2010-08-27

Irony


I am reminded of the great pun from Spider Robinson's book Mind Killer that God is an iron - "If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron". Clever and tongue-in-cheek in typical Spider Robinson fashion.

Here at the dock we've had DSL for almost 2 years. Getting DSL installed here at the marina was a complete nightmare. It took well over a week for the local phone company to figure out how, and we have a list of, I think, 11 phone numbers of people I had to talk to at AT&T to get it hooked up. Remember when the local phone company techs and customer service knew what was going on? Me too! In fact, it took a local resident who used to be a PacBell tech to wire it himself and give the binding post and pair info to AT&T. Crazy.

Since we've had it, it's generally been pretty reliable. I mean, we don't get the promised 3mbps, but we'll take the 2.4mbps we do get. It's almost always working, which is good. I think they still send our bills to some previous address, because we've never got one. We have repeatedly tried to get them to fix our mailing address, and we can't accept mail at the marina. We just pay the amount we think we owe, and reconcile it occasionally beyond that with customer service. Again, crazy.

About 3 weeks ago, at 12:30PM on a Saturday, our DSL stopped working. We gave it a couple of hours, but still nothing. Now, I crimped all the RJ11 connectors myself for the twisted pair running through the boat, so I figure I probably got a bad crimp coupled with the corrosive marine environment. Everything looked good. Our loop is DSL only, so we can't plug in a phone to see if we get dialtone. So I called AT&T DSL support, and was directly routed to a foreign call center. Frank (pretty sure that wasn't his real name), asked me the usual dumb questions that I already tried, as we followed through his troubleshooting script. Finally, he asked if our modem was an AT&T supplied unit. Well, NO, it isn't. At that point, he said that because AT&T didn't supply the modem, I'd have to pay for a service call and that he would forward me to the appropriate department, where I'd have to give them a credit card number to come out and fix the problem. I asked if they would run diagnostics on the line. I got a fairly evasive answer, and was forwarded to the next call center. GREAT...

I hung up. Forget it. This is crazy. The only reason I have a non-AT&T supplied modem is because that's what AT&T told me to do! Seriously!!! About 10 months ago, the original modem we got with our service died. AT&T told me to go to a local retail store and buy a new one, so I did. What they didn't tell me is that I was apparently opting out of any support from them. Great, thanks AT&T.

So I stew and fume about it and all that good stuff for a few hours... And what do we discover? A few hours later the DSL is working again! OK, so they must have been "doing something" and messed up our line, fixing it later.

Next day.. It's a Sunday... Again around 12:30 our DSL dies again! What the heck?!?! This time, I don't even try to call support. Why waste my cell phone minutes on these idiots, right? We have a busy day doing other things and don't worry too much about it. Again, after a few hours we notice the right green LEDs are lit - we have internet again! All is good.

Soon we will be cancelling our DSL, Dish TV, and everything else that we have on our trip, so we decided if we have to live without DSL for a couple of weeks, we'll find some other way. And anyway, no issues for another couple of weeks so we didn't think much more of it. Internet is working great, gods are smiling upon us, all that good stuff.

Then, it's another weekend. About 11:45... All of a sudden, no internet. Hey, what is it with AT&T! Every weekend they kill our internet around noon. This is ridiculous. I already learned my lesson about the call center, so I recheck my connectors. Everything looks good... And then... (you were waiting for this part, right?)...

I look down at the dock, and I see our DSL cable going between two sections of the dock, where it isnt' supposed to go. That's weird, what's it doing there? I go down on the dock and check it out. The cable is smashed into the joint. I manage to pull it out and try and make sure the wires are straight with no kinks, and go look at the LEDs on the modem. Yep, that's right, DSL back in service! The problem was the cable being jammed between two dock segments.

But why did it only happen once in a while, and for around 4 hours? Simple - all about the tides! At fairly high tides it pinched the cable between the two docks enough to disrupt our internet. At all other times it was just fine!

Irony, pure and simple...

It's almost funny! I mean, now it is funny, but it wasn't then! All that only to discover the problem really was my problem, this time. I, of course, blame this on the last relatives we went sailing with...

Now I see that our Dish TV is having issues keeping a picture. I suspect that they moved the satellite into a different orbit or something. Where's that tollfree number for their customer service? I need to give Frank a piece of my mind...

2010-08-08

Website/blog refactored

Now that blogger has pages and some other new features, I've brought all pieces of the website into the blog as well as updating the look and layout of the blog to the new template system. It may take some time until all the DNS records are propagated and old ones expired in caches - sorry for any disruption to the blog or site during this time.

I also seriously looked at other free blog hosting. I really, really liked Wordpress - and I would have moved this blog there, except that Wordpress won't allow certain page elements for example the current position map (flash and an iframe). Blogger isn't quite so particular and picky, so the blog remains here!
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