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Old 08-28-2012, 09:17 PM   #1
frankbell
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"What is this . . . ?" Adventures in ISP tech support


My cable modem gave up the ghost over the weekend.

I bought a new one and, day before yesterday, called up my ISP to bring it on line. After they "provisioned" it, to use their term, we could not get it to talk with the router, that is, the router could not get an IP address from the ISP. It's not like this is new to me, but nothing I tried with and without them on the phone worked. (I am not criticizing their tech support, here--I was as baffled as they and their support persons were reasonably prompt, asked good questions, and gave clear directions).

I arranged for a service call. Anticipating the techs, I booted the dual boot machine (set it up last week) over the Windows.

Their techs got here right on time, plugged it in, and everything worked. Before they did anything. (Darned computers.)

I guess they scared the modem more than I did. They were certainly bigger than me.

Anyhoo, as they were getting started, one of them sat down at my laptop, touched the mouse and said, "What is this? Some kind of Linux?"

I just said, "The Windows computer is over there."

Then he couldn't find the Windows menu because I have it set to the top of the screen . . . .

Oh, well, I thought it was amusing.
 
Old 08-30-2012, 07:06 PM   #2
nobuntu
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This made me laugh. Thanks
 
Old 08-30-2012, 10:42 PM   #3
towheedm
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Well, I can relate two experiences about ISP tech support. And since my ISP ent got no toll-free number and the hold time is long, imagine the phone bill.

The first time was when I got my cable internet connection. This was a 10Mbps connection and I was using Windows at the time. When I did a speed test, I was only getting about 2Mbps. So off to the phone and hold for about 30mins. Well the "tech" guys tried to convince me everything looked OK from their end. I told them that it was taking close to 100mS for a ping to their DNS servers. This should have been no longer than 2mS. They told me they could ping my cable modem at about 3mS average so there MUST be something wrong with my PC. Well I immediately accessed the status page of the modem and gave them the receive and transmit signal strengths and explained to then what they should have been according to the standards (cannot recall these ATM). The receive signal strength was fine but the transmit level was way lower than what it should have been. Of course they said I am not supposed to access that page because of blah blah blah. They continued to claim that nothing was wrong with the connection. At this point, I told them they can close my account and collect their cable boxes (I have four) and their modem by 12pm the next day, which was a Saturday, or else it I will toss them out myself. Now we were probably getting somewhere because they said they will do some further checks and call me back. Well, they did call back the next day and said the technicians tested the line and found an impedance mismatch and that someone would be out on Monday to sort it out. They came on Monday and they had to redo the termination on their distribution splitter. After that, the speed test consistently gave a 10Mbps D/L speed.

The connection worked just fine for about a year when they offered a 25Mbps connection for a very very small increase in price. Of course I went for it. Page load and downloads were super fast until sometime after where it would take about 15 seconds to load even the simplest of pages. I was still on Windows at this point. I D/L'ed a shareware network trace app and ran it. I pointed it Yahoo and got the ping results for all hops. I repeated the test to several other popular sites and compared the results. Off to the phones to talk with the "tech" guys. After explaining the problem, they said they could load Yahoo and other sites rather quickly and it must be a problem with my setup. I did not reveal the results of the test to them because I wanted to have some fun with them. Here's a synopsis of the conversation:

Tech:
Do you have a wireless router?
Me: Yes I do.

Tech: That's the problem, connect the PC directly to the cable and you will be fine.
Me: OK, I have done it and I still have the same problem. Unknown to them, I already did a 'ipconfig renew' command.

Tech: You need to do renew your DHCP address. Click on Start, Accessories and Command Prompt.
Me: Now what?

Tech: Type 'ping 200.1.104.35'. What does it say?
Me: Average time is 3mS, zero packet loss. But you said I need to renew my DHCP address. This is a ping command.

Tech:
<Pause for awhile> Yes, I wanted to make sure you had internet connection.
Me: But I told you the problem still existed after disconnecting the router.

Tech: <Pause, mumble in the background with someone else> The ping shows that everything is OK, you must have a virus. You need to get some anti-virus program and scan your PC.
Me: Dude, I pay an annual subscription for McAfee. I can guarantee you I have no virus. Oh, by the way, why does a ping to yahoo.com take about 500mS-1s?

Tech: You need to have someone check your PC. We can ping your modem in 1mS.
Me: <So now the fun is wearing thin> Listen, don't give me that effing bullshit. I've been into computers since probable before you were born and I'm sure I know more about PC's and internet connections and network stuff than you do. So stop trying to f**k with me. Do you have a problem with your outgoing internet connection?

Tech: Not that we know off, our internet is fine.
Me: Well then answer me this. These are the response times for all the possible hops to yahoo.com. PC to router is 0mS, router address to modem address is 0mS, modem address to your gateway address is 1mS, your gateway address to your dnsserver address is 0mS, dnsserver address to your outgoing gateway address is 0mS, your outgoing gateway to gateway address in Miami is 460mS, all hops from Miami to yahoo.com is 60-100mS. Why is the response time so slow between your outgoing gateway and Miami, do you have a problem with that connection?

Tech: How do know all this?
Me: <In a rather harsh tone> I told you, I know more about PC's, internet connections and networks than you do. Now what the f**k is the problem and when will it be rectified.

Tech: They are working on it.
Me: So you take me for an a-hole. I expect a refund including this phone bill.

Tech: We'll look into the refund but we cannot refund the phone bill because you do not have your phone service with us.
Me: Whatever a-hole.

Guess what, I never got the refund.
 
Old 08-31-2012, 04:16 AM   #4
PrinceCruise
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This is nothing!
The tech support guy of my 3G internet provider freaked out and hung up the call on me when he asked about the OS and heard Linux.
He could just say quickly, we don't know about it and don't support it. And I was laughing for at least 5 mins on the reaction.
Poor chap, missing all the fun.

Regards.
 
Old 08-31-2012, 02:19 PM   #5
nobuntu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by towheedm View Post
Me: <So now the fun is wearing thin> Listen, don't give me that effing bullshit. I've been into computers since probable before you were born and I'm sure I know more about PC's and internet connections and network stuff than you do. So stop trying to f**k with me.
towheedm 1, ISP 0.
 
Old 08-31-2012, 10:16 PM   #6
frankbell
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I will say, to its credit, that my ISP does not hide behind the "We don't support Linux" smokescreen. Indeed, the first time I called them, the tech turned out to be a Linux user. The three times (in two years) I've had to call them, they have not asked me what computer OS I was using.

I can chuckle over the fact that the techs who came to the house were not Linux desktop guys, but they knew their TCP/IP.

Last edited by frankbell; 08-31-2012 at 10:17 PM.
 
Old 09-01-2012, 03:15 AM   #7
pixellany
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Once, in a conversation with tech support, the "Linux question" came up. I calmly stated that the OS was not relevant to the issue I was seeing. I then offered to explain to the support person why that was true. In that particular case, that stopped that nonsense.

The other thing that comes to mind is "escalation". When it becomes obvious that the person you are dealing with is in over their head, then simply ask to be transferred to next level up. The best way to do this is with empathetic statements---not just calling them names. In one instance (a mis-configured website), it became obvious that I was going nowhere with the frontline support person. I simply asked her if she was familiar with html coding. When she said "no", I suggested that we could make more progress if I could talk to someone that was.
 
Old 09-01-2012, 08:32 PM   #8
frankbell
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Quote:
The best way to do this is with empathetic statements---not just calling them names.
I wore a headset for eight years. This is excellent advice.
 
  


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