It all started Sunday. There I was, thoroughly engrossed in the latest episode of Game of Thrones, which I was streaming off my AppleTV. Little did I know I would go through all the stages of grief before the night was done, but not for the reasons the show’s writers intended.
The scene opened with a woman, barely more than a girl, attempting to stay warm as snow fell all around. Winter had finally come.
The girl’s horse whinnied and pulled at its restraint. She looked up as the camera closed in. The angle shifted. The horse’s ear pivoted as it responded to a danger not yet evident on the screen. I readied myself for action as the camera returned to the girl’s face once more, her readiness to do battle all too clear. Then …
Then the scene froze and the infamous buffering wheel icon appeared on my screen.
[SHOCK & DENIAL] NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
I wanted to chuck my beverage at the screen and scream, but I’m a responsible parent now and trying to set a good example (and electronics are expensive) so instead, I waited. And waited. And waited. But the icon refused to go the way it came.
Fun Fact Number 1: Unplugging the device won’t solve all problems
[PAIN] Figuring my router had yet again decided I needed more exercise in my life (it’s considerate like that), I balanced on the precarious edge of my children’s toy chest, stretching up to reset it. (The idea was to place it high enough where the kids couldn’t accidentally break it, but unfortunately, as my eldest at eight-years old is already almost my height, this requires placing it higher than I can reach on my own).
I returned to the television. The buffering icon stared back at me. I am sure if it could laugh maniacally at me, it would.
[ANGER] Fine. This could have been so easy, but you’ve made your choice. It’s time to do this the ‘hard’wired way.
I yanked the power cord from the streaming device as well. See how you like getting interrupted, punk.
Fun Fact Number 2: A ‘User-Friendly’ interface does not actually mean the technology is your friend
When the streaming device woke up from its thirty-second power nap I expected it to be well refreshed and ready to get back to work. But instead of seeing the usual easy to navigate screen of channels options I’ve grown to expect, only two options were presented to me – I could go to Settings or My Computer. Only that was a lie too as neither option took me anywhere. It was the technological equivalent of being given the silent treatment.
[BARGAINING] Dude, I know I just said some mean things, but thought we were buds! Can’t we move past this? I promise, just let me finish this one show and I’ll leave you alone for the rest of the night. You can even have the rest of the week off if that’s what you want. All I want is just fifteen more minutes.
Fun Fact Number 3: In the age of the Internet of Things, devices are more connected than you think
[DEPRESSION] After working on troubleshooting the problem for more than more time than I’d like to admit, I decided to give up on the AppleTV for the night and watch from the Roku I have in another room instead. The TV and sound quality isn’t as good in there, but what other choice did I have?
While the device powered up, and the channel options showed, HBO refused to load. Now, this could be explained by a spike in users online, but I like to think that my AppleTV sent a light speed signal ahead of me to the Roku player, convincing it to take its side over mine. After all, they do share the same network. Blood might be thicker than water, but bytes can last forever.
Fun Fact Number 4: You’ll never understand how isolated you’ve become until you see the ugly truth play out on social media
In a last-ditch effort, I sent a tweet out, alerting the public to my plight, hoping to hear that I wasn’t the only one affected by technological misery. Instead, I saw Game of Thrones trending, and like the glutton for punishment I’d become, I foolishly clicked on it. As meme after meme scrolled down my screen, it was clear that there was still a virtual viewing party going on out in the cyber world. It was also clear, I was no longer invited.
I sobbed (okay I didn’t really, but I sure thought about it). [LONELINESS]
Fun Fact Number 5: One of the best technological advancements of all time remains the printing press (but even that still has its own problems)
I gave up and went to bed, taking a book to help put my troubled mind at ease. [THE UPWARD TURN] I could trust a book. [WORKING THROUGH] A printed page was reliable in a way a television show broadcast over the internet could never be. [ACCEPTANCE] Yes, I told myself, as the ending was partially spoiled already anyway, seeing those final minutes could wait until tomorrow.
Sure enough Monday night I was able to tune back in and see how the scene played out. It was just as good as I’d imagined. Satisfied with my successful television (sorry, it isn’t television, it’s HBO) screen time, I returned to my computer to print some unrelated pages I would need for the following day.
A message box appeared.
“Please replace ink cartridge.”
Proving there is reliability in the age of technology, it’s just the type of reliability that’s governed by Murphy’s Law.