Saturday, April 15, 2006

Bastard of the Day

I'm sorry. I know this is starting to get old, but once again EarthLink is my Bastard of the Day. You see, I now have a new occupation. It is my full-time job to babysit my DSL modem and recycle and/or reset it whenever it randomly disconnects. Better yet, maybe I have to recycle it twice, or maybe I have to utter some incantation like, "Reconnect, you worthless piece of ____!" Sometimes it happens every hour or two. Sometimes it's every five minutes. There is no rhyme or reason, so maybe that's why EarthLink tech support has been so utterly useless in addressing my problem. They recently sent me a new modem and cajoled me into committing to another year with them by offering to waive the $50 cost. The bastards still made me pay 20 bucks for shipping, though. Don't tell me they didn't make money on that deal -- a two-pound modem via UPS Ground for $20!

I have been a loyal and satisfied EarthLink customer for more than four years now. But I can no longer recommend their service due to their inability to keep me online. In the last three hours, my connection has dropped at least a dozen times. Make that at least thirteen, since it just happened again. It has gotten so bad that I don't click on a link without glancing at my modem first to make sure it hasn't disconnected in the last few seconds. Naturally, the file I was downloading at that moment was lost. My odds of still being connected in 15 minutes when that huge file is expected to finish are pretty slim.

I am going to call tech support again, which is always fruitless. First they'll ask me stupid questions like, "Is your computer turned on?" I have already reorganized my office to avoid any conflicts between the modem and other electronics, but they'll ask me about all that stuff, too. Then they'll make me run all over the house plugging my modem into every outlet. And they'll tell me nothing is wrong, which clearly is not the case. Never will they give me any explanation for why it works just fine for several days straight and then goes to crap. After wasting another two hours of my life, they will promise to have someone look into it, and soon I'll get a phone call telling me I need yet another modem. So I will wait for the new modem, dutifully install it... and have the same damn disconnect problem I had before. I'll call EarthLink again and they'll say it must be the 900 MHz cordless phone I'm using. But the only time I use that phone anywhere near the computer is when I'm calling tech support!

In the meantime, I've been throwing stuff around my office, cursing at the top of my lungs -- damn it, make that at least sixteen disconnects -- and generally giving my wife grounds for divorce. If I didn't mind the eight-hour downloads, I would seriously consider going back to 56K right now.

The conspiracy theorist in me is courting the idea that AT&T/SBC is messing with the lines of EarthLink customers in hopes of getting them to switch to their own DSL service. Of course, I'd never be able to prove it.

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