March 18, 2016 by phicks2012
One chilly morning in mid-February found me newly settled in front of my computer after a weekend away from the keyboard, my flying two-fingers and mega-mouse poised to get me on-line and onto my email. I had bills to pay, and messages to check, and a full day ahead of me. Typical.
Though there was really nothing on TV just begging to be watched on a Monday morning, I had that running off to one side as well, just in case a miracle occurred and something intriguing appeared on the screen. However, I wasn’t really watching it until the screen suddenly froze and the sound vanished. Oops.
Okay, so I have Xfinity (Comcast Cable), and my cable feeds all are buried, so I almost never have problems with my reception. I sneer at inclement weather where my TV reception quality is concerned, and if my cable does go out — which it almost never does — I can pretty much count on the problem being area-wide. It’s never just ME, and that’s a good thing since outages affecting a lot of people always have high priority and get fixed really quickly. I like that.
So I checked my house phone (no dial tone) and tried getting onto the internet (no luck) and knew immediately that I was correct in assuming that the problem wasn’t just the cable TV. I therefore called my cable provider to find out if there was a “reported outage” — only I somehow got connected to a technician somewhere in (probably) some place like Pakistan, who assured me that his name was something like “Bob” (as if) and that there was no reported outage in my area.
After directing me to repeat several troubleshooting steps I’d already taken — like power-cycling my modem — and after trying to send refresher signals, he informed me that my modem had probably gone bad and said that he could schedule a techician — just not for two days. My other option was to climb into The Beast and drive up to the nearest Comcast location to swap out the modem.
I didn’t really want to make the drive, but I had bills to pay on-line and didn’t want to get hit with late charges, so I needed to get my connection reestablished ASAP. I also convinced myself that while I was out I could go ahead and take a side-trip in the OTHER direction to my favorite computer store, PC Afterdark, to get a new connection cable for my monitor. I was praying that a failing cable was to blame for the constant flickering and color-shifts I was lately finding so incredibly annoying.
So, up to the Comcast store I drove, and as I was swapping out my modem the lady behind the counter said, rather off-handedly, that I probably didn’t need to trade off my modem because my problem was probably the reported outage in my area. Well, Hell! Thank you “Bob”!
I told her I’d been assured by the tech on the phone that there WAS no outage, and she gave me a rather pitying smile that pretty much told me I probably should have taken that assurance with a proverbial grain of salt. She then assured me that there was, in fact, an outage. Nevertheless, we swapped out the modem and I was told that when I got home and hooked it up I would need to call the number printed on the paperwork to give them the new MAC address and get it working properly.Then after swinging by the computer store for my replacement monitor cable, I went home and hooked everything up. No problem.
However, when I tried calling the number provided I discovered it wasn’t a dedicated number. Nope, I had to wade through a computerized system to get (eventually) to a human being, but once that was done I finally was able to get back on-line and use the phone. However, I then found out when I started paying bills and needed to print out receipts that my wireless printer was no longer communicating with my home network because the network name and password had been changed along with the new modem. Grrrrrrr. My laptop wasn’t able to get online either for the same reason, but that’s another tale, for another time. 😉
It took me a while to get a human being at Hewlett Packard to talk me through re-establishing communications on the printer too, since it was just a bit trickier than it ought to have been, but I finally did get it worked out, and (Hallellujah) replacing the monitor cable absolutely fixed the flickering and color-shift problem with that. I was able to watch TV, use the phone, get onto the internet, and do it all without having to deal with a display that might suddenly shift to green, yellow, or (God Forbid) hot pink!
Okay, so I probably shouldn’t complain. Not counting the time and the cost of gas, the whole process only cost me around $7.00 (for the monitor cable, which just happened to be on sale), but there just had to be a trade-off, right? Two days later the land line stopped working again because the desk phone on my desk developed “issues”.
Hard-wired phones ought to last FOREVER. When I was growing up our phones pretty much NEVER had to be replaced, and had a longer shelf-life than Twinkies, but these days phones seem to last for about a year and then suddenly stop functioning for no apparent reason, no matter WHO makes them. I’ve also discovered that when this happens every phone in the house will stop working until the offending unit is unplugged, and that’s what happened again. Now I have no house phone in my office, so until I get a new one I guess I won’t be answering that line when at computerized work or play. Go figure!
Oh! But my printer does ring. It just can’t be answered. LOL.