Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Toe in the Stone Age

Whew! That was a close one.

I tried to log on to the net this afternoon, and noticed my DSL modem shining a bright RED light, where it should have been happily blinking the cheery green light of connectivity to the Internet. A quick click on an Explorer icon confirmed the worst.

My stomach sunk. There are few things more useless than a computer without Internet access, except maybe a blogger without access. And this stuff always happens on Friday.

I went through the usual rigmarole, trying to keep my cool; Check cable connections, test it. Check internet options, test it. Check firewall settings, test. Tension building. Run troubleshooting program, test it. Switch wires with old ones at the back of my now emptied out closet, test it. Collapse back in chair and sigh. Pick up the phone and call Verizon.

Must. Have. Internet.

When I first got the DSL hooked up there was some confusion with the set up and billing, that seriously took over two weeks and about two dozen phone calls to straighten out. I feared I had awoken that beast again.

Sure enough, the first support tech I reached, while eager to help, could barely speak English. It also sounded like she was calling from Times Square on new years eve. It was amazing we got anything accomplished, sometimes I had to just guess at what she was trying to direct me to do. We stuck to it for almost an hour before she decided it was probably a computer problem and not a modem/Internet problem. She gave me a Dell support number and wished me luck.

The Dell support guy turned out to be a real trooper too. For the next 3 hours we tried every weapon he could pull out of his computer debugging repertoire. I was command-prompting and safe-mode pinging like an old pro by the time he too, admitted he was stumped. I was wiped out. My eyes hurt. I was hungry. I felt like I had gotten a lethal dose of microwave radiation to my head from the now red-hot cell phone. I wondered if it was going to explode in my ear any moment, like I've heard the phones do in Europe.

I got a glass of water and took a break. I had been here before. I can't let it win. I sensed the problem was in the modem, not the computer. I gave Verizon one more call.
I told my sad tale to the cheery voice at the other end. She quickly and calmly directed me to perform a couple tasks, and then enter a new password and ID for the modem.

The green light began to blink. I blinked in disbelief. Seconds later, an internet page sprang to life on the screen in front of me. I think I choked up a little. I thanked her profusely for fixing in minutes what I and two other techs had just wasted hours trying to do.

Genius support tech lady from India; These random sky/cloud pics are for you:


Mary E.Carey said...

OMG, I felt your pain as I read this wonderful post, Tony. I would never have had the fortitude or perseverance in getting the problem fixed that you did, though. I ask my boyfriend to fix anything technical and just hover around like I'm going to kill him if it takes him a while. (I don't know what we should plan to have first a bloggers summit or a bloggers anonymous meeting.) What great cloud pics. I noticed that pileup of small clouds in the distance as I drove to the airport yesterday.

-C said...

I frequently read your blog and enjoy it very much, as I am an outdoor adventurist in the area.

On a side note, I noticed your blog about your DSL modem. I also notice that Verizon tech support generated a new username and password for you, from what I gather?

I work for a computer support company in the area and frequently go in to clean up the mess that Verizon occasionally leaves.

Sometimes when they reset your password it expires in the next 24-36 hours as a security precaution. So...if your internet goes out again in the next day or so you know why. You'll have to call them up again, have it reset again, and ask them how you can log in and change it yourself (which removes this 24-36 hour reset. I beleive you do that from the account management page, but ask them to be sure.

Hope that helps you!

Tony said...

Hi Mary, It turned the Dell guy was located in the Phillipines, almost directly on the other side of the globe. I turned him on to the Pioneer valley blog-sites while we were waiting for a system restore program to run. So amazing what we can do nowadays, and how quickly it can come to a screeching halt!

C, it ended up being a password/username issue with the modem itself, we had to set it up on the Westell (modem mfg.) website.

I think I know exactly what your talking about, the problem with the Verizon username expiring. That issue actually was part of the original mess I had with them when I first signed up with DSL about a year ago. It was a horrendous ordeal.

Thanks for the tip, and thanks for checking out the blog!