Opinion » Cybernaut


Online with technical support



"Do you really love it... underneath it all."

I know that Gwen Stefani song is going to be in my head all day, but I have no choice to keep listening - I'm on the phone with technical support, and waiting to hear why I can't get on the web today when everything was working fine yesterday.

Let me back up a bit. My wife and I no longer get paper phone bills, and there was some recent confusion over our pre-authorized payments when the family credit cards were renewed. So we tried to access those phone bills online to see when payments were made, and were informed we needed to enter a user name and number, which neither my wife nor I had used for probably two years. We couldn't remember them.

So my wife called technical support, and in the process of getting a new user name and number she asked a few questions about our long distance plan. The good news is that we didn't use our unlimited long distance plan enough to justify the extra $25 a month, and so we managed to switch to another plan that could save us about $30 a month if we keep our gabbing under 200 minutes. Then we were informed that this plan came with a higher speed Internet service than we had previously been receiving.

The only problem is that the modem we had been using was an older model that wouldn't work with our faster Internet speeds, but luckily we had a newer modem in the house we've never taken out of the box. So we hooked the new modem up and got nothing. Then we hooked the old modem back up and got nothing.

That brought up our second call to tech support that day, where we were informed, eventually, that the system was being switched over and should work fine tomorrow.

Tomorrow came and still no Internet. I called technical support, but was cut off by accident when we were put on hold. Then we called back, and spent half an hour telling the technician on the other end which lights on the modem were blinking. We tried it with the wireless router plugged in, by plugging the cable directly from the modem into our Mac and then to an HP laptop. No dice.

In between we had some fun figuring out different IP addresses and switching between Automatic and DCHP settings, while they tested the connection from their end.

Long story short, they arranged to send a technician to our house the following day to test our outlets, which were working fine the day before, but I managed to get the old modem working with a bit of technical wizardry (no idea what I did) and cancel that visit after spending another 25 minutes on the phone with technical support.