I am doing my best to stay positive at the moment, but I am finding it difficult. The main problem, I have decided, is that the world is now run by a bunch of unscrupulous bastards with psychopathic tendencies.
We all fought hard (or at least aspired) to keep the internet a refuge of unregulated freedom, but now there is no such thing as a principled Internet Service Provider or a principled provider of any service at all. Everything and everyone is hi-jacked as soon as you poke your head around any door.
Here's just one little example of what I am talking about.
I need a couple of tons of a particular stone-like material which is - or seems to be - unavailable in this country in the quantity I want it. The best commercial source of it appears to be in Romania. The company is advertised in many different locations on the WWW, but getting in touch with the owners direct has so far proved impossible.
There are about 10 'directories' which list this company as one of their clients, but when you try to find contact details for it, you are invited - or required - to register with these companies as a paying member before they forward your enquiry onto the quarry themselves. They only give out contact information to 'premium clients'. They say they act as intermediaries, but in effect they are middle-men trying to make money by being obstructive. This is an old Mafia business model, but these days, the Italian marble companies - which are all run by the Mafia - are very helpful when compared to the techie up-starts. They actually protect you from the up-starts.
I decided to bite the bullet and register with one of these 'directories', because they appear to have eradicated any of the Romanian company's original website. I found this out by typing in the company's URL address, and was confronted with a page from another company which informed me that they had bought this URL and I would have to buy it from them if I wanted to use it. There are sniffer programs out there which pick up on many business URLs which are searched for, then snap them up in a quarter of a second before trying to selling them on to the people who could actually use them. You don't even need to sit in an office to run a business like this - the thing runs itself, 24/7.
So I began to fill out the lengthy form to register with just one of these directories, beginning with my name, address, telephone number, email address, then date of birth, nature of business, number of employees, annual turnover, VAT number, position within company, job description... then I thought, fuck this.
The directory listed the address and telephone number of the Romanian company, so I tried to call them up on the phone. 'Number Not In Use'.
I have written a letter to them and posted it via airmail. Let's hope the address has not been bought by an American internet predator to intercept snail-mail.
In the old days, you produced something, then you either sold it in bulk to a merchant, or you sold it direct to an end-user. We were all sold the dream of how easy everything was going to become by using the World Wide Web.
We are all a complete and utter bunch of naive mugs, and deserve everything we get.