Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Weekend Assignment #325: Tech-Savvy? Sort Of

Ack! As busy as I've been the past week, I've only got an hour left to answer my own question for
Weekend Assignment #325: Tech-Savvy!

Weekend Assignment #323: Tech Savvy
When you bring home some new piece of technology, do you usually get it up and running with pleasant anticipation and calm confidence, or is there more likely to be much swearing, wailing and gnashing of teeth? What's the most trouble you've had with a new computer, tv, phone or related tech gadget?

Extra Credit: Who do you call in to help, if you get stuck?

I never got the hang of using this phone in my First Magnus days.

I'm generally pretty good with tech stuff, particularly computers. I always get my new computers up and running myself, and am often asked by friends for computer advice. I also figure out my new phone or new digital camera - well, enough to use it, anyway. I've never, ever used a phone for web stuff, and still fumble to change settings on my camera.

Where I really fall apart is on office phone systems, and to a lesser extent with modem and router problems when they crop up.  I worked for Worldwide Travel for twelve years, and when I left I was still physically walking into the other room to tell people something was holding for them on line 3. I struggled with Cisco phones at First Magnus and Beaudry, and at St Michael's I don't even know how to answer the phone until someone else has answered it and put it on hold for me. No, really. the extension in my office is a little weird, and sometimes there's call forwarding on, and, well, it's all too much for me, with no real incentive to learn this.

And oh, boy, that business with S. last week!  Late on Tuesday afternoon, I picked up her cable box and swapped it for a new one at the Cox Communications store, because there was a price break (less than current charges) for doing so. When I came out, my car was spurting coolant all over the parking lot. Oh, yeah, I'm lousy at automotive technology, too. So I drove straight to my mechanic, who was about to close up. He very nicely drove me and S.'s Cox equipment home. To me home, that is. S., who has pretty much nothing in her life except tv, had to do without it overnight.

Wednesday it took all day to get my car back, so I didn't get to S.'s place with the cable box until about 4:30 PM. I spent the next five hours trying to get the following components to talk to each other (as applicable):

  • S's old, non-HD Samsung television, with no remote and broken control buttons on the front
  • the new Cox box with HD and DVR capabilities
  • the cable feed coming in through the wall
  • a cable splitter
  • a new cable modem
  • a new laptop
The big problem, aside from the Cox self-installation kit being missing the equipment diagram sheet, was S's tv, which was stuck on some less-than-ideal setting, and consequently didn't want to listen to any remote that might otherwise be programmed to control it. After a Cox tech support person and I tried every code on the Cox remote without success, I had to go out and buy a different universal remote. I tried every Samsung code on that, too. None of them operated the channel buttons, but one did manager to get it off its "I'm not listening, la-la-la" setting. On the third call to Cox, after half an hour of arguing with the automated computerized troubleshooter, I got a different tech support guy who had me try a slightly different procedure for programming the Cox remote. Success! He then cleared up the issue with the cable modem, and we were up and running at last. Hooray!

When I get stuck, I try to call the appropriate tech support person, or solve it online. But some tech setup at home falls in John's ball court. He always manages it eventually, including tricky stuff like setting up routers with passcodes and stuff. But it's always stressful for him. At such times, I try to stay out of his way!

Oh, and tonight? This entry was delayed when Blogger decided, wrongly, that Firefox didn't have Java or cookies enabled. I had to reboot twice to get Firefox to load properly.



Sandrine said...

Lol. I loved the 'I'm not listening, la la la setting'! You clearly understand the inner annoyinness of electronic things! I do get the office phone malfunction too. When I moved to England at 18, fresh out of high school programming club I messed up a programming logic class because I couldn't figure out how to turn the computer on in the first day! I never returned (but somehow managed to pass...)

Anonymous said...

Wow... one of those times when bad luck comes in threes, or something. First, the car leak - always sucks when that happens - and then having to deal with Cox's cable equipment... and then an old and unresponsive TV that patters on about how "in my day, YOU were the remote!" and finally having to talk to a computerized customer help line...

Man... rough go!