Modern communications and remote living…..

And now – on to the other topic requiring a bit of myth-busting – communications.  Ooh, don’t get me started!

(too late)

First off, I have to confess to a bias………..methinks the modern communications industry is complicit in a plot to control the world!  Or something like that, anyway.  Something sinister.  I think.  Kinda………here’s what I mean:

The industry is all linked with government and big business by way of data mining and storage.  Of course.  That is how they get their licenses.  But it also means that ‘they see and hear’ what you see and hear and they can now add tracking your whereabouts to the mix.  Your cell phone is a tracking device and you are the one being tracked!  I don’t like that.  Big Brother writ way too large for my liking.

But let us leave that paranoid weirdness aside for the minute and ask what is the net effect of all this hyper intense communication?  People are more reliant on it, to be sure.  More and more business is done that way, too.  But even more gibberish and twitter and tweet is going on.  And that tends to dumb down the communication, the language and the people in general.  There is a massive downside to more noise.

Like TV, the smart phone isn’t as good for you as it is entertaining (read: hypnotic).  Instead of staring blankly into the boob tube for hours on end, people now hunch over their smart phones for hours on end.  Call me an old Luddite but it doesn’t ‘feel’ right.  And, for those with any doubts, go to Hong Kong.  With millions concentrated in a small space all staring into their palms every chance they can, it doesn’t look right either.

And then there is the issue of cost.  Canada has the most expensive communication services in the world!  We pay more for everything.  You can thank the CRTC and the govt. for that.

But, honestly, those cranky and eccentric complaints are not the real story.  The real story is that our communications out here don’t work that well.  Despite ‘smart phones’, our systems remain rather dumb.  To get cell service is still a hit and miss affair.  Bad weather, high winds, a flock of sea-gulls in the wrong place and our cell phone call dies or goes into non-receive mode.  We might get the message but the phone didn’t even ring!

This and other ‘bugs’ in the system is not uncommon in remote areas and so we employ a yagi antennae and a booster kit.  But instead of boosting performance, that assembly simply allows us to actually get some service.  Clear, uninterrupted cell service just ain’t possible.

And the satellite?  The service that is five times the cost of a similar one in the US even though the service is just a license for piggybacking off the US system?  Well, that service is very limited and even more susceptible to flocks of gulls, weather and central office snafus.

But, of course, there is no land line, no cable and no wi-fi hotspots.  Choice is limited.  So the communications revolution is not as much of a boon for us as one might think.  In fact, my daughter wrote me a postcard from Cambodia the other day!  A postcard!

Fittingly, I suppose, the biggest weak-link in the syetm can be laid at our own feet.  Despite the inadequate service, we exacerbate our problem rather than help fix it.  Why?  Because we have both come to loathe phone calls.  Partly, it is because of the usually poor connection but mostly it is because chit chat just ain’t our thing.  A brief call with a short message is fine.  The “So, whatcha doin’? Sure rainin’ hard over here………….what’s it like there?” type-call is now intolerable.  Age, I guess.

But it is more than that.  The cell phone is NOT mobile for us.  Because of the aforementioned need for a fixed antenna and a booster, the phone is also fixed.  In the house.  And we are usually outdoors.  So, even tho we can get calls, we can only really get them if we are sitting next to the phone.  Which we rarely do.  Mobility by way of cell phone portability is not one of our available benefits.

OK, this is a somewhat negative sounding post and I really don’t mean it that way.  Sorry.  I really am pleased to have some form of communication and I am even more pleased that it is not a dominant influence in my life.  So maybe this is the best system of all….for us…..hard to say.  One thing is for sure: we get fewer and fewer calls and e-mails.  That could be attributable to my personal appeal or lack thereof but we also seem to get more and more actual visitors.  In person.  Like…the real thing.  So, I am guessing that the message from all this  is a bit different.

I suspect that many people are less and less enamored with modern communications (even if they are more dependent on them) and an old-fashioned, in-the-flesh visit is preferable when possible.  I think they visit because they want to step out of the hub-bub and maelstrom of electrons in the modern world and the fact that their cell phone doesn’t work up here is a good thing!

Or maybe it’s just Sal’s cooking?

One thought on “Modern communications and remote living…..

  1. Terrified by the telegraph’s potential to spread information steps were taken in France and elsewhere to ban this form of rapid communication. Likewise radio signals were jammed during the cold war least information flowed freely. Telephones from early days were highly regulated monopolies that slowed innovation and kept costs high. The service price was likely really high if you lived in an area that was easy to service — like a big city. But the phone company was probably taking a loss on you if you lived in a remote part of its territory. With the advent of deregulation the incentive to expand telephone service was curtailed leaving many areas of BC without telephone service. Formally regulation had telephone companies servicing remote areas as the price for having a monopoly. The impact on remote areas is a lack of choice or a choice limited from poor to fair service without the possibility of VoIP, or an adequate internet browser or other web based service like Netflix or web TV. One may reject the cell phone but must one also forgo less invasive web services? Are not remotely living folk now suffering a sort of censorship from the government deregulatioin of telephone services?

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