June 22nd, 2017


CenturyLink -- THANKS for Wasting HOURS of My Time

How have I spent my ENTIRE day (so far)??? Screwing with my computer, with my CenturyLink modem and with my Outlook settings. What do I think of MOST CenturyLink Level One support people? Stupid. Well, perhaps UNTRAINED and UNINFORMED would be more accurate and fair. But when you're me dealing with them and it's really frustrating and time-consuming, stupid seems apropos.

Here's how it starts:
I go to my computer first thing to check my email. Email isn't working. So I try and number of Outlook fixes for about half an hour. Then I suddenly realize I'm NOT ONLINE. This is a bigger problem than just Outlook being weird (as always). I phone CenturyLink and get a recording: They've been doing service in our area. Unplug my modem for five minutes and then plug it back in and everything will be fine. I try this four time within around a forty-minute time period. I'm getting pretty annoyed. So I call CenturyLink's support line AGAIN. No recording now, by the way!

The first Level One I reached tried a bit to help. Couldn't. Was sweet as can be (told me she was in Utah). But also told me I needed to buy a new modem to resolve my issue. BUY A NEW MODEM? "Your modem is pretty old," said she. And that was the extent of her knowledge. The second Level One I reached had a bit more smarts -- but was intimidated by my knowledge and snarky as hell. So much for sweet! She kept telling me to 'slow down' as we talked -- because she's following a sheet of instructions, obviously. Eventually between the two of us we managed to RESET the modem. Then the Level Two my Level One has on the phone resets our account password and my girl tells me what it is so I can set things up on this end. I'm finally on the internet (back online)!!! Woo hoo!

But Outlook won't work and I'm not getting email... (I let her go without helping with Outlook because she was quite clear that she had no experience with it. I bet.) So after dicking around with it, I finally get annoyed and call them back AGAIN. Why? Because I'm thinking maybe our email passwords are also corrupted and need resetting. This time I get Justin (who appears to be East Indian -- but the first two women were clearly Americans). At first I think he's not all that sharp. But suddenly he tells me the Qwest emails are being DISABLED!!! And that we should have (should have, mind you!) been notified in May that they were shutting them down. Um, I'm pretty incensed at this point.

First I'm told I need to buy a new modem. Not true. Now I'm told they've deactivated our email accounts without prior notice -- and believe me I went directly in and checked my emails to see it I'd gotten anything -- which was a big NO.

Then Justin goes into our account -- with much checking of who I am and do I have the account number (of course) and Social Security info (of course). Guess what? He finds that we have 'protected' emails. Good news! Except they mine work, of course. Hahaha. And then he tells me there are ALL NEW SETTINGS for the accounts! It's a new POP3 and new SMTP. Clearly if you have those wrong, you're not going to get or send email! Hahaha. So we walk through it. I can tell right away he's pleased that he doesn't have to tell me where to find any of these settings in Outlook, because as HE later said, I obviously know Outlook better than he does. (Probably true, as I work with it all the time at the office.) He gives me the changed POP3 and SMTP, plus the changed port info. And a few other settings. We're still having issues! I'm convinced we have corrupt passwords. But he makes a good point: I'd been to their online account and logged in using my username and password! So it's not that... But it keeps popping up over and over and over asking for the password. Then he asks about the username. This is usually not the full email -- but he tells me to try it. And it works! That's the good news, anyway...

So now my email is working just fine. I thank him many times and praise him and promise him a good review (which I'll absolutely do). Now I move to Marilyn's computer and her email. And start the process again... BAD NEWS. Marilyn's Outlook does NOT seem to be working. (sigh) So I guess I need to phone them all over again! Are you kidding me??? I'm so frustrated. What a wasted day!

And now, on a totally different note: When I mentioned recently about having Donn help me 'set up' a computer for sister Sue...

Guys, YES, I'm very, very experienced with basic computer setup. Hahaha. I've been doing IT Management since 2007. Plus I've been supporting people with their computers for a long time before that. Not only can I set up a home computer, but I can add a second monitor (set up dual monitors, in other words). And I can set up a home network (I've networked a lot of computers over the years). But unlike Donn, I do NOT open up computer towers if I can help it. I actually used to do that a bit way back when. But I don't have the expertise -- and have no plans to learn how. Why bother? I've got Donn for that. I have enough to learn on the software and Server side (my personal area of expertise). It's rarely necessary, anyway. But if it is necessary to open one up, I send computers to Donn -- who has been building them forever. (Know your limits, I say.)

I don't know if that sounds odd to people or not. But I manage IT -- which primarily means I'm the one who manages the people who work on our equipment. Frankly, for a manager I do a ton of hands-on work, which I don't mind at all, by the way. I do try to avoid lugging around heavy equipment anymore (I'm not supposed to because of my enlarged spleen, so this is not an age-related cop-out). There are loads of people who know more about this IT than I, of course. And remember: I have had NO FORMAL TRAINING for the work I do. It's all hands-on experience -- and a lot of reading of manuals and online information. But I do believe I know more than the average person does (and sometimes more than so-called experts I deal with, too). Otherwise I certainly couldn't do my very complex job.

So why would I have Donn help me? Because I'm not planning to do something standard. Plus he has the unit (I had him buy) that we'll use to hold the equipment. And he's the one who most recently had his hands on my sister's computer, not me. (In many ways Donn has more free time than I, so I often get him to do this work when I'm tied up with other things. He's not full time by any means, as you may have guessed by reading my blog.) And I don't mind having Donn by my side -- which I do at the office quite often. That doesn't mean he does all the work -- it means we have a partnership in the work we do!

I think somehow I gave the impression I couldn't put a computer together and hook it up to the internet, but that's just not the case. I'm pretty handy with computers and devices...

In other non-IT-related news, I just heard from Megan with the Roosevelt High School Alumni Association (RHSAA). She wants my help to revert to the website I created for them several years back, which I've told her I will be glad to do. She has experience with websites and HTML. But I don't think she hand codes or uses an FTP to upload pages. So she's unsure how to take what she already has (I gave them every single page a couple of years ago) and actually put it Live again.

It's very handy to be able to write code, read code and upload code without using anything fancy to do those things. I'm so grateful I learned all three!

That's it for now. I need to get some actual WORK done! (sigh) More later (I hope).

We're TIRED. But We Shopped, Anyway...

This has been a very hard week.

Marilyn is having a flare-up of her IBS-D -- little wonder. Stress alone would account for that.

The thing is, we'd be TIRED anyway after the parade. I don't know if it's even appropriate to call it the 'end' of the festival, with all the events we have going on this weekend (some starting tomorrow). There's often a big let down. And people frequently get sick during the end of June or during July. You can only keep up that pace for so long, I guess.

And now we're not only losing the seasonal staff, but we lost a third of our year round staff. And Marilyn has a ton of work on her plate (as she always does), but tons more.

I can't say this more clearly: I do not want her to face a summer of doing all this work alone. It's not fair to her. She works very hard all year long. But she deserves some rest at some point.

If she's not feeling better in the morning then we'll wait to go to the Oregon City event until Saturday. We do not plan to miss that event entirely! We've been looking forward to it for too long.

Then we'd go down to the beach late Saturday, and go to the Pirate Festival on Sunday... Again, this is a busy weekend facing us -- and Marilyn could use at least a DAY with no expectations.

Poor thing! She went out for drinks after work. But what started out as fun for her turned into just more WORK. She needs a break!

As for me, I did finally get my hair colored after all the crap all day about our internet and email. That's at least something. And it's real garbage night, so I'll get up in the middle of the night and tackle that. (sigh)

We went directly to the store to pick up my insulin (and it turned out other prescriptions were ready, too). Then over to the BottleDrop to take bags from here at the house and from at work. THEN to Walmart to shop -- especially to get cat food, kitty litter AND all many tons of supplements. Lots of $$$. And I'm sure it was EXHAUSTING for Marilyn.

We both admitted we were tired after this week. I wonder when Marilyn will finally get a day to relax?

I'm going to nap now -- then do the garbage and recycling.

I just changed Sheila's password -- today was her last day. Thankfully I can do that Remotely...

We were watching "The Fall" before Marilyn went to sleep. It's creepy (about a serial killer). Suddenly I heard noises upstairs! And both cats were in the family room with us. Plus Henry looked up at the noise, too! I had to come upstairs and check all around. (sigh)

Sweet dreams, all.