March 10, 2004

Sgt. Hook Saddling Up.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:32 pm

Sgt. Hook, a dedicated soldier, great writer, and all-around great guy, is moving out to Afghanistan. His soldiers should consider themselves lucky to be led by such a fine man.

I wish him the very best, and I hope he manages to get his hands on a computer over there. Unlike me, he’ll most certainly be able to whip the thing into submission.

Good luck, Sarge. When you and your soldiers collar Osama, please tell him that this is another “Royal Irish Ass” he can kiss.

I Hate Computers -Follow Up.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:21 pm

computer smashed.jpgI considered doing this post as an “Update” to yesterday’s ravings, but I decided that it probably can stand alone.

First of all, I would like to thank all those, especially Dan and Craig, for the advice. I would also like to thank all of you for reading what was probably my least-edited, most angry post ever. Had I written it today, I believe I could have squeezed lots of yuks out of my four-hour beating that administered by so-called “support” folks. In fact, if someone would have recorded my interaction with the fellow from India, I believe it would be a laugh riot. The recording that one listens to for an hour before getting to speak with someone at Dell states that the call “may be monitored for quality control purposes.” I sure as shit hope someone monitored mine.

I figure that if I did not have a stroke last night, I’m good to go for many years. For instance, when someone whose English is weak indicates to me that they have not understood something I said, I typically repeat what I said, but I say the words much slower and clearer than I did the first time. This guy never did that. On those many, many, many occasions when I told him that I hadn’t understood him and requested that he repeat what he said, it was as if he pressed “play” on a recorder and played back the exact same unintelligible sing-song crap – same speed, with no attempt to speak more clearly. It was mentally and physically exhausting.

Anyway, here’s the update.

The gentleman from Bombay or Calcutta or from wherever did in fact call back as promised – Well, almost as promised. Instead of calling back in a half hour, which would have meant a call at approximately 11:15 PM, he called back at 1:15 AM and awakened me from a deep, but cyber-nightmare-filled sleep. He wanted to know if the problem was “all better now.” I have to assume that he thought that God or Krishna must have intervened in the ninety or so minutes since we last spoke.

I ambled sleepily over to the computer, just to be able to answer his stupid question righteously, as I knew damned well the problem wasn’t fixed. I said, “No. I am still getting the same error.”

He seemed genuinely surprised. “Eet is not better, suhr? Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am sure.”

After a pregnant pause (there were lots of those), he said, “OK, suhr, I vill call you in a few days. OK?”

I thought, “Call me in a few days? Why? A movie and a vegetarian dinner, maybe?”

When I got to work today, Mike, one of the IT guys, just happened to stop by, and I shared my story with him, including the part about my rage-driven bad blogging. He was howling with laughter until I told him that both of the support people insisted that I had to “re-add” my TCP/IP. He stopped laughing and said, “Both those people are full of shit.” At this point, I was thinking, “Great. Dueling IT geeks. Who needs this?” But Mike continued, “If you blogged about it all, that means that your TCP/IP was just fine. My experience is that problems like yours are almost always caused by a bad e-mail clogging up the system.”

He then told me how to get to my e-mail on the web (I have had Comcast for years and never knew I could do that. I know, I know. Color me pathetic.) and said, “You can probably fix it from here.” Within three minutes, I opened web-mail and deleted all the e-mails I did not recognize.

I then read the comments to my post and saw that Dan and Craig had suggested the same fix. Mind you, that is exactly what the Comcast person the night before had said (i.e. that “a corrupt e-mail” caused the problem), and I specifically asked Comcast Lady No. 2 and Gunga Farookin’ Din whether that could be the problem, and both insisted that, “Nooooo. It is a much bigger problem.” Neither of these “experts” ever asked me whether I could connect to the internet. Unbelievable.

The ultimate test came when I arrived home earlier and clicked on Microsoft Outlook, and out poured my e-mails. Eureka!!

A couple parting thoughts:

To Comcast:

Try to find people who know what the hell they are doing, rather than reading from a script and having sorry asses like me (and, believe it or not, people even more computer illiterate than I) running in circles and needlessly screwing around with their operating systems, fer Chrisssakes.

To Dell:

If you know that your customers will have to report an “alpha-numeric” number in order to have someone speak with them, how about putting the gott-damned thing where it can be seen without pulling the computer out of a dark, wire-filled hole and thereby risking unplugging some of that spaghetti.

If you know that your customers will have to identify the model of the gott-damned computer, please do not put it in teeny letters at the very bottom of the tower. Reading things that are a half-inch from the floor is a bitch with progressive bifocals, Sparky. Try it some time.

Finally, you should know that in about a year I will be ready to purchase a new computer. You had damned well better believe that I will make it my business to find out if a company’s support staff: (a) speaks English, and (b) has any farookin’ idea what they are talking about.

Oh, and one more thing. The offshore phone connection stinks. It is full of static and often cuts out, making the unintelligible Hindiblabber even more difficult to understand, if that is possible.

To Cousins Annie and Gary:
Yes, on reflection, it is clear that I probably caught some of the “Uncle Billy genes,” which is both frightening and flattering, because, as we all know, even with all his foibles, he was one of a kind. Take heed, however, for you are part of the same gene pool, as is Jack (the Kerry thing notwithstanding). I must say that your comments got me to thinking fondly about ol’ Uncle Billy, which in turn prompted me to promise myself to write an Uncle Billy post in the near future. Stay tuned.

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