July 13, 2007

Charter Communications is annoying me.

So, I finally got a post up this morning. The time stamp is 7:45, but it went up at 11:39. For about the 7th time in the last 4 days, my internet connection cut out. It's constantly on and off.

Last night, it was on, then off, and I called Charter Communications and went through the familiar layers of the automated program until I got to the part where I was told that all the human beings were busy, so why not just get started with the help of the pleasant-voiced robot lady? Okay. Actually, I liked working with the robot lady. She didn't bug me with preliminary questions like what are the last 4 digits of my "social."

But then she misunderstood one of my answers and got onto a path of questions that were all wrong. Exclamations like "stop" and "you've misunderstood me" and "you're wrong, wrong, wrong, shut up, stop" all failed to get her attention. The connection restarted for some reason, so I just hung up. But an hour later, it was off again, and I was back on the phone. We got it fixed again, but an hour later it was off again. I shut the computer down and went to bed.

This morning it was working, and I wrote the long post about the Hindu priest, but then the connection cut out just as I needed to leave the house and go to an eye doctor appointment. No time to stop at a café and publish the post. After a morning spent answering questions like "Is it better this way or this way?" -- which in another context could be exciting questions -- I dropped back at home to see how things were. Still out. I relocated to a café so I could get on line without layers of robotic questions... and get some coffee.

I'm so annoyed with my Charter Communications service right now. They help you when you call, but I'm sick of calling only to lose the connection later. Maybe I'll just cancel all my service. I'll have to leave the house to get a high-speed connection and I'll just dial up at home. It would inject some moderation into my internet habit. But what would it do to my coffee habit? But it's all temporary, since I'm moving to Brooklyn in a few weeks. That's why I'm not in the mood to spend any time fixing problems. Perhaps I will think of that as liberating.

On a different level: life itself is temporary. Maybe you shouldn't consume too much of your time trying to fix your problems. Live while you can.

And yet a different level: Do you think when eye doctors have sex, they're all "which is better #1 or #2, #3 or #4"?

14 comments:

Jim said...

The "moving to Brooklyn in a few weeks" is a pretty provocative statement, given that I had not seen any previous reference to it. I had missed or forgotten the statement about it back on the Friday the 13th in April 2007. If there was an explanation, I missed it.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I'll miss your Badger blogging. Especially during football season.

Jim: Maybe she only mentions it on Fridays-the-13th.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm visiting at Brooklyn Law School for the coming academic year. I'll be back in Madison in mid-May 2008. And I'll be back in Madison at least once a month. Don't worry!

Art Hackett said...

I've had SBC/ATT DSL service for nearly four years. It's gone out exactly twice in that time. I ran the auto diagnostic and when it was unable to resolve things, it connected me to a human tech. He solved the problem (resetting the modem) in less than fifteen minutes. The next day he called back, unsolicited, to make sure everything was all right. The second time, some months later, I reset the modem myself which again fixed the problem.
Say what you want about "the phone company", call me a satisfied customer.

Jennifer said...

Ha ha ha, I'm not sure I'll be able to visit an eye doctor again without experiencing some interesting visuals during the exam.

blake said...

Art,

By contrast, I got high-speed DSL from Pacific Bell in 1998, and it was fine until they got bought out by SBC. At that point:

1. Any attempts to upgrade my service were met with: "You can't. In fact, you can only downgrade it. And you should be paying more."

2. I could switch to business class but that would mean turning off my internet connection now and then at some point in the next undetermmined time period as little as four days but as much as three weeks or more, someone would turn on the new service.

3. If I wanted a discount, I could buy three of these services, one of those, and a few of the others, but nobody actually could tell me what was the cheapest for what I wanted to do. I had to tell them.

4. My line would fail intermittently (a physical problem) and they would charge me $200 to come look at it, with no guarantee that they would fix it.

I only got their attention, finally, by canceling. Then they said they would actually fix my problem.

No thanks, pal.

Saul said...

The problem with Charter (aside from total lack of connectivity) is that cable internet is dependent on the usage in various neighborhoods, which in your case is extraordinarily high, and so the alleged speed sold is not the actual speed. Sometimes my cable works great, othertimes it is akin to dial up.

DSL is generally slower, but there are no ups and downs.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, Saul, you're right. My computer detects about 10 routers within range of me. And it does often work about as well as dial-up worked in 2003.

And every time I call with a problem, they tag on a pitch to upgrade to service that will be 10 times as fast... but costs $60 a month. But when I first got what I have now, it went where I wanted to go instantly. I half suspect they are keeping service crappy to give the incentive to upgrade, but all they've done is make me hate them. I pay them $150 a month for TV and high-speed internet. I'm considering scaling back to basic cable and getting rid of the internet. But I use the internet constantly! So it's absurd to get rid of it.

I could go on the city's wireless, but when I had that for a month, it failed often.

B said...

And yet a different level: Do you think when eye doctors have sex, they're all "which is better #1 or #2, #3 or #4"?

Comedienne (is that PC?) Rita Rudner
said that she quit dating an optometrist for that very reason . . .

Ruth Anne Adams said...

B: But when they climax, they yell out the top line of the eye chart. That's pretty special.

B said...

Yes, but it's pronounced differently everytime . . .

blake said...

It's a curious thing but as long as everyone offers a poor level of service, they can all complain to the government about needing money or monopolistic rights in order to justify "building up the infrastructure".

There are those on Slashdot claiming to work for these guys who insist there's plenty not being used precisely for this reason.

It's kind of like pay TV. They all operate on the same non-customer-service-oriented basis, so you can't really go anywhere if you only want to pay for the things you want to see.

Jennifer said...

you can't really go anywhere if you only want to pay for the things you want to see

blake - You could do what we do, which is cancel your tv altogether and go with Netflix and iTunes.

blake said...

Jennifer--

I may have to consider something like that. I like the HBO/Sho series, unfortunately....