Wednesday, August 27, 2008


July 23, 2008

Face it, the home computer/ethernet tech world is too complicated for us. A typewriter, file cabinet, plain old push button phone (remember those?) gives one far less headaches. So do paper, envelopes and stamps - in my book.

I’ve been having a great deal of difficulty getting on the internet lately and I’ve been on the phone a LOT with Bombay. First it was with the Dell people, now with the Windstream folk. One great thing about the latter is that they speak English VERY WELL. Unlike the former. And the Streamers really listen to you. Unlike the Dellies.

So I can’t get connected and I call the Streamers. I already know how to do a diagnostic test on their modem (the BLACK BOX). You don’t need an internet connection to do so. As long as you can bring up the browser window you can put in their ISP address. It takes you to their - I don’t know what it’s called...router page? It has a System Summary. There are two main Connection Summaries. They should be green. RED mean BAD. So if you see BADNESS you click on Tools and then Reboot. And you have to put in the code and then your modem lights up like a Christmas Tree with pretty flashing lights. You are re-setting the modem to factory defaults. (This is known as a soft re-set.) Why they would become un-set is not a question I’ve asked. (Of course there’s also a hard reset with a sophisticated pointed implement [pen tip] poked into the little hole in the rear. No comments please.)

After you’ve done that you click on Diagnostics and put in the appropriate Connection to Test parameters and it gives you the results. There’s the Connections in the Home; Connections at the Carrier; Internet Service Provider; and Internet Connectivity. Within those sections are a minimum of two and a maximum of four results. You want to see them PASS in pretty green. You don’t want to see the red (BAD) FAIL.

Since I would rather NOT have to talk to Bombay on a regular basis, I have written all these instructions down so I can do them myself. But it doesn’t really matter. There’s always something new wrong, or something new to learn to do.

So last week I can’t get connected and I run the tests and it says FAIL and I call. And it turns out that my Firewall (Zone Alarm) was suddenly blocking the internet . Why? Because they put in a new update, but the rest of the tech world hadn’t been informed and the update was not compatible with something else - Microsoft? I think. I’m told that a patch will be due out shortly. Swell. Meanwhile I’ve now learned if my service is down to first shut down my firewall, then my virus sweep and finally my spy protection. Which of course leaves me TOTALLY VULNERABLE TO ALL THE BAD PEOPLE OUT THERE.

That problem eventually gets solved. I think. Then once again I can’t get on the Net. I’m getting to know these guys real well by now. They use fake American names because they think we’re all too stupid to be able to understand, let alone pronounce their real names. I’ve talked to Kevin and George and Thomas. Whose real names were probably something like Kailash and Gobardhan and Jhareshwar. (The reason I know they’re made up names is because I asked and actually got an honest answer). Now before I call I first disengage all protective programs. If that doesn’t work I do a diagnostic test. One guy actually told me I knew more than he did! Fortunately most of them seem to believe and trust me when I say I’ve already done the test and give them the results. Perhaps they have notes on my file that say ATD (meaning this one Ain’t Too Dumb)

Well then I was told to go to Start and select Run and type in “cmd” and then ping Google. (I guess if you ping a known site and IT comes up, things should be working fine.) If this all makes absolutely no sense to you - WHY SHOULD IT? That’s my point. Why do we have to know all this STUFF??? It’s too complicated!

BUT, I now know it. And so I try to troubleshoot my own internet connection. Yeah. Everything starts to work fine again. Then it’s down. I run the test. FAIL. I call Bombay. I get a PASS. Great. Then it’s down again. Then it up. I feel like a boxer in a ring and I’m getting trounced. I begin to think I’m losing my mind. What is happening here? When I CAN get on it’s like molasses. So they tell me to do a speed check. Great. I learn a new bit. Got my very own internet Radar Gun, oh boy! Radar Gun says the speed is great. REALLY????? I put in one trouble ticket, then when they fix it, they close the ticket, only to have me open another one.

Meanwhile this is costing me HOURS AND HOURS of my time. And for what? So I can get some sappy “You’re my friend for life and if you don’t pass this on to 150 people in the next 45 minutes you’ll DIE!” forward???!!!! Or those reeeeeeaaallly cute Youtube rocking the puppy to sleep videos. AAAAaaaargh!

Finally we get a call from a local God bless America Southern drawling Streamer. He says “they’ve” been having some kind of trouble between Charlotte and Arkansas. He wishes he could get his hands on it to fix it, but it ain’t in his territory. But he THINKS it’s fixed now.

And you wonder why I’m afraid to leave my computer illiterate husband home alone with the computer when I go on a trip? He can’t even grasp the concept of a document being on the screen and still inside the computer at the same time, let alone what software vs hardware means. The fact that he can search for houses for sale on the Internet and compose and send a missives is a miracle.

These machines are miracles. When they work. But when they don’t.......


Dan said...

I am truly amazed at all of the connectivity problems you have. To be honest, I can't even remember the last time I had trouble getting online at home. Never, really. I have Comcast now and had BellSouth before that. It has always worked great.

The funny thing is -- now YOU can get yourself a job in Bombay if you wanted. LOL.

Giulia said...

"I can always get connected," says he, nya nya nya nya nya....

Yes, but then you'll never get to Bombay!

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

I would have no idea how to even call the people in Bombay. Hubby does all the computer stuff. I can barely turn on my cell phone.