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Talk therapy for tech support

Thursday 15 October 2009 —

On Monday, Chorus NTL, the internet service provider, had scheduled a tech visit. This would be the third one. But nobody came.

I rang them at about 12 o'clock. A man told me that somebody would be here before 1 o'clock. That's what "in the morning" means in Ireland, so we were still on schedule. He took my phone number and a technician would call me.... Nobody rang, nobody came.

I spent about an hour on the phone that day, after having stayed in for the morning waiting. The third time I called, I talked for twenty minutes with three people, the third of whom told me "actually, my supervisor isn't in right now."

One of the people I spoke with mentioned a tech appointment for the next day, Tuesday. I said no, I'm busy tomorrow, and I was available today. That's why I stayed home.

The next day, I left my phone at home and went for an examination procedure at the hospital. I got back to the house at 10:30. I went into the kitchen and stuck on the kettle. When I came back out through the entryway, somebody'd pushed a notice through the letterbox — Chorus had visited. They'd called this number and that number (one of them mine,) and... were gone. They had come to the door when I was home, and had not knocked on the door.

There was a missed call on my phone, 10:14.

I told the property manager that I'd had enough, and that I wasn't going to talk with Chorus anymore.

On Wednesday, yesterday, Catherine from Chorus rang me. She introduced herself as the one who had arranged for the "priority" visit on Monday.

She was looking into why the technician did not arrive. I made sure to tell her that somebody did come here on Tuesday, and that I was here, although I had not planned on it; I'd planned on Monday... and that nobody knocked on the door while delivering a "missed you" notice.

(In all the verbal perambulations of this call, one conspicuous feature was that at one point, when she was talking about how we're going to look into this and that and we're working on it, I asked what about that tech visit. There was one, she said... and she meant the one where they didn't knock on the door [as if #1 it was my fault, and #2 the tech visit was no longer an important part of the possible solution.])

She asked if it was possible to connect my laptop to the modem by cable and leave it that way for 24 hours. No, I said. The modem is two floors down in the common area. Oh, two floors down that might be the problem. No, I said, the modem itself goes out and everybody in the house loses connnectivity. We went over and back about this. She eventually conceded that what I was saying was "possible." "It's true," I said, and I heard the vacuum silence of a good Irish bird confronted with an unwavering statement.

The way she approached it was funny. She asked me "is [the wireless router] more than 30 meters (metres) away?" No, I said. "Is it more than 30 feet?" She was grasping.


She relaxed a bit, and was more friendly, when she recognized that, #1, I wasn't going to cooperate so much that I'd leave my computer downstairs for 24 hours to "rule out" some crackpot hypothesis, and that, #2, I was convinced that I was right.

I hate to write about technology. God dammit. I just want it to work. Sometimes it becomes the story, though.

But this is really more a story about an absurd reality, big business with a dirty soul intersecting with a lovely little country where things are done without even a pretense of efficiency.

And these people, these helpless peons in a big money-grubbing process, are trying to find a way to talk it away, to either pass it on to somebody else or to convince me that "maybe it's just this," or "maybe it's just that."

"Maybe-it's- or "maybe-you-should just" is almost always a sure indication that somebody's trying to bullshit somebody else, dodging to fob off some compromise non-solution.

Catherine was lovely, don't get me wrong. Once she understood that I wasn't having any, she settled down and admitted that she was getting this from above. What she was getting from above was that they were going to look into it.

She said her supervisor was going to personally monitor our connectivity for 24 hours. She said that somebody would ring me today.

The connectivity went out early last evening. I'll be interested to know if they caught it.

___ __ _____ __ ___

They didn't catch it. I got a ring today from a guy named Brian, who was kind of giving me a continuation of the conversation I'd had with Catherine yesterday.

Blah, blah, blah. Looking into it, my supervisor this and Catherine that and I-don't-know-what-happened-to-the-technician-on-Monday. All I wanted to know was whether or not Chorus had noticed that there was an outage yesterday.

Nope.

___ __ _____ __ ___

Then Chorus is not really monitoring it, hm? He said they've recorded that it's been online for 28.5 hours or something specific like that. I said but the internet went out yesterday.

That's all I know. I don't really need to know more. I just want it to work, all the time.

I sent a text to the property manager: "Pat, chorus is not doing anything. They're ringing me every day, basically giving me talk therapy. It's no good 2 me cuz the problem's not in m hed." Pat sends back "Ok."

A half-hour later, Brian called and he said he could see that the connection was not working at that moment. He wanted to schedule a tech visit. Okay, tomorrow morning. They'll call an hour ahead of time, he said.

Now, that, I've got to see.

___ __ _____ __ ___

I'm working offline, now, in mid-afternoon.


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