May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Monday, October 29, 2007


"Keep holding the paper clip!"

#1. Today I came across this article, in which The Gap is investigating allegations of child labor, with respect to some factories in India where some lines of their clothing are made.

What makes me sad about it is that if those clothes are coming over here to the USA.... MOST AMERICANS DON'T NEED MORE CLOTHES!!! Perhaps we might WANT some newer apparel, or we see something with a pretty picture on it, but there are enough clothes to go around in the United States (though somehow the poor and homeless are still left a bit in limbo). A Gap ad comes on with a smiling model/celebrity who's life has been so enriched because she/he is wearing clothes from the Gap, and ppl feel the need to buy. Ugh. If I have clothes that are in decent repair, I don't need new ones. If they need repairing, I'd much rather have them patched up a bit unless they're supposed to be my dressy Sunday duds.

#2. Today I called Linksys tech support regarding the incredible (poor) performance of my router, and talked to a man who spoke English very well, with an Indian accent. The connection wasn't so good so there were quite a few times I had to ask him to repeat himself. Having worked in tech support, I understand that often they get total chowderheads calling who have no clue how to even run a computer, so given the propensity of tech support folks to have to talk down at a simple level, combined with me asking him to repeat, it was an awkward phone call. He started out telling me to look in the lower-left corner for the __asfh__ button. I asked him to repeat, and then heard him say "The Start Button" I laughed out loud. Next he asked me to click the mouse on it and let go. Then he asked if I could find "Run..." on the menu. I tried to tell him I knew what I was doing, but to little avail. We went to a cmd prompt, followed by running ipconfig and ping several times, with a 100% failure rate.

The other part where I laughed out loud was when I realized this absurdity: I was talking on a cell phone via satellites in the sky to a man in India who was (up during the middle of his night working and) telling me that I needed to keep holding onto a paper clip. The potential solution to this tech support riddle was for me to hold an unbent paper clip against a little recessed button on the router for 45 seconds, then to keep applying pressure to the paper clip while unplugging the power from the router, waiting another 30 seconds, then still applying pressure to the paper clip, replug the power and hold the paper clip for 30 more seconds. (Its a good thing I have two working hands, I thought.)

Anyway, during our 45 seconds and 30 seconds downtimes, he asked me briefly and casually if I'd ever been to India. I said "Not yet, have you?" He didn't reply, so I said I've always wanted to. That was the end of the small-talk and then we went back to ping I don't think he found my response humorous, but then again, I wonder how many people in the U.S. and elsewhere know that a large quantity of tech support jobs are going to India. I don't even see it as "outsourcing" any more. Multinational companies hire wherever they can maximize profit and get good workers. And eventually, that will level the standard of living around the globe.

Sure its likely that there will be more rich people in the U.S. than in developing countries, but it's not unlikely that there won't be more and more poor people being exploited in the U.S. if this pattern continues. When/if the sweatshops start showing up in Detroit and Fresno, then what? Will people then know where the cheap big-box store prices come from?

Anyway, I am grateful to the two gentlemen in India for their help, and hopeful that justice will prevail in the economy.

lyrics: Something by Coleman Barks on staying up praying all night.

colors: red. all these computer issues lately have got my patience down, and my fire up. :|

mood: fiery.

chant/prayer/mantra: shed some light

pax hominibus,

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Good thing you had a paper clip handy. While I use them all the time at work, I never use them at home, so when the inevitable need for them for tech support reasons arises, I don't have one, and need to tell the assistant that I am searching for one, etc. I'm then labeled a chowderhead, though the tech support person is usually nice enough not to say it in so many words. I now have a tech support paper clip, pre-bent, solely for this purpose.
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