an 8? . . .  a 7 or a T?’   Without the context of a sentence to ‘guess’ at a poorly written letter or figure, it is often impossible to tell.

(Added to my aggravation is that my computer could care less.  If I don’t get that USI exactly right, it won’t verify it.  Period.)

In my less fraught moments, I get it. I really do.  Advances in technology have meant that many people don’t need to hand-write anything much any more so it’s hardly surprising that these skills have taken a back seat to typing (or texting).

But . . . don’t you think that’s a bit of a shame?

I am not completely naive.  Technology is here to stay and we will all need the skills to deal with itbut do we have to entirely forgo one skill to take up another?

Setting aside for the moment the fact that trying to read poor handwriting is increasingly driving this humble office worker further into madness, handwriting is, as the analysts point out, the outward manifestation of an individual personality.  Is that not, in itself, reason enough to nurture the skill?

Don’t you think it would be great to see all the world’s fabulous individual personalities reflected in wonderful, bold, beautiful, creative, colourful (and legible—please let it be legible) handwriting?  I do.

What about you?


Posted by on March 24, 2017 in Uncategorized


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