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Welcome to Athens … er, Reykjavík

First news item currently up on the Morgunblaðið website: Today, people in Reykjavík are asked to limit use of their cars, not to have them running in a stationary position and those with respiratory illnesses are advised to stay indoors.

Why? Pollution!



Who’d have believed it would come to this? Iceland, the most pristine place on the planet, scoring seventh on The Economist’s list of countries with the highest living standard, image of purity everywhere … is practically on par with Athens in the pollution-scare department.

(Sh)It happens. As does smog, apparently. When you get days as beautiful as today, with lots of frost and no wind, it just hangs in the air in Reykjavík with nowhere to go. So that annoying wind that blows incessantly (almost) actually serves a purpose, it would seem. It blows our pollution down to Athens.

Meanwhile, back at the keyboard:

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SNARKY TECH PEOPLE?

There once was a time when People Who Understood Technology occupied an exalted place in society, way above the poor undifferentiated Clueless class. By virtue of their position, they had the full and uncontested authority to treat everyone else like an idiot. Which they generally did.

Thus it is with some bafflement that I report that the tech people I have out of dire necessity had to enlist the services of over the past while have been among the most charming, polite, friendly and helpful people I have ever come across.

It all began when I switched to a wireless ADSL connection from Og Vodafone. There were complications, the damn thing didn’t want to cooperate and YT was like a yo-yo back and forth between the Og Vodafone shop and home. But – wonders! – the tech guys were amazing, did all they could to accommodate me, finished the work exactly when they’d promised (sometimes even sooner), called to advise me on things like they said they would, went out of their way to search for a CD-ROM I thought I had left in the disc drive and called me to apologize for not finding it, and even responded with utter poise when I poured my irritation into their unsuspecting ears over the phone.

YT was truly humbled.

A similar thing happened a couple of weeks ago when the new digital de-scrambler entered our lives (see earlier post called Digital Blues or something). After the initial frustration of trying to beat the rest of the nation to getting through to a service rep, those same reps were always calm, always helpful, always resourceful (even when it was clear that they themselves didn’t know what the hell they were doing) … in short, went out of their way to help. And I mean that literally – one service rep even came over, to work on a specific problem. And fixed a couple of others in the process!

This morning I was once again besieged by helpful tech people. Picked up the laptop from Og Vodafone (it was ready well ahead of the time it was promised) and while there suspected they might have removed AAH’s precious SIMS game left in the disc drive. Within minutes the whole workshop was turned upside down in search of it – to no avail, because it was at home the entire time. Yet even after I’d left the premises the search continued, with the main suspect calling me while I was driving home to express his regret at not finding it.

Which begs the question: Is the world turning into a kinder, gentler place? Or is it just that all the kind, gentle people are entering the tech profession?

WEATHER

Yes, well, the forecast is for DON’T GO OUTSIDE AND BREATHE THE AIR! Sunrise 10.11; sunset 16.15.

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  • Clifford November 19, 2004, 8:25 pm

    I’m surprised you didn’t alude to the idea that back when techies were aloof and self-absorbed, Teachers were helpful and self-sacrificing; and nowadays a role reversal seems to have happened, according to stories of late.

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