Saturday, February 28, 2004

Technology Sucks Part 2: The attack of the used fax cartridge

So about 2 weeks ago our fax machine started complaining that its cartridge was almost empty, so we shlepped over to Office Depot and bought one, shoved it in the fax machine.
The day of the cell phone fiasco, I came home for puppy duty and the fax machine was beeping and saying that the cartridge was empty. How could it be empty, I just put a new one in there?

Checked it, and sure enough it was empty. Now either we had run through a bazillion faxes in a week, which is possible with all the spam faxes we've been getting lately, or there was a problem with the cartridge. I ripped it out and looked at it. There were faxes from a large company to a large government agency on this thing. The cartridge is actually just rolled up carbon paper, so I could read everything that had been faxed. Gee, wonder if anyone knows this is out floating around.

Doesn't matter though, because my fax machine won't stop beeping until you put a stupid cartridge in, my nerves are frayed enough from dealing with the cell phone people, and now I have to run out to Office Depot and yell at them.

Off to Office Depot I go, all pissed off because I'm wasting my lunch hour, and plop the cartridge on the counter. I have to admit that they were very nice and apologetic about the whole thing, although they did look at me like I was trying to rip them off for a $35.00 cartridge. I assured them that I wasn't with this big company, or the government agency, and frankly I would think that either of them would be a little disturbed to have their business floating around where everyone can read it, and they gave me a new cartridge.

After I got home from work I was able to shut up the insane beeping of the fax machine, which promptly burped out a fax telling me that railroad ties were a great investment.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Technology sucks, Part 1

So, the husband and I went out last weekend and bought new cell phones. Actually, he wanted the new Motorola V400, and I was just going to let him get it, but the salesguy convinced me that with the "new technology" out, my phone was doomed to become a paperweight, so why not blow $500 on cell phones, and gizmos and pouches and holders. Besides, the phone has a camera, and what idiot nowadays has a phone without a camera.

So we get them, and proudly drag them home, clueless how to do anything with them other than dial a phone number. We play with them for a day or two before we realize (on a sunday), that hey... nothing works. No voicemail, no internet access, no text messaging, nothing.

This has happened to us before with this cell carrier (whose name I won't divulge). Every time we've changed our plan or got new phones, they mess up our account and we lose something (like the ability to dial the damn phone), and have to make several calls to clear up the problem. While they're clearing up the problem, typically they try to stick us on the latest plan, which means we lose all of our freebies from our previous plan.

Of course the cell company customer service department doesn't work on weekends, so I have to wait until Monday morning to call. Bright and early, I'm on the phone for a 10 minute run through of their voicemail system (since none of the options seem remotely what I need, nor do they offer up a human sacrifice to my wrath). Then a 15 minute wait once I do find the "summon the human sacrifice" button, listening to really bad music and cell phone commercials (one of which is touting all the cool things you can do with a Motorola V400... WHICH I HAVE AND IS USELESS!). So after 25 minutes on "hold" do they actually wonder why people are in a foul mood?

My first call (yes, it took more than one call, is this a surprise to anyone), netted a very perky (way too perky for 8am) woman, who looked at our account and said "oh", in that "something pooped on my shoe" type way. After 15 minutes of clicking noises (which I'm convinced is a recording, she's sitting there reading a magazine), she announced that the problem must be escalated to the tech support branch. I hate being "escalated" because that means you'll never hear back from anyone ever again, and it still won't work.

She informed me that she would call and leave a voicemail on my cell phone when it was fixed. I was smarter than she (having drank 2 cups of coffee before the call) and told her that if my voicemail was broke and not set up, how would I even begin to know that I had a message? She took my work number instead.

5 hours later (what a shock), and our phones still didn't work, and perky girl hadn't called.

Call #2, I just press "0" this time and bypass all the crap, and have a 2 minute wait for a human that actually took 5. This time, luckily, the woman that answered gave me the poop on the shoe "oh" when she looked at our account, but actually said that she would try to fix it... and she did. 45 minutes later, she did manage to give us back all the stuff we had paid for, and explained that whoever put in the new service told it to start on the 27th (we bought the phones on the 21st), and cancel the old service immediately, which means we had nothing til the 27th. I don't know what she did, but it worked, we have all of our stuff and there was dancing in the streets... except for:

Technology sucks Part 2: the attack of the used fax cartridge
Technology sucks Part 3: HP and their Welchia virus bad memory expensive computer (and Steve)
Technology sucks Part 4: IR Palm keyboard goes whacky

Monday was not a good day.

Friday, February 20, 2004

I just started this, so I really have nothing to say at this time.