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  • Hey you IT guys....

    I personally feel you are missing the boat. I just spent a bit over a week without the internet. I couldn't get very much help and the help that was available to me was stupid expensive. Let me explain....

    I decided to move my main computer hub from an upstairs bedroom to a more centralized location in my home. Upon reconnecting everything, absolutely nothing worked. No amount of internal checking with IE (or firefox for that matter) could determine what the problem was. All I kept getting internally was to check my ethernet connection. IOW, I had zero connection with my ISP. A call to ATT verified that all was fine with the signal they sent to my home, but would gladly send someone out for a fee of course.

    D-Link was nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get a hold of (I had a D-Link 2320B DSL modem and a DIR-615 wireless router). Being in the eastern time zone, and their technical support being on western time zone time.... I could only try and call them in the evening. Several nights of being on hold for twenty minutes or more I would end up hanging up and continuing to try and trouble shoot the problem myself. I finally waited for over THIRTY SEVEN minutes on hold and got a live person. He spent several minutes asking questions about my gear, how I had everything connected and what I had already done to trouble shoot my problem. We're now about fifteen minutes into our conversation and he pronounces proudly that he's absolutely confident he can help me fix my problem. But was I "aware" that there would be a fee. I said sure, no problem (I had the CC ready).... until, that is, he explained exactly what that fee would be. He quoted me a price of $75 for an hours worth of service. I asked him how long he thought it might take and he again, very proudly proclaimed.... "no more than five or ten minutes." So I asked if I would be charged on a pro-rated basis and he said no.... but I had a full year to use the remaining minutes of service. What a great deal! I hung up.

    I then call ATT the next evening (their help service isn't available until 9:00 Am EST. They said that since I didn't have ATT equipment it would be $15 per month, but I could have unlimited IT service 24/7. I once again thought about it and was ready to do it (being the technically challenged guy that I am) thinking it was an investment I probably should make. Untill she told me I needed to pay a $99 fee to sign up for the service. I said "look.... I just need help with this one little problem - is there a one time fee I can pay and be done with it?" She said "Sure! - it's only $129.00" I hung up on her too.

    Fast forward to this past Saturday, I stop by a computer shop after work. You know, one of thos shops where they custom build ubber machines for gamers and the like. They were busy, but a very nice guy took a long time asking questions about my gear and what I did un-hooking everything and exactly what I had done setting everything back up. He explained that the modem and router need to be connected and powered up in a certain order and to try that. If that didn't work, he suggested that my modem may have decided to take a dump right at the minute I had disconnected it.... but he doubted it. He even gave me times to call when they were not traditionally busy and he'd try and talk me through it. But, being a holiday weekend, they would be closed Sunday and Monday.

    So I tried everything he told me and still.... nothing worked. In frustration, I go to BB and purchase another modem on Monday. I buy an ATT modem figuring it "should" be able to connect with my ATT service and configure itself with ease. I install it and voile.... I have service. For about an hour on Monday and then nothing until this morning. I'm about at my wits end with this. I have yet to connect up my router and other computers or my VOIP phone. So, I'm crossing my fingers in anticipation.

    A few of you IT guys (or several really) need to get together and form a company where by you are available on a per minute or quarter of an hour basis. The D-Link guy was a pleasant fellow and I would have gladly paid the $75 per hour to fix my problem. If they would have charged on a per minute or by the quarter of an hour. I don't know how you would set up or work something like that, but for a nincompoop like me, a service like that would be a Godsend.

    :ufo:
    John W.
    Indy

  • #2
    How would you make any money charging by the minute or even quarter hour? When I'm working on something I bill for it's a one hour minimum charge, travel time one way is included in that minimum time.

    On the surface it looks like it would be a very good business but it's not always. You end up billing more because you rarely (almost never) have a full schedule. Plus your working at the customers house which is a real negative. Working on site at a business is a entirely different situation. You're on neutral ground so to speak and working on equipment that belongs to the "business". We working at someones house you're on their turf and anything thing that happens even a week later is your fault. It's a real headache that comes with a lot of baggage.

    Back when I was in corporate services it was pretty straight forward, install and configure the router, workstations etc. Then DSL rolled out and it was still very much in it's infancy, no self installs. Anyway between company installs I was site surveying and configuring end user machines in their home. You cannot imagine the assholes I ran into! You obviously aren't like that......are you :neener 1:, but they are out there....everywhere!
    Coach Pat Summitt - Folding at Home

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    • #3
      Its funny how often this problem actually happens. In most cases they are simple fixes that IT's charge an arm for and take 3 times longer to solve than it should. Ive found most people just end up buying a whole new modem when in most cases its a simple refresh or renew of an IP number.
      Sorry to hear about your troubles. Definitely have dealt with this one alot. Though I don't charge per hour. I charge per task.

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      • #4
        Part of the issue is the opportunity cost of offering a service like that. I used to work for a company that was an ISP, a VoIP provider, AND had local services including a computer shop. There was a level of skill in the call center where we did technical suport for Dial-up, DSL, and VoIP, as well as general customer service, and then there was a level of skill in the web hosting department and the computer shop. They weren't the same. You see, the people in the call center were less highly paid, and in many cases, were taught nearly everything they know AFTER they were hired. The higher skilled people in the other departments were either hired in for their skill set or cherry picked from the call center because of their higher skill level. This requires paying them quite a bit more. While it's true that the call center is still a cost center rather than a profit center, the cost of technical support is an integral part of the ISP business and is figured into the business model, while in the computer shop there is more money to be made while you are NOT on the phone. We generally avoided helping people over the phone as much as possible, because that's not making any money. (warranty service was a different story, of course) If we techno-folk were to band together, we'd probably find that we could make more money doing something other than helping people fix various issues over the phone.

        In the case of your particular issue, you first called your ISP, who is the company you have purchased a service from. They probably dropped the ball the most here. I'm shocked that they won't even offer over-the-phone setup help, as it's pretty standard in that business. D-Link has some technical support people, but they aren't really there for you. They're there for larger companies like your ISP or for enterprise customers doing large rollouts. They have highly skilled, (relatively) highly paid people in their call center, and the amount they charge amouts to a deterrent to customers like you so they can spend their time with a company that just bought $10k worth of equipment because that's what makes the company money. The cruel economic realities, though, are that your only recourse for being unhappy with ATT's cost of technical support is to find different ISP, and if Cable isn't available in your area, then you'd just be finding a 3rd party provider for ATT's dsl service. That means you'd get the better service, but you'd pay more per month - something ATT has almost certainly figured in to their monthly 24/7 tech support fee.
        Angel City Audio
        East Street Audio

        ACA, Melody, Onix, NuForce, KR Audio

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tthurman
          How would you make any money charging by the minute or even quarter hour? When I'm working on something I bill for it's a one hour minimum charge, travel time one way is included in that minimum time.

          On the surface it looks like it would be a very good business but it's not always. You end up billing more because you rarely (almost never) have a full schedule. Plus your working at the customers house which is a real negative. Working on site at a business is a entirely different situation. You're on neutral ground so to speak and working on equipment that belongs to the "business". We working at someones house you're on their turf and anything thing that happens even a week later is your fault. It's a real headache that comes with a lot of baggage.

          Back when I was in corporate services it was pretty straight forward, install and configure the router, workstations etc. Then DSL rolled out and it was still very much in it's infancy, no self installs. Anyway between company installs I was site surveying and configuring end user machines in their home. You cannot imagine the assholes I ran into! You obviously aren't like that......are you :neener 1:, but they are out there....everywhere!
          Beat me to the post, but you bring up an excellent point. I hated onsite jobs (for non-corporate customers) not necessarily because they were Jerks (although some definitely were - and I encountered some terrible smells too) but because of the warranty issues and other things that can go wrong. If I spend an hour total on an in-shop repair and charge $69 for it, then the customer finds a new problem (which statistically, based on us keeping track, was only our fault or something we missed about 20% of the time anyway, but try telling that to the customer...) and they have to drop it off at the shop and I work on it at the same time as other jobs. If I go to their house and fix the problem, then any warranty service is time spent working only on THEIR computer. Again lost opportunity costs.
          Angel City Audio
          East Street Audio

          ACA, Melody, Onix, NuForce, KR Audio

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by woofersus
            Beat me to the post, but you bring up an excellent point. I hated onsite jobs (for non-corporate customers) not necessarily because they were Jerks (although some definitely were - and I encountered some terrible smells too) but because of the warranty issues and other things that can go wrong. If I spend an hour total on an in-shop repair and charge $69 for it, then the customer finds a new problem (which statistically, based on us keeping track, was only our fault or something we missed about 20% of the time anyway, but try telling that to the customer...) and they have to drop it off at the shop and I work on it at the same time as other jobs. If I go to their house and fix the problem, then any warranty service is time spent working only on THEIR computer. Again lost opportunity costs.
            Back in the day I used to help with custom installs and I really hated it. Loved working with equipment, but I hated being in somebody's home. The ones who like to "monitor" the entire situation really, really sucked. Made drilling through walls feel like performing heart surgery. I felt like I needed an assistant to wipe my brow. I remember one time a guy didn't know how to hook his PS2 to his HDTV so I went out there and spent about 6 hours doing what should have been a 10 minute job because the guy had all his gear crammed into an unbreathable built in wall unit and we had to literally disassemble his entire system just to get to the back of his receiver. Once we got it put back together, the tv wouldn't display the PS2 picture. We troubleshooted, took it apart, never could figure this out and almost this entire time we have his wife watching us giving us looks like we are subhuman idiots. In the end, something was wrong with their tv's component input as demonstrated by our test dvd player. So all that work and stress and we couldn't even charge them for our time. I know we should have but it wasn't my call and they basically accused us of defacing their furniture by putting holes in the back of the built in (that were impossible to see when equipment was in) to route the wires from level to level instead of crushing them against the back of the shelf. Essentially, we cleaned up their entire rat nest system, hooked up his cable and dvd player with the right connections, diagnosed that they had a bum component input, don't charge them a thing and then get blamed for f'ing things up. That is a thankless job and one I would really warn people about going into.

            Sorry, was that a bit off topic? :whoopie:

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm not talking about an in home service. I know EXACTLY what you guys are talking about being in the buisness of improving said homes. What I was referring to was some sort of service where a goober like me could call and you IT guru's could walk a person through a trouble over the phone. Maybe it's not practical since it would be an augmentation to your regular job, but dang I was frustrated by not being able to figure out what was going on.

              One friend of mine who knows far more than me about these things said, "well.... just ping your router and tell me what it says." I laughed at him and said WTF does that mean and how in the heck do I do it? It was his call that the problem probably lied in the modem and how it was configured. Even going through the set up disc again didn't seem to help so that's why I bit the bullit and bought the new ATT modem. Now, with ATT equipment I suppose they HAVE to help me if I have further problems. I dunno, we'll see I suppose.

              I'm going to try and set the router back up tonight and get the wireless network back up and functioning. I did it all once before (but God help me I haven't got the slightest clue how I did....), so hopefully, I can do it again.

              Wish me luck!
              John W.
              Indy

              Comment


              • #8
                It remains amazing to me that even with all the time we waste setting up and troubleshooting computers, they actually help us gain productivity.:dizzy:

                And while I"m on a rant, how many times have I wished while making a purchase at a store, that they would just punch in the price and take my f*&C#@ cash, instead of endlessly screwing around with the stupid computer/cash register that they either don't understand or that just doesn't work!:dizzy:

                I wish Rodney Mackay was my neighbor for all the nagging, pita, Chinese water torture little problems that won't go away with my computer/network...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by django1
                  It remains amazing to me that even with all the time we waste setting up and troubleshooting computers, they actually help us gain productivity.:dizzy:

                  And while I"m on a rant, how many times have I wished while making a purchase at a store, that they would just punch in the price and take my f*&C#@ cash, instead of endlessly screwing around with the stupid computer/cash register that they either don't understand or that just doesn't work!:dizzy:

                  I wish Rodney Mackay was my neighbor for all the nagging, pita, Chinese water torture little problems that won't go away with my computer/network...
                  Well, I'd say that computers give us the capability to be more productive. They don't always actually lead to it. :fryingpan:

                  The store checkout thing is a pet peeve of mine as well. It comes from situations where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing when it comes to developing the software and SOP's. Marketing people, like me, want various pieces of information tracked to help us make future marketing and merchandising decisions, as well as various point of sale upsell opportunities. (extended warranties, credit offers, etc.) Unfortunately, the process isn't frequently well designed. You end up with maddeningly inefficient checkout procedures. The worst offender I've come across is Best Buy. They'd make so much more money on Black Friday if they could only process sales efficiently. Even when the rush is over I skip that store because it'll be an hour wait to check out.
                  Angel City Audio
                  East Street Audio

                  ACA, Melody, Onix, NuForce, KR Audio

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    if you are unsure what how your router is configured or if it is a source of trouble you can easily reset it by holding a reset button on the back of it for 5-20 seconds. This will restore it to a factory state. to ping you just need to fire up the command prompt (start menu go to run or type into the search field CMD) this will give you the ability to type in commands. to ping something just type ping and then the ip address you wish to ping. in this case your router likely has the ip address of either 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 so you would type in "ping 192.168.1.1" (with out quotation marks). modems will typically only stop working if they die and or if they aren't receiving any internet connection information from your ISP. rarely will a modem error out because of setting changes when you haven't done anything to it.

                    your isp shouldnt charge you anything to do a basic set of trouble shooting to see if your modem is working.


                    you dont need to connect things up in a specific order, that is just bs. also modems, like most inexpensive electronics, are built using really cheap components and have very short (programmed) life times and will likely die within that programmed life span (somewhere on the order of 3-5 years).

                    glad you got everything fixed. the problem for home users of technology is that they will never get access to the best knowledge and information from the IT field. People like myself always end up in corporate gigs and try to avoid the home users as much as possible. it's a sad thing but most home users would not run into most problems if they spent a little bit of time learning some best practices (like only opening attachments after they scanned them with their antivirus). In a corporate setting I can lock down computers and prevent users from doing anything that will endanger the hardware, software or network. it would be illegal to do that to home users.


                    Matt
                    Still think Craig is in the "Chase" for that sense of humour. :neener 1:

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Surprised your AT&T didn't help you. Verizon does all that does for free, even though you have to have a lot of patience. 99% of all problems have to be handled by the ISP which is why I have to call them even though I am an IT guy. I have never had a router problem (which I can diagnose) all my problems have been with the modem and host configuration. I have this one problem where every once in a while my IP address won't renew properly even when powering down the modem and I have to call them and have them release and renew the IP address manually. I took me a long time to figure out what to tell them so that I don't have to spend hours on the phone for them to figure out that what I told them the problem was is actually the problem.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yeah.... I was surprised that ATT wouldn't help me at least get my connection back. But, because I had a modem that wasn't made "for" ATT they checked my service from their end, determined that their wasn't a problem with my service and said I was on my own or had to pay for any further help. I refused the freebie ATT modem when I initially went to broadband from dial up because on the recommendation of a friend, I had gone with the D-Link broadband modem and wireless router.

                        I didn't get the chance to add my router into the mix and set up the rest of my network last night because of a thing with my girls at school, but will give it a try tonight. So far though for the last two mornings, I've connected quickly and had solid service the last couple of mornings. I don't know what the problem was late on Monday and early Tuesday when after initially working on Monday, I had no service the rest of the day on Monday and early Tuesday. But so far, so good.

                        I understand why the smarter IT guys don't really want to mess with home users like me. Especially over the phone. We don't have the knowlege and/or terminology to properly explain a problem quickly and with the correct detail. That's why I'm sure the folks out there like me wouldn't mind in the least paying for your service. But dag gone it, to say I've got to pay for a full hour when the guy said he was confident it was a minor problem and could get it diagnosed and corrected in a few minutes just struck me the wrong way.

                        I suppose in the end I paid the $75 price tag anyway because my new modem cost me $69.99 plus tax. But it would have been incredibly irksome if I'd had to pay D-Link or ATT for the full hour and then determined that the modem was in fact bad and I had to spend another $70 on top of what I paid them. But I suppose some good did come out of it in that now with an ATT modem, ATT will be forced to help me if I have any further problems.

                        All is well that ends well I suppose. In either case, it's good to be back fellas! :yes:
                        John W.
                        Indy

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                        • #13
                          You should be in good shape now. That was bad advice not going with the AT&T modem. Of course, now you know why.:dizzy:
                          If I can help just let me know. I will charge the same price that you do for roofing advice. :D

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by quadman
                            Yeah.... I was surprised that ATT wouldn't help me at least get my connection back. But, because I had a modem that wasn't made "for" ATT they checked my service from their end, determined that their wasn't a problem with my service and said I was on my own or had to pay for any further help. I refused the freebie ATT modem when I initially went to broadband from dial up because on the recommendation of a friend, I had gone with the D-Link broadband modem and wireless router.
                            While not getting their modem might not have been the best advice, you probably should have insisted on speaking with a manager and threatened to cancel your service. You would be surprised how quickly a subscription service or an isp will back down from an unreasonable possition like that. Dlink doesn't have a vested interest, but at&t certainly does. THey will make exceptions for paying costumers who voice their discontent and escalate.
                            :tanks alot:


                            I'm in IT for a living and the only way to get reasonable service in this industry is to escalate. This is especially true in residential situations. Ask to speak to the guy behind the curtain. Make the conversation about what they can do to keep you as a costumer. Be civil but firm and don't back down.

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