Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Your Gazoobom and Twinkifier are not working."


That's just what I thought when the guy at Apple told me this, but said they it was repairable. Our new computer, sitting there all forlorn was carted away to the back room. I was sad and moped around and walked into walls when we arrived home Saturday afternoon.

It had all started on Tuesday evening. I watched the Inauguration, streaming down two websites in order to catch it all. When Dianne Sawyer got on my nerves, I switched over to Katie Couric, and if they both got on my nerves, I listened to NPR. The whole event reminded me so much of my experience in 2005, and I relived it all again, but was warmer this time.

Then that night, I couldn't get on certain internet sites. Google: fine. Gmail: fine. Our laptops worked okay, so I thought it must be the computer.

Our first Apple Tech Specialist

Wednesday I called AppleCare and got a girl in the Phillipines that kept calling Apple's web browser "Sa-Fairy." (It's Safari.) Her final answer? Archive and install--the answer they give for everything, sez Peter A. I guess they figure the machine worked when it left their factory and if I'd just reset it back to normal it would work again. I struggled on and off with this, trying to do my work. It's amazing how much I use the internet in my class, what with the class blog, the college website, and emails.

I couldn't do a thing until Friday morning, when I started the long process of backing up the hard drive. (Please--no comments from those Smarty Pants who consistently back up their computers.) I had a lunch commitment with an old high school friend and then a memorial service to attend to for one of Dave's faculty and then a dinner date with Dave and my brother. In between all that, I managed to get 170 gigs of stuff backed up.

Saturday morning, I get up early (a RS service project is on the books for 9 a.m.) and can't find the disks to do an archive and install. I tore apart three cupboards looking for them. Then Dave says, remember? We didn't get them? Oh, right. Call Apple. Get the Philippines. Nearly kill the blessed town idiot who's on the other end of the line. (Normal tech experience. If you can get to Canada's call centers, you've reached Nirvana.)

So we run the machine up to the Apple Store for our Genius appointment where the guys tells me about the gazoobom and the twinkifier. After moping around for an appropriate length of time, I set up the old G4 (the dust was an inch thick), turn it on, and Lo and Behold! It doesn't work. I can't access the internet.

First call to Charter, our ISP: Oh, unhook this, rehook that. Maybe it's you. It's probably you. We don't have any problems, so it is for sure. You. And while you're at it, we'd encourage you to upgrade to our 10 mgs speed because, well, I get credit for how many I sell and I want to go to London in June and we're having a contest.

Our First Charter Tech Specialist
Okay, I made that last part up, but the only way we could get a faster service was to "add on" another "line." Which means we added on cable TV in order to half our price per month (for six months, at which point it goes "up" but is still cheaper than having just one "line"). Now just go plug it in, she says to Dave, at which point he tries to explain to her that we won't be doing that. Why? Because the line to our internet is on the southwest side of our house, heading up the side of the wall into our daughter's old bedroom. And the television is on the northeast side of the house in the family room and we have no cable lines there. No, it's not a new house. No, the people before us didn't have cable either. Twenty channels. Yes, some are digital. Reception is great--an antenna, the size of our house is sited in the attic; we could be beamed up at any moment.

Second call to Charter: Um, we bought the new modem (thinking that was the problem) and we can't register it because you can only do that on a website, and um, the internet's not working. After entering in fifty numbers fifty ways, the guy says, we're showing a lot of outages in Southern California, but we don't show it in your area. We get the modem registered, but strangely enough when we "ping" them, it won't. Must be the outage is in your area after all. (At this point you should stick your fingers in your ears and sing LA LA LA loudly so you won't hear what we said back to him.)

Our Final Charter Tech Specialist
Third call to Charter: This time we got, in Dave's vernacular, an "A-stringer." DSN servers are down all over California. It's our fault, they say, but maybe it's still something you need to have someone come out and look at. Appointment: Wednesday morning.

By Sunday night, we had limited internet, but at blazingly slow speeds (can you say dial-up?).

Monday morning: Still slow, but I'm working working working, trying to catch up with all the postings and emails and Things I Have To Do and the phone rings. It's Charter. We'd like to cancel your appointment because, gee whiz, All is Well. Not so fast, I say. It's not so great over here. This has not been a trivial exercise at this house, that we've been down a week and by the way I'd like a week's credit on my account. You'll have to call Billing for that, Ma'am.

Tuesday afternoon: We have internet. 10 mgs of it and apparently we didn't have to sign up for the cable TV after all. The internet is blipping along. I'm on my old computer (new one's still being repaired, but Justin Hass (Peter's buddy) says they'll order us a new display because ours had a hairline scratch on it (not my fault) and they'll call me.

Welcome Back.
(And by the way, two thumbs up for Obama's Inauguration and BOTH of Michelle's dresses.)


Alice said...

My favorite part is the Sa-Fairy! HA HA I'm so sorry. I am fortunate to be married to a fabulous computer nerd who can fix and do anything:)

barbara said...

The gazoobom blog belongs in the New York Times. When are you going to make your move?