Thursday, August 20, 2009

Failure to Communicate

What we've got here is failure to communicate.

My computer modem died this past Monday. I've been through technological purgatory ever since.

First, I called my "provider." Oops, what a surprise--my warranty is expired! That will be eight million dollars to replace it (well, so it seemed). I asked exactly when my warranty expired but was told "I don't know" by my very helpful representative. Then how, I inquired, do you know it has expired? Oh, the field is automatically filled in by the computer when the warranty expires, she told me in a bored tone.

Excuse me, maybe I'm a cynic, but I told her I'd like to know my purchase date. Okay, she said, hold the line...and hold some more...long enough for me to eat a sandwich. She finally came back with the purchase date, less than two years ago. I decided I wouldn't be purchasing from that particular "provider" again.

So I stopped at the mall on my way home last night and bought a modem. Or is that a router? Oh well, anyway, the thing-a-ma-jiggy that hooks me into the Internet. This should be easy, right? I mean, I did all my training when I spent an entire Saturday hooking up my first, now-defunct modem. Just match up the wires and reconnect, no problem.

That was three hours and four phone calls ago, not counting transfers. Nobody I spoke with could help me, and that fact didn't seem to upset anyone except me.

To logoff of this story--I'm more tired of it than you are--I finally gave up on "customer care" and braved troubleshooting solo. I tried Wire A in Socket B, and presto! All systems were go. I haven't been so happy to see a row of green lights since last Christmas. So I figured I'd better try a blog post really fast, in case it was a mirage.

I often say that, to me, computers are like cars. I've been using both machines for many years, I know how to navigate the equipment to reach my destination, but I have absolutely no clue about what's going on under the hood. Go wireless, you say? For that, I'll need a chauffeur.