Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Disconnected from the Internet!

Oh for Goddess' sake! I finally get home at 6:50 p.m. this evening after a long hard day at the office and I cannot get online! What the hell? I run a check - run it again - everything is hooked up just fine, I just cannot get connected. So, I call the service number that shows up on my computer after the second time I ran a "connectivity test" and wait and wait and wait. Finally, I get connected to one of those goddess-awful voice-activated "customer service" thingies. After pressing various buttons and speaking slowly and distinctly into the telephone, I get a "special service announcement" and am told that due to an "upgrade" that happened last night, certain customers may now find that they cannot connect to the internet. Gee, tell me something I didn't know! After playing the message back three times, I discern that it has something to do with my security settings. I receive a number to call - a Microsoft number. Great, just great. Well, before resorting to the last resort of calling customer support at Microsoft, I try and fix the security settings myself. I do a work-around to bring up my internet browsers although I cannot browse anywhere, and reset my security settings. Didn't work. An hour and a half later, I find myself talking to a Microsoft technician who had a definite Indian accent (I recognized it - there are lots of Indian students attending the downtown Milwaukee School of Engineering and I hear the accent during lunch hours and going to and from the bus stops). I find out that - lo and behold - Microsoft and/or my firewall software has done an "update" that "may affect my connectivity." Okay..... So, my question is, what do I do? Well, the fellow said that my firewall software provider says a work-around is to reset my coverage (or whatever it's called) to "medium." I say okay, how do I do that. But he cannot help me with that, and by the way, it's not a recommended fix. The alternative is to "undo the fix." Yeah - right - like I understand what that means? Okay, so what do I do to get on the internet? He gives me a different number to call and a customer number or something like that. So, I call this other number and get a recording that says "due to an unusually large volume of calls...we are going to disconnect your butt right now. Please call back in approximately 32 years." Okay, maybe that last part is just a little bit exaggerated. It was more like 22 years - and 5 months - and 16 days - and 37 minutes - and 10 seconds, 9 seconds, 8 seconds... Based on what the first support tech told me, I bravely open up my firewall software and try first this, and then that, and then this, and then that. They sure don't make it easy. But eventually I get to a place where I can change a setting to "medium." So I do it. Then I try to exit without turning the software off all the way. That is a project in and of itself! Then I try, once again, to go online. This time it works! Eureka! I found it! The first thing I do (after checking my email, of course...) is to check out the latest news about this "download that may affect internet connectivity...". Supposedly a fix is in the works, that will be available for download - I have no idea when. In the meantime, try fix 1 or fix 2 - both of the fixes that my internet service provider tech told me about (although not recommended). Okay, so after going through all of this - and it's now several hours later, what I want to know is this: I have one computer and one telephone. I do not own a cell phone; I do not own a second computer that is somehow, miraculously, connected to some "other" line not affected by this latest Microsoft BALONEY SAUSAGE! So, I figured out a way to find out enough information tonight, at home, to get back online - and I'm absolutely amazed that I was able to do so. I am not a technologically competent person by any means! So, what if I'm an average person (which I am), and I cannot get online, how am I supposed to find out the "lastest news" about this disastrous software update that evidently disconnected half the world today from the internet??? Tonight I reined in my impatience and extremely bad temper long enough to listen to the Indian technician and was able to garner enough clues to figure out what to do for the temporary "fix" without having to wait 22 years plus plus plus to talk to a Microsoft technician. But what about someone who can't figure out how to do the temporary "fix?" I'm telling you, I am so steamed right now, you could fry eggs on my fingernails.

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