Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Like the Swallows of Capistrano...I Have Returned.

If the temporary loss of my mouse was disorienting, the sudden and unexpected demise of our DSL modem was nothing short of earth shattering.

The new modem arrived today, after it wasn't shipped overnight last Wednesday.

Earthlink, my ISP for more than six years--after they assimilated me from Netcom--like most companies, have outsourced their tech support to India. I could launch a flat-out assault on outsourcing tech support, considering that's how I lost job #3, but that's not funny. I don't feel funny about that at all, and I'm sure if you've ever had to deal with anyone asking you questions off a list about a computer you know inside out, you've felt funny too, but not in the general "ha-ha" amusing clown way.

I have deep-seated paranoia about my past catching up with me. After all, the first thing I did back in 2001 with my late DSL modem was upload the Star Wars Holiday Special to alt.binaries.starwars because no one else would. My rip was crap, and required a special German codec to watch, but it lit the fire under the ass of whoever eventually made the current version that does the rounds, so I regret nothing.

After a few days of my service going off, but back on, I started to realize my account hadn't been taken away by irate but really slow Wookiee musical haters, but that something else was actually very wrong. I checked out the support page, and there were no reported outages, which only meant that there could be outages, but that the people experiencing the outages were unable to report them. I, however, had the power of dial-up, and a weak-ass slow power that is, too, so I reported an outage.

Earthlink gave me a credit for the outage and I happily skipped away to dinner, realizing only after several more hours of no service that something was actually very seriously wrong. I'm in the habit of checking for line noise, so I crawled under the desk with a DSL filter and my Queen Amidala phone for the twentieth time that week and, upon verifying no new line noise had appeared, made the terrible decision to call tech support.

What happened next was just the stuff of what I assume happens during bad drug trips. Other than the fact that I don't generally talk on phones, I'm the one who has to walk back and forth from the phone to the computer and verify that everything tech support is asking has been done 500 times so Mum had to figure out what the techie was saying then repeat it to me three rooms away while I fought the urge to get on with "James" and say a far more colorful version of, "The modem's just dead and please replace it before I say something I'll regret because not only do I have aphasia and forget 'Link' halfway down the hallway, but I'm pretty sure the modem is dead, but okay, because you're just doing your job and really don't know anything about computers beyond what's written down in front of you, I'll turn it off and wait four hours before declaring time of death."

The next day, thanks to a man I met on a newsgroup--which you can access over dial-up, unlike Earthlink LiveSupport which informed me my connection was taking too long--I took the lifeless modem outdoors, to the junction box, and plugged it in. Flat line. Call it.

Being Mum had already played me the day before on the phone, she called in to ask for the replacement modem. It would be sent overnight. "You will have it tomorrow," the techie codenamed James said.

We did not get it tomorrow. "It will take a day-and-a-half," we were told on the third phone call. James didn't put the order in, as a matter of fact, because he had technical problems and no one had bothered to put the order in after he went home. So I spent the next five days with my computer, offline and loving it like the good old days. I wrote; I played games; I kept up with my comic and posted the strips with the dial-up. I freed up ten gigabytes of crap I just never had the time to get to, and I swear I'll never let it get that way again. I hate to say it, but I missed very little.

I can't say I curse the day I ever found out about the Royston Utilities, I can't say the Internet is without great things, but I think I've learned to back the hell away and just use the Internet as a tool. You know, like WS_FTP, MP3Trim, and MetaPad. That doesn't mean I won't still be checking Cute Overload, but if it comes down to that or playing with my own cats, the hamsters in bras can wait.


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Ari said...

I'm in the process of re-evaluating the amount of time I spend online too. :) I wouldn't say I'm addicted exactly, but I spend way too much time here on this interweb thingy.