Even Dell technicians hate Dell technicians. And Sympatico, and Microsoft, and…

Welp, as some of you know and others of you guessed I’m sure by now, the formerly Vista and now XP computer is up and running. Well, partially. No wireless network support and there’s still a rather lengthy list of devices Windows doesn’t have drivers for. But I’m slowly piecing that together. Now, here’s why every time I have to call tech support, I cringe. And not because I am one. So I call up Del on Monday, because their support site doesn’t have a driver for my built-in wireless card. Not for XP, at least–which, okay, no big deal; it came with Vista, after all. So I check the Vista drivers list, like I’ve been doing with a few other things, and there’s none listed there. So I just flat out asked the technician I spoke to on Monday, “does this machine even come with a driver for the wireless card?” Honest question, and a simple enough yes or no question to be sure–if I were sitting on the *other* end of that conversation, I could have probably told myself one way or another in about a minute and a half. But, not with this guy, who first wanted to spend 5 minutes making *sure* I wasn’t a moron calling up with the misguided belief that, because I got this new fangled desktop thing sitting in my living room, it automaticly comes with a wireless card. Did I mention I pointed out to him at least once I’m employed with Dell, doing things like network troubleshooting on a daily basis? So I know when a computer’s supposed to come with a wireless card–like, say, when in your order information, it says that one was specificly requested. So, we get by that round about, and he finally decides he actually wants to varify whether or not it does. So he tells me to go to their support site–I guess he wasn’t listening when I said I’ve already been there and they don’t have it. He finally just decides to put me on hold and do some “research”–for the record, when a hardware tech says they’re doing some research, you know they’re asking one of their l2’s if this is a good enough reason to transfer them to the Dell on Call department. About 20 minutes go by, and he comes back, saying he can’t find the wireless card on my system. Insert long, exasperated, frustrated sigh, and me telling him, yet again, that it doesn’t give a brand name in the order details, but, and this is where I think I drive the point home that I work for the same company, I tell him the training material *should* say what brand the wireless card option includes for my particular model of computer. Silence. Then he asks to put me on hold again. Another few minutes go by. Presumeably, more “research”. Then he comes back, says he thinks he found the brand and model of the wireless card, the exact details I honestly don’t remember–for the record, when a technician says “I think”, it’s never pretty–and tells me that it looks like the support for that particular model is built directly into Vista. And there are no drivers for XP. So, not wanting to argue the point, I hang up, and plug that particular model into the almighty goog. And sure enough, inside of 10 minutes, I could have called that particular technician a liar. But… rather than openly and blatantly advertising the obvious, I just dinked around a bit, installed a few things I needed to install, and called it a night–I had to work the next night, and it was 5:00 or later in the morning before I finally decided to fall into bed. So it got to sit there until tonight, when I ended up not going to work–thank you, public transportation, for showing up early and thus making me miss the only bus that’d actually get me there before I was well into my shift. So I go back to that computer, figuring if the support is built into one version of Windows, the other version should have *something*. So I do a little fiddling, and sure enough, one wireless driver, for windows XP, located and installed. What was that you were saying about it was only designed to work with Vista? Now, the problem comes up that it’s telling me to make sure the actual card’s turned on. Now, they have a funky little keyboard command where you can do that for laptops, but I wasn’t sure about this particular desktop. Cringing again, I called tech support. Shoulda figured it out myself. First guy first of all had the same hearing problem as the last technician I spoke to, in that it took me 3 tries before he accepted that yes, Dell technician who troubleshoots networking problems on a daily basis does have a wireless router, does have it turned on, and does have it in the next room, well in range of the card that is trying to look for it. All I wanted to know was the one thing he either didn’t know how or didn’t want to tell me–was there a switch or something on the back of the bloody machine to turn the card on manually, or is there a similar command via the keyboard to do so as there is in laptops? He finally at least gets me over to the wireless department, and the girl on the other end actually has a brain. And is using it. If it wasn’t against the rules, I’d of done my own troubleshooting at work when I went in tomorrow… there, I’d at least have access to the same things these people do, and could have found the answer in probably 45 seconds, instead of 45 minutes and 2 technicians. Move on, now, to what I have to get done so I can actually get the antivirus software I’m using set up on my other computer. First requires actually getting the password from Sympatico for my current email address, so I can resurrect a really, really old one I haven’t used since I moved out of Pembroke nearly a year ago. Now, Sympatico uses Microsoft’s hotmail interface–so yes, a uber craptastic service to be sure–to manage their web interface for all things email. So in order to change, create or delete email addresses, I have to log into that craptastic interface. Not an altogether too thrilling experience, to say the least. But, I do it anyway, because for reasons beyond my control, I have to. So I enter my email address, and move onto the next screen to enter my password. And it sits there, loading… and loading… and loading… then shows me the logout screen… then sits there loading… and loading… and loading… eventually, I just said screw it, and closed the window. I can think of a lot of things I’d like to do on an unplanned but certainly not unwelcome night off. One of those is not deal with the idiocy of people I have no choice but to trust to keep methods of accessing services I pay for from going tits up. So instead, I shall go drop in on an RPG I haven’t played in forever. I’ll curse at the evil that is Hotmail, and the stupidity that is Sympatico’s decision to join forces with Microsoft, later. For the next hour or so, I’m planning to have fun. Or something.

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