Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Creeping paranoia

I've become very superstitious over the past few days. I'm afraid to use my Internet connection any time that it seems to be working, because it always seems to fail again shortly thereafter. I can't take the risk of uploading any pictures to my blog, obviously. In any case, the pictures I've taken will be historical documents by the time the sleeping technicians at France Télécom fix my problems. The connection is still working very poorly at the moment, but that's better than not working at all, which has been the usual state.

It's supposed to be snowing outside. I don't know if that's actually true, as I haven't gone outside today. I rather doubt it, since it's always warmer in real life than the weather service claims. If it says “light snow,” that means, at best, a bit of slush on the sidewalks. Traditionally, Paris has had about two weeks of snow days each winter, but in recent years that has shrunk to zero, although the weather service will claim that there has been some measurable snow on a few days (but like I said, their snow is actually slush inside the real city). I haven't seen actual, dry snow in any significant amount here in years.

The temperature is around freezing outside, which isn't unusual for this time of year. It usually doesn't go much lower, fortunately (I like chilly weather, but I don't like sub-freezing weather). Somehow, despite these low temperatures, the building's heating system still manages to push the temperature up to 79° F inside the apartment. I still have to open a window and let heat out in order to get the temperature lower. The radiators are much too hot to touch; I find myself wondering how they get water this hot to circulate in them, and how much pressure they may be under (the pipes are 72 years old).

Since the dew point is 26.6° F right now, the relative humidity in the apartment is just over 14%, which means that my mouth is dry and my nose is blocked most of the time.

I'm debating whether or not to call France Télécom again. Perhaps the phones are staffed by people who have actually seen a computer or network at this time of day, but I'm not optimistic. The only time people work full-time in France is in October; the rest of the time, they are either preparing for holidays or recovering from them. And even though the importance of data communications is approaching that of other common utilities like electricity or water, the customer-service aspect is not keeping pace with that—in fact, it's dead in the water and deteriorating. Anyway, I'm thinking about it, trying to decide if calling FT is more likely to help or hurt the situation. I wish someone at FT would simply see the problem at their end and fix it; if they are truly keeping an eye on their network, it should be obvious.

My Internet connection has deteriorated again (superstitions justified?), so I don't know if this entry will survive the trip to my blog.

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