Sunday, January 27, 2008


For my birthday last November, my daughters gave me a full year of DVR (digital video recorder) service. It was the perfect gift for someone like me, someone who has been known to circle show titles in the newspaper's weekly TV schedule to be sure nothing important goes unwatched or unrecorded.

Because I was under the impression someone would have to come out to my house to install the DVR box, and because (a) I'd get busy and forget to call and order the service, or (b) I'd remember, but my house was too messy for anyone to come right then, it took me until this past Friday to make the call. Darned if they didn't fix me up over the phone and then tell me all I had to do was drop by the office and pick up the DVR box. Their office is two doors down from where I work, so I stopped on the way home and took that baby home with me.

It didn't seem like a good idea to fool around with the TV cable during the lightning and thunderstorm that was going on when I got home, so I read all the installation manuals while I waited for the weather to get better. Then, later Friday evening, I followed the illustrations, connecting this to that, and hooked it up. It seemed to work fine, except for some playback problems and some features that they'd told me wouldn't work until someone came out and changed something in the outside cable box.

Saturday morning, bright and early, someone stopped by to do just that. He told me it would take a couple of minutes, which ended up being more like 45 minutes by the time he'd changed everything he knew to change. I showed him the problem with the playback (the picture pixelates about every five seconds), and he explained that the problem wasn't with the wiring; it was with the box itself. I'd have to make another call to get the box checked out.

No problem. I'd lived without it my entire life, I could certainly go a few more days.

As he drove away, I came in here and sat down at the computer. I had no internet service. Now there was a problem. A big one.

Since I get my telephone, internet and cable service all through the same provider, I was pretty sure it was just a matter of something being disconnected that shouldn't have been. I called the high-speed internet service phone number and explained what had happened. The girl on the other end of the line asked me to re-boot the computer, check the cables, etc., (all of which I'd already done), then said she'd send someone out.

Nobody showed up on Saturday.

This morning I called at 8:00 a.m., talked to a different person, and explained again what had happened. He said he didn't see a "job ticket" for this phone number, but he'd enter one right away.

I waited until noon (24 hours without internet service) and called again. I explained the whole sequence of events to a third person, adding that we had approximately five hours until it would be dark again, and that I did not want to take off work tomorrow to have something fixed that wasn't broken until their guy came out yesterday morning. The third person said she didn't see a job ticket on it, either, but she'd get in touch with the dispatcher and see if she could get someone out here quickly.

Twenty minutes later, help arrived, and fifteen minutes after that, I had internet service again. (Big sigh of relief!) This service technician was much more knowledgeable than the first one. I mentioned to him that the two "extra" features the first guy had come to turn on still didn't work, so he tackled that job and got one of them working. The second feature, he explained after he'd made several phone calls, won't work until I call and get a new "job ticket" to change something that should have been changed -- but wasn't -- in 2005, even though I've been paying for it since then.

Like the first technician, the second one also said the playback problem is in the box itself. I asked if I could take the box in and swap it out, but he said no. They'll come to my house and swap it out, he said, but I'll have to call in and get them to issue a separate job ticket for that.

I know I'm gonna enjoy the DVR service, but all the service-procedure technicalities are making me crazy. I think this telecommunications company's right-hand and left-hand need to get together and chat for a while. Personally, I'd suggest that they meet in person and not count on conducting business by e-mail or telephone.


  1. GASP! 24 hours without internet service!?!?!

    Poor thing.

    And, no, that is not sarcasm. The web takes a close fourth place in my hierarchy of needs: Water, air, love, internet, food.

    Good luck on getting everything else straightened out. As my dad would say, "Welcome to the real world, kid." (no, those words aren't much comfort for me, either).

  2. Yajeev, I knew you'd be able to relate to this particular misery. By the time the service tech got here today, I was huddled in the corner in the fetal position, trying to decide if my life still had a purpose. He arrived just in the nick of time.

  3. Velvet, So sorry about your lack of service. You will love the dvr once it gets working! It's so nice to be able to back up live tv...In my family someone always starts talking just as the thing I most wanted to hear comes up on tv.

  4. I have a DVR but don't know how to interpret the buttons on the remote. They have little pictures on them and I don't have a users manual. Trying to guess what the pictures mean is too complicated so I just make sure I watch TV in my room instead of the plasma TV. Stupid, huh? As the the Internet, it's like that old song "I won't last a day without you!"

  5. That sounds like a complication I don't need. I'm still a semi-Luddite. I'm not being smug when I say that I've learned that if I miss a show or movie, it'll be on again sometime, and I can live without seeing it. So I doubt I'll be getting anything like that.

    I would have been very annoyed that the internet service got disconnected. I hope that never happens to me, because my mom gets flustered dealing with technical stuff-technical meaning anything more complicated than a remote control.

  6. Insanity! I think these companies that service our internet, phones and cable service grew more quickly than they expected. My heart was racing at the thought of no internet...addicted?

  7. Was it Comcast? This sounds suspiciously similar to my difficulties with getting them to install my cable.

    I hate them.

  8. Glad you got the internet going or we would not be able to connect to you and that would be a loss for us! Sis 3

  9. I had a power failure for 2 hours and couldn't use my computer and I was almost crazy. Amazing to think that only a few short years ago I could have cared less about the Internet. Now its an important part of my daily routine. Oh we humans are something, aren't we? I was sick and didn't know about Butch since I wasn't doing anything much online. I'm so glad he's doing ok now. These pets of ours....they are like our children.

  10. Velvet, you make me glad I live in the technological, do it yourself or it doesn't get done, wilderness! And, that I married a guy who is really, really good at figuring that stuff out. Carmon

  11. all this new stuff drives me crazy but my daughter takes to it like ducks to water!

  12. Sounds like you're all familiar with the kind of frustration technology brings -- but what would we do without it? (And, no, Mike, it wasn't Comcast, but it might as well have been. I don't think there's much difference between one company and the next.)


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