OPINION: I love technology, but only when it behaves

Raelene HallMidwest Times
Virtual conferences allow for opportunities for multi-tasking, such as shelling eggs for lunch.
Camera IconVirtual conferences allow for opportunities for multi-tasking, such as shelling eggs for lunch. Credit: Raelene Hall/Supplied

Last week, I should have been in Tasmania at the Federal Council of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (Aust) annual conference.

I could have made a snowman in my spare time!

Once again, COVID-19 put paid to plans and so the Federal council of this organisation spent months working on setting up a virtual conference to replace our usual face-to- face event.

I wouldn’t even like to think of the many hours these fabulous volunteers have put in to learning how to conduct a virtual conference.

Some may feel a virtual conference would be an easy swap to the work of convening a face-to-face event but when your conference delegates are scattered, not just across Australia, but across the rural, regional and remote areas of the country, it’s no piece of cake.

I had my day planned so I could be present at the virtual conference in WA time. I’d walked the dog, had breakfast, made the bed and fronted up to the office to turn the computer on in plenty of time for our 8.30am start.

That’s when Murphy reared his head.

My normally reliable satellite internet showed an ominous white light on the modem. It should have been a lovely bright blue. This did not look promising. Being lucky to have a little mobile coverage (which can be very temperamental), I was able to get a message to one of our Federal councillors.

Her answer left me not knowing whether to laugh or cry. The NBN Sky Muster satellite system, so many of us in ICPA and the bush rely on for internet service, was down across the country.

Not in just one little pocket but across the board.

So what to do? Like ICPA (Aust) have always done, we forged on. Some of our Federal council were together with a reliable internet, others were at home.

Some branch members had already arranged to be at a library or similar place, so they had access. Others were able to log in to the platform being used on their phone.

At 11.40am (WST), my modem still had a white flashing light, so the satellite was still out.

Yet we had moved through some of the program, members had voted on motions and our Federal president was keeping her cool.

I love technology, but only when it works!

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