Monday, February 21, 2011

Internet Down!

Our internet went down yesterday afternoon at 4:00. I was in the middle of sending an email and looking at the clock so I had the time well documented. Since we’re with the same company as our blood-neighbors next door, I called my brother-in-law Bret and asked him if his internet was working. He said it was.

Oh, great. It was in my equipment.

I rebooted the computers, unplugged and plugged modems, disconnected and undisconnected routers, started refragging the hard drive on one machine and ran several trouble shoots on the other. Finally, just to feel better I smashed a couple of what used to be known in the business as floppies that were gathering dust on the desk. Nothing worked.

An hour had passed since the cataclysmic event occurred. I was lost at sea. My lifeline was offline. There are not many things more terrifying or infuriating. I knew I had a problem with my equipment since Bret does not lie and he said his link was working.

Next on my list of possibilities was thinking the stoppage was a pesky virus. But how did it get into both machines in the same instant? This is a question I can't answer. I am not a geek and the only nerd in my family is my son Will who is in North Carolina on a church mission right now and has no contact with the virtual world. In many ways he is a lucky man.

Many is the time that I've lost hard drives, large blocks of time, bucks, aggravation and information to these bugs and the so and so's who breed them. Personally, I think whenever they catch a hacker or virus varmint, they ought to chain them up in the village square. Personalized invitations should then be sent out to everyone who has been affected by the scoundrels and invited to the square and allowed to do a little hacking themselves. I guarantee the line waiting to readjust the bugger's destructive outlook would be a long one. I'd wait in line twice.

I restored both machines to an earlier date and crossed my fingers that maybe I had dodged a couple of big bullets. Maybe I had stopped the bug before it did too much damage! Just to be sure, I sprayed 2 cans of Raid into the vent holes in the back of each machine. I don't think any bug, computer or otherwise, could live through my style of virus control.

But even that didn't work!

I got frantic. As a last resort, I called the phone guy to see if their service was down. However, like they all do, he started with the assumption that my stuff was to blame. He started giving me steps I had to follow. I told the nice man I had already done all those things but he said he had protocol to follow. If I wanted my problem solved, I would do as he said.

We took another 45 minutes going through the same redundant exercises with my computer and related equipment that I had already done. I believe they make the customer jump through all the hoops just to put them on the defensive and establish the mind set that the customer should be ashamed that he even called.

None of the hoops I had to jump through worked. I knew from the get-go that this guy's protocol was a smoke screen.

Finally he asked me what state I lived in. He should have already known my location. I’d given him my phone number an hour earlier. I bit my tongue so the conversation would stay civil. After a few seconds he said "Oh, you're in the 509 area code, aren't you? Sorry about that. Washington State is down.”

We could have saved the last hour of rebooting if only he'd initially used that thing his headphones were wrapped around.

So now he was telling me Washington State was down. I decided to waste a little of his time since he had killed an hour of mine.

I said “I know Washington State is down. I think at the moment they're short 4 or 5 billion dollars. The state has been suffering extremely large deficits for several years now but that’s their problem. Personally, I blame it on the governor and her cronies. Anyway, that’s beside the point. I didn’t call you for political observations. I just want my internet to work!”

He started to get a little nasty. “Sir, I’m telling you there is a technical issue in the State of Washington that is affecting your internet capability.”

"Oh," I said with a touch of sarcasm, "I get it. In other words, some contractor in Sequim had 2 extra beers for lunch and got a little too rambunctious with his backhoe around 4:00. That was the technical issue."

It was 6:00. I hung up the phone, put my slippers on and slipped on over to see the miraculous computer that Bret claimed could still trade info even though the internet was out.

His computer wasn’t working. My guess is it hadn't worked since 4. Bret’s brain wasn’t working either. It checked out about the same time the computer did. I guess he figured everything was ok and online if the little green light on the box was lit. Where’d my sister come up with this guy, anyway?

I called the phone company misleading service provider again around 8:30 and asked what was up with my service and when would it be back on? She said they had just been informed that there was an internet issue that had occurred at 8:00 and they would soon have it up and running.

The telephone company must have a rule that they don’t hire anyone who wasn’t a politician first. The line went down at 4:00 cause I watched it happen.

It’s 7:00 the next morning and my internet is still dead. I’m thinking there might be a more serious issue and this could be the end of the world. But how would I ever find out the details?

My internet is down.

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