Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Route 1

Mum and Dad have many computers. This doesn't mean to say they know how to use them, most are old and were used for specific purposes such as timing the local 10K road race that they organised for hundreds of years until last year. They are all in my old bedroom and one of them is connected to teh interwebs by string. About 18 months ago they bought a laptop so Mum can compute from the kitchen table because it's cold upstairs in the winter. It is probably the only laptop in existence that is ceremoniously put to bed with the dust cloth still over the keyboard as it was when first taken out of the box.

Mum has been goading Dad into getting broadband for ages because being very tight thrifty he was still on the old cheap after 6 dial-up and that made sending photos and stuff very difficult and nobody could ring in the evening. After they asked us to housesit, he had very little choice; we couldn't come down for a month and not be able to work so he was going to have to do something. Tiscali broadband was eventually pumped in a few weeks ago. This left the problem of both of us being able to work at the same time, so we would need a wireless router, like we have at home. We would sort that out then. On Saturday we went to PC World and bought one, got it home, went to connect it to the modem only to find the modem didn't have an ethernet port because it's one of those USB linked ones. Too late to go back; S is by now getting very frustrated and not a little scary.

On Sunday I trooped up to PC World again, stood in the queue for an hour and got a Philips one in exchange. This was a modem/router, like our D-Link one at home. The only problem there was I would have to phone Tiscali to check the router settings and of course, I'm not my Dad so I don't know what his security questions are although he'd left his login and password. And Tiscali have an overseas call centre where they are all taught to speak in emotionless monotone off a script, no deviation but plenty of repetition. Joy!! On the box it said all settings were pre-loaded. Phew, no need to tell porkies then.

I got home, unpacked it, spread it out on the carpet, plugged it in, loaded the disc as ordered, chose the correct parameters and waited for teh interwebs to come flooding into the living room as promised. Oh. No Russian granny pr0n or Japanese spam. Connection details all wrong. Bummer, I would have to phone Tiscali. To cut a long story only slightly shorter, I called them once; he tried to make very bad forced conversation about having to work on weekends but accepted my lie about doing this for my Dad while he was on holiday. I answered all the other security questions, no problem. Unfortunately he couldn't help me, couldn't see what was wrong but that they didn't have the latest settings for the Philips. Grr...An hour later I phoned back in desperation after trying it on Sharon's lappy without success and got a woman this time. Totally emotionless and I'm sorry to say totally unhelpful and now,
despite being in Perth, WA at the time, my poor Dad has got a black mark against his name for calling all Tiscali operatives a bunch of things using short words he probably hasn't spoken in the same sentence since he was demobbed in 1953. Sorry Dad. I hate call centres at the best of time but those operated by very obviously foreigners with no empathy whatsoever for their core customers really do annoy me intensely. It seems to be the very antithesis of customer service - I know what's cheapest, let's staff our customer services with people who can't understand anyone who deviates from the script and charge a premium rate for it and hope nobody notices they're being ripped off.

Went back to PC World yet again, got apologetic smile from lad who'd served me earlier and a trusty Belkin modem/router in exchange. With £10 off as they'd left the wrong label on the shelf. 5 minutes after getting in, everyone is up and running and downloading the same kind of shit as we were a week earlier. Philips' settings were all wrong; I can't think of any Philips kit I've owned that's ever worked properly so that didn't really come as a surprise, maybe it's something to do with the smoking rooms in Eindhoven. Of course, the supreme irony of all this is that Tiscali, as of this week, have been advertising free wireless routers. Totla cnuts.

Yesterday I boiled the kettle on the Aga, something I've done hundreds of times over the years. It's an Aga kettle with a large base for best heat transfer meaning it's a little ungainly. Yesterday I wasn't thinking and as I filled the teapot, it was still bubbling and it blew back. Onto me. I was expecting instant and extreme pain, but no. Luckily, despite these trousers being very thin, they are baggy and I do not go commando.

Shortly I will be taking the dog for a walk in the woods, where the chestnuts have just begun to fall. The Aga is very good for roasting them. No jokes.

10 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Geoff said...

Our computer "expert" at work says "anybody but Tiscali".

12:59 pm  
Anonymous Richard said...

He was going to get Talk Talk because they took over his telephone company, like they did ours, but they couldn't get broadband in for a few months because they are very popular.

1:37 pm  
Anonymous Sharon J said...

We're changing when we get home, Richard. Tiscali have gone too far this time! It was bad enough when I received an unintelligible email from their customer services a while back but this really was the final straw.

I reckon that kettle might be able to teach you to dance!

2:02 pm  
Blogger Nooms said...

*sigh* I have to de-lurk myself just to say hello to your mum and dad as they pass through Perth.

3:05 pm  
Anonymous Richard said...

Welcome, Nooms. Now completely uncloak yourself and go and write something on your blog because it looks like you would fit in here. If you see my Dad (he wears glasses and he's there until Friday) can you tell him the telly's broken in the dining room and I didn't even have to throw anything at it.

7:31 pm  
Blogger Nooms said...

Oh I think I saw him yesterday! :D

10:02 pm  
Blogger Nooms said...

My blogspot journal doesn't seem to want to play - if you get bored you can find it in it's new home at http://nooms.livejournal.com

11:44 pm  
Anonymous Steve Dix said...

It's not the only laptop that gets put to bed with the keyboard-protector cloth.

Mine does too.

2:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here’s a Broadband Video that will show you how to check availability by postcode, how perform a broadband speed test and where to find broadband forums to answer your questions. There are also offers for Tiscali Broadband.

Here is a broadband beginners guide and below are common broad band questions;
>What is Broadband?
>Types of Connections?
>Connection speeds and download limits
>How to compare ISP’s

2:53 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Anonymous, if you'd bothered to read the article you would have noticed that the last thing I'd want is any broadband service from the tossers at Tiscali.

7:37 pm  

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