Tales from Tech Support.

I think that lately I’m finding my job in tech support is wearing me down more than it used to. It can get to be very frustrating, but more and more I’m not finding I’m coming up against new problems or issues, but rather that the stress of it is in dealing with the personality on the other end of the line.

I spoke to a woman today for approximately 90 minutes trying to restore a connection. At her home, she has a standard DSL modem feeding a wireless router, and two computers – a wired desktop and a laptop. In this particular case, it became apparent that the modem had somehow been reset and hence wasn’t bridged any longer, meaning that the modem and router were both trying to manage the Internet signal, and canceling each other out.

So we begin; the troubleshooting in question here is to connect the modem directly to the computer and adjust the settings required. But the customer turned out to be a ‘helper’, and a ‘reader’. These sorts are particularly frustrating, and should be avoided at all costs. ‘Helpers’ are the sort who preface any troubleshooting with the declaration that they tried everything to fix the issue, and are lost. These folks are computer whizzes according to all around them, and provide (far) more than the necessary responses to straightforward questions.

‘Readers’ are the sort who read to you every piece of information on the screen, regardless of repeated requests to the contrary. For example, I had to have this woman open the command prompt on her system a couple of times, and each time she would read to me, “Microsoft Windows XP version 5.1.2600 see copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp. see colon backslash…”, etc. It was a nightmare.

Anyway, turned out that modem settings would be very hard to come by, as the desktop computer we began the troubleshooting with had some sort of ethernet card error and it would only obtain a LAN IP address of 0.0.0.0. Attempting to correct the issue with the ethernet card resulted in system crashes, so we instead began troubleshooting with the laptop, which the customer erroneously wired to the desktop computer instead of the modem despite my explicit instructions.

The story is actually quite long and involved, but suffice it to say you get the picture. Eventually, I was able to access the modem settings and complete the five minutes of work that was necessary to correct the issue, but not before thoroughly wishing something horrible would happen to the phone network to disconnect our call. My ability to handle this sort of stress is definitely waning, and the Christmas holiday really couldn’t come too soon.

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  1. […] Tales from Tech Support. At her home, she has a standard DSL modem feeding a wireless router, and two computers – a wired desktop and a laptop. In this particular case, it became apparent that the modem had somehow been reset and hence wasn’t bridged any longer … […]



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  • About

    My name is Bobby.

    I write about random things a lot. I write a lot about random things.

    I write occasionally for Smashing Magazine and the London Community News online, and weekly for Interrobang, the student voice newspaper at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.

    I've also been published by the Canadian University Press.
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