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I Knit Around

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Pre-Holiday Postus Interruptus

I'm writing this offline on Tuesday evening. I am hoping I may be able to post it on Wednesday.

It feels like I had a million things, as usual, to blog about. Can I think of a one? No.

Our DSL connection went bad today - the modem, specifically - and a replacement modem picked up at the office down the street failed as well. They were supposed to bring us yet another replacement sometime this afternoon, but that promise failed us when instead they called and left a message that said, "We tested the modem you brought back, and it works fine, so we need you to tell us what you'd like us to do."

How about you give us equipment that works? We've been with this service two years, and have had at least a half dozen modem replacements - and several of those were dead out of the box, so they really count more than once.

How about you pay attention to the fact that my husband brought in the replacement modem this afternoon, after spending much time on the phone with your technicians trying to get it to work and failing? That he told you it wasn't working and he was instructed to bring it in for yet another replacement? Telling us, "we tested it and it works fine," doesn't fix our problem, it doesn't address the fact that we had a DSL connection this morning and first our existing modem crapped out. It doesn't address the fact that the replacement he was sent home with the first time failed to operate, even under the telephone guidance of your own technicians. It doesn't answer anything.

What would we like you to do? We'd like you to provide, without unreasonable interruption, the Internet service we pay you for.

Face facts. Internet Service Providers are utilities now, like the phone company (which, actually, you also are), and like the electric company, like the cable company and the gas and oil. You are expected, like those other services, to provide reasonably uninterrupted access to the service you have contracted to provide us with.

You are expected to provide equipment that operates correctly out of the box. You are expected to listen to us when we tell you what has already happened with that equipment when it fails, and if you have to get back to us with an answer later, that answer is expected to account for and accommodate the information we provided you, not ignore it completely.

Since you were unable to comply with those expectations today, we are left without access to the Internet tonight. And for an unforseeable amount of time into tomorrow, too. Tomorrow, Wednesday - the day that Gryphon and I were going to spend finalizing our grocery shopping list for Turkey Day and running errands together to get ready.

Now, instead, I get to run the errands alone, while Gryphon likely spends a large part of the day wrestling with our telephone/Internet company to get our connection back in service, the day before a major holiday weekend begins.

Before you suggest that we find another service to sign up with, you need to understand. We're not with the major telephone company. When we moved into Wilton, the little, locally-owned Wilton Telephone Company, a true Mom-and-Pop operation (Stuart Draper now runs the Wilton Scenic Railroad), had just been sold to a company called TDS. TDS, as far as I can tell, is in the business of buying all the little non-Verizon-type phone companies around.

What that means for us is, as far as DSL is concerned, we don't get to go to anyone else. It's TDS or nothing. Our other broadband option is the cable company, but we still hear bad reports about the reliability of that service from friends who use it.

Truthfully, TDS DSL works great 99.9% of the time. Failures have almost always been in equipment, and previously, they've been pretty good about taking care of the problems. This time, for some reason, we seem to have some severe disconnects between what Gryphon reports to them and what they hear.

If you're reading this, we may have gotten our service back. Or we may have used the almost-useless dial-up option for just long enough to push this text up to my blog.

I would have hoped that if this sort of failure happened, I'd at least be able to spend time composing a decent post to put up when our service is back. Instead, as I mentioned before, I'm stuck. I can't think of a thing I wanted to write about.

The rhythm of my day has been severely disrupted. I follow something like 148 blogs that I read regularly. Many of them you know - Yarn Harlot, Mossy Cottage Knits, Grumperina, Queer Joe, Franklin's Panoptican, and The Knitting Curmudgeon among them. I catch up on blogs, I knit, Gryphon and I may run some errands, then I write my own blog posts.

Our DSL failure came early enough today I never got to read even one blog. The train of my day derailed coming out of the station. TDS kept us in limbo for the entire day about whether we'd be able to get this fixed, and effectively has kept that from happening until sometime Wednesday at the earliest. Assuming Gryphon can bring them to their senses.

I hoped to get a bit of rhythm back this evening. Tuesday is Craft Goddess day, when a certain group of friends come to visit and craft together at my home. We had planned to go ahead this week as usual in spite of Thanksgiving, but it seems that no one was able to make it after all. I had the table all set up and everything, and then wound up sitting alone.

It's all added up to make me feel very disconnected, out of touch, lonely, I thought I'd try to fill some of the time ripping my holiday music CDs to the hard drive, but I realize that's only setting up a task I can't truly complete - the computer can't go online to get the album information. I'll have to go separately to collect that for all the albums I rip tonight.

It's amazing how much the Internet connection is a part of our lives these days. When it works, it's seamlessly integrated into the majority of what I do.

My bull detector tells me I began rambling ages ago, so I think I'll leave it at that for now. Since I'm unlikely to be able to post this before Wednesday, you should probably expect this to be the last you hear from me until Friday at the earliest.

Thanks, as ever, for listening when I needed it the most.

Hugs to you all, and may you have much to be thankful for.

Edited on Wednesday to add:

Gryphon walked into the local tech office - not the main office - today. It's located just at the other end of the building we live in. Talking directly to the techs themselves was, as usual, the answer. A short while later, one of them walked up to our door with a new modem, which Gryphon plugged into the system and our problem was solved.

Sometimes it pays to live in a small town. Of course, one could argue that it's not reasonable under any circumstance that we should know the technicians for our DSL company by name, since we don't have any common social grounds for knowing them.

Gryphon and I are off to run our pre-holiday errands now. Have a happy one!

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