Tech Blecch

We’ve had a couple of days of technical awfulness. Allow me to regale you. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Our cable carrier had been pressing me for several weeks to replace the old cable modem with a new one, which would give us access to their new, higher Internet speeds. I simply hadn’t had the time to deal with it, though, and let it slide. That changed Monday night, when the digital cable on the living room TV died. If I have to fix that, thought I, then I might as well get the modem sorted out while I’m about it.

Tuesday was my last day at work before my break. My plan was to make sure everything was rolled up, no loose ends, before I took off. So much for the plan, though. I ended up having to fix a critical problem on one of the production systems, then while I was at it fix three other not-so-critical (but still important) problems. That left no time to deal with the cable problems in the evening.

So that began in earnest yesterday morning. I drove down to the service centre to pick up a new modem (they didn’t insist on me taking the old one in first, thank goodness), then replaced that. Easy job—just switch the cables over, power up the new one, make a phone call to activate it, and all was happy.

Well, actually, not quite. The cable TV in the bedroom was working, but the WiFi router wasn’t, so we had no Internet. I tried resetting it; no soap. I think it was just plain too old and didn’t want to talk to the new modem. And I’d been meaning to replace it sooner or later, anyway, so off I went to buy a new router. Got home, installed it—and then we had WiFi. Which was of course a good thing, but meant that I then had to set up every WiFi device in the house to use the new connection. Which took something like an hour, because it turns out that we have twelve such devices. Amazing how much we’re getting to rely on WiFi these days. Even my desktop PC uses WiFi—it doesn’t have an Ethernet port (I was told that very few do, these days).

And then . . . my wife told me there was no dial tone on the phones. (Yes, we still have a land-line phone, even though we both have cellphones. Don’t laugh so hard, and stop giving me funny looks.) I checked wires, reset the modem, tried a few things, including calling customer service. No good. I scheduled an appointment for a tech to check it out, then left it alone.

Next step: fix the cable TV in the living room—and replace it with an HD unit, since the old one was SD despite being hooked to an HDTV, and at the same time replace the DVR unit in the bedroom with a new one, since the old one wasn’t always recording when it should. So I yanked those out, added them to the old cable modem, and drove down to the service centre. Half an hour or so later I was back, and a short while after that we had HD cable in the living room and a new DVR in the bedroom. Other than the non-working phones, all was well. Internet seemed to be stable and faster than before, and the TV pictures were definitely improved, too.

Until this morning. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 7:30am, bleary-eyed and woozy, I was  informed by my wife that the bedroom TV was showing nothing but a message to the effect that we were NOT AUTHORIZED. I checked the living room TV; same thing. So before even making the first tea of the day, I was on the phone to customer service. And they told me that somehow the new cable boxes I’d picked up weren’t showing in their system. I can give you the serial numbers, I said. That won’t do, she said, the bar codes have to be scanned. Total B.S.—the bar codes are there to make entering the numbers faster and foolproof, but you can do it by typing the number in, too. But she wouldn’t have it, and insisted I take the units back to the service centre.

So I did. And the guy there told me there was something funny going on—the labels had been scanned, but now the system didn’t show them. So he replaced the DVR with a fresh one, even though that wasn’t strictly necessary, and replaced the HD box from the living room with a second DVR. And so far, they seem to be working just fine.

Last step: the phones. The tech came along as promised, checked a couple of things, made a couple of calls on his own phone, and fixed it. Turned out the guy I’d spoken to the day before had missed a code number in the system, and as a result the line hadn’t been activated. He had it working in twenty minutes or so, and now at last everything is happy, and that means I’m happy.

So, enough of the tech blecch. Time for tea, then back to work on my timeline. Until next time . . .

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