Thursday, August 03, 2006

Amateur Hour

Yesterday I left work at my assigned-ish time, returned home, and began the depressing task of getting back on my expensive never-to-be-used mobile phone with Charter’s tech support. I called and got the latest junior high student hired, friendly and with all the tech knowledge of your average french fry. Over the course of the next hour, most of which was spent on hold, he decided their equipment was just fine and that I should contact my computer’s manufacturer, Gateway 2000 (motto: Mooo! We suck!).

I did that and got a woman with such a heavy Southern (country) accent that even I had trouble understanding her and vice versa. She asked if they gave me a sofa with my cable modem. After a few rounds, I deciphered that to mean “any software”. Another forty-five minutes later, most of that spent on hold while their tech amateur consulted with her colleagues, and she firmly announced that the PC was in full working order and the problem must be with the cable modem. At least I was able to teach her the proper way to use the ipconfig command before I signed off.

I tried to connect the modem to my PC via USB wire, which worked well (instant connection, plus it recognized the device as a cable modem) up to the point where it wanted to install a driver to support the connection. I had not been given any software by the cable company and Windows XP didn’t have anything compatible, so it wanted to search the ‘net for a driver. Does anybody see the trouble here? “Before we connect to the Internet, we need to connect to the Internet to get a driver to allow you to connect to the Internet.” I let it try, and it failed spectacularly.

I called Charter’s no help desk again to see if I could get a driver, and this time got a woman who sounded like she had actually seen a computer before coming to work that day. I tried to get her to revisit my problems, but once she discovered a colleague had blamed my PC, she refused to go farther. I asked for support with the USB connection, to which she informed me that I was welcome to try, but they didn’t support using the modem that way.

Apparently, it was up to me to fix the problem. Ah, nostalgia – just like the good old days with BellSouth. It occurred to me that BS had never once solved any of my problems either, except the time they gave me a bad modem and then graciously allowed me to take vacation time so I could meet their schedule and allow a technician to charge me for driving to my apartment to replace it.

This paragraph will be filled with technical jargon and will likely emasculate those of you who don’t have my godlike understanding of computers, so feel free to skip ahead. I looked at the back of the computer and noticed that the blinky flashy things on the network card weren’t doing their blinky flashy thing. One light was solid green, the other solid dead. If I remembered my office PC correctly, they were supposed to be as active as a pair of Labradors on meth in a room filled with squirrels with ADHD. So, since the loopback pings said they could communicate with the PC and its Ethernet adapter, and the cable people could communicate with their modem, the failure must be the wire between the two or within one of the jacks. I bought a new cable and a network card (both were cheap, and it helps to have backups for testing), fiddled with my computer, and discovered the problem was indeed with the Ethernet adapter. The new card’s blinky flashy thing (only one this time) flickered like it was supposed to, and after a few minor adjustments I managed to reconnect.

Note to self – in the future, just do it your damn self and save your mobile minutes for ordering pizza.

Anyway, after solving my PC issues, I got to return to work for a late night teleconference to help some other people solve their database issues. Feckin’ Aussies – why can’t they be on Eastern Jebus time like the rest of the civilized world?

I now officially hate computers and all things hi-tech. That’s why I’m blogging this post via smoke signals. Try not to get any soot on your screen.

15 comments:

hellbunny said...

I gave up phoning those helplines after one guy told me i had to uninstall then reinstall windows.Not knowing zip about computers in those days i did and lost all my data of course.Then i found out that it was only a minor programming problem that could of been fixed by system restore.Never again did i phone for help.

H.E.Eigler said...

Wow - I think farts are funny AND I understood all that technical jargon. Does that make me a lesbian? Or some kind of transsexual? Someone better explain things to my husband.

Enemy of the Republic said...

I had a recent situation. It's so ugly and terrible that I cannot bear to relive it again. I admire your courage in blogging this trauma for your reading public.

Kira said...

One of the cable guys who came out to my house described intimately the lack of real skills the folks often had who worked for Charter...and he worked for Charter. Now that inspired confidence.

TTD said...

LMAO! I know the feeling of dealing w/ big companies technical sppt.. b/c it's NEVER their problem.. they ALWAYS blame it on someone else... i only call them when i know everything on my end is right & their shit is screwed up elsewhere...

~Deb said...

Ugh, help desk hell. I'm on a mac right now because I downloaded way too many porn...haha, ...actually opened a vicious little email spam thingie...that ate up my entire computer. It's in computer hospital now.

Circe said...

"Blink, flashy, thing." Oh my! My poor head is spinning from such technical jargon. Brb whilst I obtain some healing aspirin...........

Grant said...

hellbunny - yeah, they're better avoided if possible.

hee - tell hubbie you feel compelled to apply for a sex change operation.

enemy - hopefully your anecdote ends with "...and so then I shot them."

kira - thanks for sharing AFTER I subscribed. :p

ttd - I'm going to try to avoid them from now on. My next computer, I think I'll avoid paying for support if I can.

~deb - that sounds as scary as calling tech support. You should try reviving it yourself with an exorcism.

circe - as a man, I automatically understand computer thingys better than any of your kind. :p

Tony said...

cough, cough, sputter...can't breathe, too much smoke.
Laughing too hard.
Shouldn't have read this and the previous posts together..ROFLMO...and coughing

Thanks. I needed that.

Grant said...

tony - you're welcome. BTW, I forgot to mention that at CompUSA where I bought the stuff I got stuck with a trainee cashier. At least the night's theme was consistent.

messiah said...

s'okay - the soot wipes off.

nothing is as much fun as teaching someone else's technical support how to do their job.

glad you got it working (but i'd suggest downloading and storing that USB driver, just in case ;)

fatty ~ said...

you guys are just stuck in the past and we have to lose sleep compensating for that fact.

Tracy Lynn said...

Yeah, I trust the Time Warner techs, after I get past a certain level, but the Gateway techs are morons who fill me with hate. (Long story)

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