Tuesday, 25 June 2013


This is a useful word, from the native American language Lakotah, which means ‘to be provoked beyond endurance.’  I reached a state of akaspa last Thursday, and have been ducking in and out of it ever since, the frequency depending on the arrival or non-arrival of communications from a couple of organisations.
I’m not going to name either of these organisations, because I don’t want to offer them the oxygen of publicity.  (To quote the great late Linda Smith, I wouldn’t offer them the oxygen of oxygen.)   Suffice to say, the first is a purveyor of satellite TV, the second of internet broadband, “connectivity”.  For their protection, let’s just call them ‘SK’ and ‘TB’.   (Those quotes around the C-word in the previous sentence are intended to convey irony, in blatant unsubtle shovel-loads.)  Let me explain.
Ten days ago, SK wrote to me announcing a dinky little box which, once installed, would allow me access ‘on demand’, on my TV, without involvement of a computer, to catch-up TV services like BBC iPlayer and many others.  (I’ve hardly ever used these services, to be honest, because I’m incapable of watching television on a laptop – I want to watch it on my lavish 42” Hitachi, thank you very much.)  Best, this little box will wirelessly connect directly to my home network router (supplied by TB), and thence to the internet. 
That’ll do me, I thought, and ordered it.  £21.95.  It arrived as expected  last Wednesday, and I set Thursday morning aside to install it.  Then the fight started.
You don’t want the details, do you?  No.  So let me just count the emails and ‘help’ messages (27),  time spent waiting in ‘chat’ queues (about 45 minutes – rather annoyingly, this tended to increase rather than decrease, and I almost smashed something valuable, such as my own teeth, when I slipped from fourth to sixth in the queue), and false hopes (“what you need to do is …”; no it isn’t…).  Finally, I got a definitive answer from SK: “change your Multiplexing method in your ASDL settings to ‘LCC-BASED.’”
Whew, at last, an answer!  Straightforward, eh?  All I have to do now is find out from TB how to do this.  Don’t bother your frazzled little head about what it means, or even whether it’s a safe move or might cause smoke to plume from the router.  Just tell me which buttons to press, please!
TB replied on Monday morning.  It seems it’s impossible to make this change, because to do so would require the co-operation of a sister organisation called TB-Op*nR**ch, who have a policy of never communicating with either their customers or their colleagues.  (I paraphrase.)  They are in a three-way Mexican stand-off.  So I’ve written back to SK to ask them whither the way forward, if any.  I await their reply.  And await.  And await.  My akaspa is subsiding, as it does.


In the supermarket car park this morning, I saw, not at all for the first time, a lovely pale blue 1960 Morris Minor 1000.  I vaguely know the man who owns it, and once had a conversation with him about upkeep.  “It’s easy,” he told me.  “Just change the oil and the filters and the plugs.  You can get them all still.”


  1. Serves you right for involving Tony Blair in the first place.

    Have you tried turning it off and on again?

  2. We still have a 1956 Morris Minor in the garage. Maybe we should get
    it out and enjoy tranquil motoring again.

  3. We defected from TB last year because another provider offered us the same services for half the money. New provider's router has only been reset once, unlike TBs which we were resetting almost weekly at one point. I had a very annoying conversation with them in order to get my mac code and now I have a new reason to hate them in that their new sport channel has bought the rights to MotoGP so we wont be able to watch it next year. Boo hiss!

    We're still on Freeview here. Sir Bruin treated himself to a smart TV a couple of months ago so we can get BBC iPlayer on our telly without involving either of those organisations. Sir Bruin has done something mysterious with some plug in thingies that somehow route t'internet via our internal wiring. Me no understand.

  4. It could have been worse. It could have come flat packed with not enough screws...?