I am not optimistic.

So we’re finally going to move out of the stone age and get high speed cable, making this, I suppose, the last house in the entire world to finally dispense with dialup. It’s going to be a little weird letting my infinet address go, since I’ve had it for 12 years, which is millennia in Internet terms.

Anyway, we’re going to just bundle with our WOW Cable. My roommate placed the order yesterday. I called them today to verify what kind of NIC I need in my machine.

Their response? Oh, here we go.

“You need to contact your computer’s manufacturer.”

“No. I need a NIC to connect to your service. Ethernet, no doubt. Should I get a gigabit card?”

“That’s something your manufac–”


“We have no way of–”

“I’m supposed to just put your cable in the vicinity of my computer?”

“We just provide the service!”


“We don’t have that information.”


“We just provide the service–”

“Not very well, you don’t.”

I don’t want it anymore. I’m going to talk to Ban when he gets home, and cancel the appointment. I am not dealing with that kind of “support”. I did notice that the manager referred to themselves as a call center and not a help desk.

EDIT: We cancelled. I’m not even sure I want their cable service anymore. I mean, that’s deliberate stupidity, not normal helpless-desk stuff.


18 comments so far

  1. thattallguy201 on

    Easy there mate! I see you still have that smooth, steady disposition you had in college. :) You were dealing with first-line support. They’re like that all over — as noncommittal as possible. You really do want that faster service, trust me.

    1) You could always keep the dial-up and just have the email forwarded. :)

    2) Any ethernet card that your machine talks to will do. Lots of machines these days even have one integrated with the MB. Failing that, you can get any $20 card from the MicroCenter returns bin.

    3) Gigabit would be a bit optimistic. :) There’s no way you’re going to benefit from a GB card going out to the world; the only reason you’d want one is if you expect to connect to another gigabit-capable machine in your house.

    You know, you really should keep a geek friend on tap for this sort of thing. :)

    • The idea that they couldn’t have that simple piece of information was enough for me to know that I don’t want to deal with their call center if we had connectivity problems. No doubt they’d blame whoever manufactured the cabling. I mean, they tried to tell me that I didn’t even need a NIC. That’s not mere ‘helpless desk’ cluelessness, that’s dangerous stupidity.

      My assumption was that I needed straight, plain vanilla ethernet, and that there might be some hardware they knew they had problems with. This is just a list they should have, available at the click of a button, that requires no actual technical knowledge.

      But no. They try to tell me I need to talk to the manufacturer.

      They lost our business for that. It’s not worth the step up in speed if I don’t have the slightest confidence in the service. we’re shopping around for someone else.

      • thattallguy201 on

        Lots of stew from one rutabaga

        It’s not “a simple piece of information” to them.

        Did they poll you on what brand of NIC you were going to use? If not, then how are they going to know about success rates? They could tell you about the failure rate but that is only one factor — if Brand B has only one failure listed against them, but only one person has ever tried to use Brand B, that useful bit of information isn’t available…

        Do you think they want to get sued for slander?

        I was a performance tuning consultant for many years. Customers would ask me for hardware purchase recommendations. Despite having definite opinions of my own, all I was allowed to say was “bring me a configuration and I’ll adjust it until you’ve got enough horsepower.” The company *never* made comments preferential or detrimental to any one hardware vendor; if I were to go off the record I could tell you of the hassles I had with a couple of them but there are always plenty of success stories to offset them. And we (corporately and individually) wanted to keep a good relationship with them as well, so they’d keep at-worst-neutral toward *us*.

        About that person specifically: That call center was probably in Bangalore and handles calls from a thousand different companies. They pick up somebody off the street and have him read a script off the screen in answer to your question. I hate to break this to you, but finding any *other* level of service at an ISP these days is going to be hard work. Cable is especially bad that way — it’s monopolistic.

        At the hardware level, your cable modem is going to look to your network like any other ethernet switch. That’s pretty generic these days; aside from when gigabit was first introduced, I’ve not heard of compatibility issues in this area for what, 10-15 years? Maybe more recently if you include very-high-end stuff — high-speed backplanes in large parallel computers, and my school is installing a new 80GB/s WAN loop that they’re being careful about — but not in any consumer area. So there’s really not much to talk about when it comes to specific vendors anyway.

        • Re: Lots of stew from one rutabaga

          I never even got to the “what hardware do you recommend” stage because I couldn’t convince these dim bulbs that any hardware was physically necessary. That’s a level of incompetence that I just can’t forgive–when it’s that bad, it’s deliberate. And as I said below, I was given to a call center manager and not a technician when I explicitly asked to speak to a technician. That’s beyond bad.

          If it was an outsourced desk, the operators I spoke (three in all) to all spoke colloquial American English–one urban black accent, one nondescript, one semi-southern. That leads me to believe that it was actually somewhere here in the States. Many call centers are de-outsourcing for two reasons: the lesser of which is that customers don’t like it, the larger of which is that the call center employees in Bangalore and other places are starting to unionize and demand American-type wages for doing a job that really really really sucks (this, I know personally).

          • equinoxx on

            Re: Lots of stew from one rutabaga

            The accents (or lack thereof) aren’t necessarily an indicator of the call center’s location, just FTR. I remember reading articles a while back (couple of years at least) about how operators in overseas call centers were coached on “American-ized” accents to give the illusion of locality to US callers.

  2. soundwave106 on

    Heh. :) Since most computers these days come with at least a 10/100 ethernet connection built into the motherboard, it’s probably not something the Helpless Desk anywhere is used to answering.

    Basically the correct answer is, any ethernet card. Nobody sells lower than a 100Mbps card these days. The maximum download rate they got is 6Mbps. That’s more than covered. Gigabit cards are unnecessary, unless you are setting up a home network.

    • Well, I more or less knew that–I needed to know if it would be worth going to gigabit, or if there was hardware that had known compatibility issues. I left with deep concerns over the whole WOW system. I’m even considering dropping their cable service.

      • soundwave106 on

        Yeah, but like the guy above said, tech support pretty much sucks. Its the consequence of outsourcing it. Everyone is doing it these days, which means most people’s tech support experience is like Foamy’s.

        If you can find a cable company that has tech support people that actually know a bit about computers and speaks and speaks English, embrace them. Elsewise, I’m afraid you are getting what’s typical service these days.

        • If they can’t even hand me off to a technician when I ask to speak to one, that’s beyond merely “sucking”. That’s all the way into “We don’t care so much, we set things up so we can’t be helpful, even if we wanted to.”

    • thattallguy201 on

      OT: love your pic. :)

      • soundwave106 on

        Thanks. First PC I had. :)

        • thattallguy201 on

          Me too, Model III. Sprung for the extra floppy drive so I wouldn’t have to keep swapping disks. :)

          • Ah, yes. You and your TRaSh-80, Hunter and his CoCo, me and my Sinclair, Cara’s Apple ][… those were the mighty days of home computing on the frontier! :)

        • equinoxx on

          First PC I owned was an Atari 130XE, although prior to that, I spent a couple of years as custodian of my best friend’s 800 while he was in the Navy…

          • Lessee… I have the Terak 8510a we bought from my alma mater, my original Sinclair, our old Atari 2600 (with BASIC cartridge, so it sorta counts), and I have since added a color Sinclair, an original PC-XT, a TI99a, an Apple ][e, and a microVAX 3000. Forward into the past!

  3. surakofb5 on

    No, you’re not the last person on the planet with dialup. I am. :)

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