I have been working of late in an internet cafe, which as everybody knows is a breeding ground for stupid questions about the internet.

The most frustrating part of this is the ignorance of people who won't learn, or won't understand. We get a lot of people who don't know the nuances of internet access and simply don't understand. But most of these people are willing to learn.

I'm talking about the people who come in and stare blankly at the "continue" button - although technically this isn't ignorant behaviour, it's simply obtuse. I'm also talking about the people who complain viciously about the fact that hotmail isn't working even though the cafe has had signs up saying so, and saying that we cannot guarantee its reliable service in the future.

Mostly I'm talking about people who hold you personally responsible for Hotmail's failure and don't see that they should pay for their twenty minutes of staring at a 404 since they couldn't access hotmail.

We insist they pay, but obviously a conciliatory tone is required to prevent escalation of the situation.

The gist of this tone implies that, "yes! we broke the internet!" But you still have to pay.

As an ISP phone technician, I've heard many ignorant questions about the way the internet works. Most of the time, I have a soft spot for the people who ask these questions, because I've been there. I used to be ignorant, too.

It's way too often, though, that someone calls in and asks excitedly, "Is the internet broke?"

At this point, ignorance is no longer a valid explanation. Common sense would seem to suggest that if the internet had indeed been broken, you would probably hear about it on the news.

Then again, if they're anything like me, they refuse to watch the television, and get all their news from the internet, so I guess I can forgive them.

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