Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Getting Connections

Since 1996, our comfy little cave has been connected to that outside world of Internetia by telephone dial-up. The little engine that could of connectivity. It served us well and our provider was a small and local company that quickly responded to any problems. Heck, you were even able to talk to the prez of the place if it happened to be his shift. He kept his finger on the many pulses of the place; no pre-recorded polite androgynous voice going through a litany of questions before exhausting the reportoire of problems they would deal with, none of which one, of course, I was calling about!
Unfortunately, humans being what we are, we "evolved" into demanding, time-conscious speedoholics. A T1 line at work didn't help either; it was a daily drug promoting home use. Our quaint little provider was unable to provide the necessary hit. So, at least in this area, we were stuck with Comcast or Verizon, cable or DSL. After going through a simple analysis of needs, costs, and hook-up troubles I've heard discussed by well-mannered folks, who descended to obscenity-laced pontificating, we opted for DSL.

Verizon Communications is a portmanteau of the Latin word veritas (meaning truth) and the English word horizon. Which is all fine and dandy when one is in a boardroom in a " Naming and Branding Meditation Garden" discussing the diabolically odious "process of planting ideas in other people's heads". (Not that all copywriters are diabolical or odious or some combination of both).
However, when you are on the other end of the phone with what is supposedly a communications based company, it gets a bit frustrating since you've been on hold trying to communicate. Perhaps it was my mis-understanding of that word, communicate, that was causing this problem. As stated in definition variation #7, to communicate is to "transfer information from one molecule, cell, or organism to another, as by chemical or electrical signals or by behaviors." I was simply one moecule and my signals were probbaly not of the chemical nor the electrical type. That would explain why it took over an hour, on two successive nights, to get through. My signals were alkaline when they should have been acidic.
Yes, the calls were toll-free.
Yes, the respondent was apologetic and patient. Although, does reading a corporate statement of apology connote being apologetic? It's like the drone of "Our Father" in church; is it praying or simply expelling breathy sounds?
Signing up was incredibly easy and minimally time consuming.
It's the hooking up...Well, I won't go into the details. Boring and you've all probably been through similar globs of wasted time. Just a note that I'll be suing Verizon in a few years as the length of time I had the cordless phone pressed to my ear listening to their idiotic suggestions of how I can solve my own problems will have planted the seeds for either brain cancer or dementia. So, Yo Verizon! Have those settlement coffers open and ready to plunge into.

Ok. Ok. I just have to add one more gripe.
Verizon is a communications company. I'm taking a giant leap here and assuming that that means they know how to communicate. Turns out my (non)connection problem had to do with a line problem outside my house, i.e., something on their end of things. They had to come out to check the situation. They needed me to be there since access to their board was in the back of the house, which they could not get to unless someone was at home. Here now the discussion lining up their visit.

Verizon: We can have someone out there on Tuesday.
Me: What time?
Verizon: Between 8:00 and 5:00.
Me: I can't take off the whole day waiting for a techie to fix your problem. Can they call me an hour before?
Verizon: I'll put a note in the workorder, but we can't guarantee they'll call.
Me: O.K.
Verizon: So, that means you'll be there when they're there...
Me: Yes, as soon as they call, I'll be there within an hour.
Verizon: We can't guarantee they'll call.
Me: I can't guarantee I'll be there unless they call.
Verizon: Then, you won't be there?
Me: I guarantee I'll be there if you guarantee your folks will call me prior to arrival.
Verizon: Then, we can't come. Not without your guarantee.
Me: Aren't you in the communications field? Can't you communicate with me?
Verizon:..But we can't guarantee we'll communicate.
Me: I thought you folks were better than Comcast? They said they could guarantee a call...
Verizon: O.K., we'll call.
Me: Guarantee a call?
Verizon: Uhmmm, o.k., guarantee.

We'll see how this all turns out. I already miss my little internet provider. They didn't provide telephone service, but they sure did know how to communicate.

Ooooo, DarkoV, you're going out on one iffy limb, there. I'll bet you 50 bazools they won't call.

I'm a Comcast guy, myself. Never had a problem.
I lied. To Verizon. Comcast never guaranteed me anything; asking them for a phone call prior to a potential installation only resulted in a muffled chortle. Talking to Comcast was very similar to talking to those "NO"-sayers on the CapitalOne commercial. So....at least I got a guarantee (of sorts) from Verizon. In our neck of the woods, once you're hooked up with Comcast all is well. Unfortunately, I've heard horror stories leading up to hook-up. I'd make the bet, but I think I'd have to cross the Delaware Memorial Bridge to cash in my bazools. Unless, of course, "bazools" are either a type of pasta or breast implants. Cashinig that in may present a problem, so I'll take a rainer on that bet.
That picture looks an awful lot like my last EEG.
that dialogue reads like early Pinter
Our local cable company holds us for ransom provides our internet high-speed silver bullet access. They only charge a few liters of plasma daily.
Maybe it's Pinter's EEG.
I have some hair-raising stories about Concast. In Delaware, Wilmington to be exact. It took them 4 tries to get my Internet hooked up, and it's still sluggish.
I am out West and Qwest did really well, no they could not guarantee a time, but showed at the begining of the time to expect them and I didn't even have to be home, once I was there to show the guy where stuff had to be, I had a class, went on to class, nema problema.
We have had the ocasional router problem but they fixed it quicly and told us how to trouble shoot it. My son is an ex tech support guy so I let him do the talking, and all was well.
Service could be a little cheaper as far as I'm concerned but it hasn't been bad either. IF the local carrier had offered DSL, we would have gone with them, they're only down the block and majorly nice people, not to mention their service is inexpensive! But we needed more ooomph than dialup has.
I have had DSL for over 5 years with SWBELL. We have problems at least once a year. But they don't require us to be at home if the problem is on their end of the interface box. Apparantly they have the right to go into our back yard, just like the meter readers do. Most of the time that is where the problem is. We have a lot of construction in the neighborhood and the line gets compromised somehow when new installations go in.

Happens to the phone too. Last month we realized that we were actually receiving our neighbors phone calls. Apparantly they had switched the lines.

The only other problem is that the router/modem goes out every 2 to 3 years. When you call for service they can tell you over the phone (all the way from India!) whether the problem is your modem or on their side of the interface.
To all of you folks commenting and commiserating, my apprecaition. The troubles (and in comparison with other world calamities, I apologize for such a strong word) were resolved and we're a happy lot now that we're up to speed with the careening world around us. Things are going well, for now, although, I'm waiting for that other shoe (and there's a closet of those, aren't there) to drop, an inevitability, as Bill portrayed.
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