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Archive for August, 2013

When you are as tethered to technology as I am, you know that losing Internet service, even for a few minutes, can feel like the start of the zombie apocalypse.

So when I got a “lost signal” alert while working on my laptop, I started to break out in a cold sweat and immediately called my cable service provider, which is usually about as much fun as going to your sister-in-law’s cousin’s nephew’s six-year-old’s violin recital.

I got a woman who proceeded to ask a series of confirmation questions to verify I was me. I suppose it’s common for criminals involved in home invasions to Skype with their nanas using their victim’s WiFi so one can never be too careful about tech support verification.

I can hear her tap tap tap on her keyboard to pull up all the account information and once it is established that I am, in fact, me, she proceeds to ask what lights are flashing on the router.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t keep all my electronics on top of my desk. The CPU, wireless router, external hard drive, and multiple spaghetti-like chargers for all my mobile devices (the office Blackberry phone, my personal Android-powered phone, and my Apple iPad), are all hidden underneath furniture. I do this to minimize the unattractive clutter of electronics while maximizing surfaces for other important matter like the three months of unopened mail, post-it notes containing tidbits for the next great American novel, and two years worth of receipts that I will get to the accountant someday. Soon.

After locating a small flashlight I keep in the junk drawer for emergencies I get on all fours and begin reporting to the tech lady which lights are flashing while making a mental note that I truly must vacuum more often underneath things. The light labeled “Internet” is not on and neither is the WAN coax light. “WAN or LAN?” she asks. “WAN” I respond. “LAN?” she asks again. “No. WAN! W…A…N!” I respond.

W…A…N. She tap tap taps on her keyboard.

Okay. Now she instructs me to turn off the router and disconnect the coax cable. This requires me to reach behind the router, feel around for the switch, and then using both hands locate the coax cable to unscrew it. Done.

She tap tap taps on her keyboard.

Now locate the splitter and unscrew the coax cable from there, she commands. I follow the cable to the splitter and find it in another room above the door. So I grab my ladder from the closet and begin climbing. As I am midway I inform the lady what I am doing to which she responds that there is no need, because if the splitter is that high up, chances are nothing bit through the cable there. Nothing bit through the cable. She was looking to see if something might have bit the cable. She might have shared this little tidbit with me earlier before I stuck my hand behind things blindly feeling my way around.

I carefully reconnect everything and turn on the router. It’s a no go. The WAN (W…A…N) coax light is still not on, and neither is the Internet.

She tap tap taps on her keyboard.

Now she asks if my VOD is working. I go to the television, turn it on and discover I cannot access Video on Demand either. Turn off the set top box to reset, she informs while she tap tap taps on her keyboard.

Still nothing.

So after about 45 minutes of this, she announces she is going to try something. She tap tap taps. Clicks her mouse. Tap tap taps some more and VOILA! All the lights go on. I suddenly have access to VOD. My iPad can access the web. All is right with the world. Tragedy has been averted.

I ask what I did so that if I encounter this problem again, I know how to fix it. She says nothing. The problem was on their end.

The obvious question? Why would you have me crawling, climbing, disconnecting and reconnecting, if at the end of it all, you just needed to tap tap tap on the keyboard to resolve the issue? Well, she says, the procedure calls for the customer to troubleshoot the problem first.

Is it me?

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