Caught in a Web
As I sit in my car dealer’s service waiting area, with experts working on my SUV’s brakes, I’m feeling like a wise man atop a mountain in China.
I’m getting very philosophical, pondering the value of my time.
I’m not trapped here; I’ve chosen this. Parking my ass in this stale lounge for a couple of hours—instead of out and about in a loaner car—made sense because the waiting area features wireless Internet access.
I predicted I could check my e-mail accounts, keep in touch with clients, get up to speed on world events and sports news, and even look into some of your blogs.
I predicted incorrectly. The wireless portal here, it turns out, blocks a few categories of sites.
Comment: What are they afraid of? It seems especially odd because I’m watching CNN on the TV screen right in front of me.
Also blocked: “Sports.”
Comment: This one floors me. I hate to be sexist, but … nine of the eleven people lingering here are men, and few things pass men’s time as quickly as reading useless stories about useless sporting events.
I can’t get to my e-mail accounts because “Organizational E-mail” is verboten.
Comment: One might think it’s the most obvious thing to enable customers to access. One would be wrong.
So here I am, shut off from 75% of the Web—about 99% of what I want to do.
I take the plunge into the next level of Internet hell, but “Social Networking Sites” is next on the hit list.
Comment: Blogs? No way. We wouldn’t want our waiting guests to see their time fly by, would we?!?
With a sigh, I resort to the ultimate time-waster. Yes, I head for the free games available on the Orbitz site. (If you haven’t yet checked these out, I recommend you don’t. In particular, avoid "Stacker" and "8-Ball;" don't say I didn't warn you.)
Leaning back in my faux leather chair, I resign myself to 90 minutes or more as a mindless blob.
Nope. The portal blocks access to “Entertainment” sites as well.
Comment: Grrrrr. I think I’d have better Internet access atop a mountain in China.