$121.40 a month for this?

We get 8,760 hours in a year. In good years, 3 of those (180 minutes) can be spent watching a Steelers playoff game. In a really good year, you can watch the Steelers WIN a playoff game in those 3 hours. It’s one reason, maybe the only reason, to occasionally not despise January.

Yesterday, during those precious 3 hours, all Comcast services went out in the Greensburg area (for us, no TV and Internet), along with TV-only outages in some other Westmoreland County areas, from a few minutes left in the 3rd quarter to a few minutes left in the 4th quarter. So, we basically lost a WHOLE QUARTER. 30+ minutes. Of a playoff game. While the Steelers were kicking butt.

I couldn’t even get through to Comcast to scream at them — busy for 10-15 minutes. (Good thing we don’t have Comcast phone, or I couldn’t have even done that.) When I did get through, I heard a hastily recorded message about network problems and an apology for “any inconvenience.”

Yeah, inconvenient. That does it justice.

In the 3+ years we’ve lived here, we’ve never had an outage of this sort. Nope. It had to happen during A PLAYOFF GAME.

Of course, we already had the radio on listening to Tunch and Bill. Thank God for that (I love you guys).

For a brief few seconds, I thought, “I wonder if it’s worth it to pay for cable and satellite, so if one goes out during a playoff game, you won’t miss anything?”

Yep, the thought crossed my mind. (“I bet that’s what rich people do.”)

It’s scary to love a team that much.

Radio football is football reduced to its lowest common
 Shorn of the game’s aesthetic pleasures,
or the comfort of a crowd that feels the same way as you,
or the sense of security that you get when you
see that your defenders and goalkeeper are more or less
where they should be, all that is left is naked fear. 
                            ~ Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch, 1992

…no one!

Per my previous post, I thought I’d just update on the Internet connectivity (or lack thereof) situation. Had a GREAT Comcast technician here today who did all that we could have asked for. He tested things at my modem/computer — no problems today, naturally — as well with how the cables are routed in the house in general. Of course, in an old house, nothing is ideal, and even though we had an electrician do many electrical updates and add cable and phone jacks in a couple places when we moved in, it still wasn’t ideal.

Now, we hope, it is closer. The Comcast tech changed out a bunch of splitters in our attic (not easy to get to) and checked everything. And he gave us some advice on things to check if the intermittent outage happens again.

Time will tell, but we couldn’t have asked for anything more today, or this week really, since on Monday Comcast installed a complete new line from the house to the street. It was good service on both counts, and that’s something to write about. Kudos to Comcast.

If you make customers [un]happy in the physical world,
they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers
[un]happy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.
                                   ~ Jeff Bezos 
                                                          (his quote was”unhappy;” 
                                                     my version is “happy”)

And the blame goes to…

Hello, my name is Christine, and I’m an Internet addict. (Hi, Christine.)

No, I don’t spend hours and hours searching out porn or shopping online or randomly surfing, but I do make my living online and go into sweaty, gut-clenching withdrawal when the Internet goes down for any reason. What e-mails am I missing? What client is offering me a new project or making a request I can’t fulfill? What do you mean I can’t blog? Or find that cookie recipe? Or check my bank account? I’m in agony.

So these intermittent outages I’ve been experiencing for the past month or so are driving me nuts. When it happened last Thursday night, my call to Comcast tech support resulted in an offer to send a tech out the following MONDAY! Fortunately, my Internet came back on its own a couple hours later, and stayed on all weekend. On Monday this week, the Comcast tech put a whole new line from the street to our house, and saved a couple bits from the replaced line to show us where it was frayed or pinched. That should solve any problems, he said. At the same time, we’re also having some issues with our digital cable “digitizing” (pixelating, bitmapping, tiling [his word], whatever you want to call it) every now and then, mostly noticeable on one channel. Well, the new cable line should fix that too.

Nix on both counts. Still getting the occasional digitization. Still getting the intermittent outages — this time, from 5:30 p.m. last night to 9:30 a.m. this morning. I was beside myself.

For now, I’m back up and running. A Comcast tech will be here again tomorrow. Comcast phone support tried to tell me he thinks it’s my modem (which is MY modem, not rented through Comcast, and getting on in years — purchased 5 years ago) and that I could should get a new one from Comcast (because it’s SO much better to rent one from them because they”ll swap it for free if there’s ever a problem. In the last 5 years, I’ve had zero problems with my modem, and had I been paying them the $3/month rental, they would be up $75 over my purchase price. What a deal!).

The other issue is that the phone support rep told me they will be upgrading Comcast service at the end of the month, and my existing modem (a Motorola SB4200) won’t be able to handle the new speeds. If I decided to buy one on my own, I should look for a modem with DOCSIS 3.0 technology — BUT nobody is selling them (like at Wal-Mart or Best Buy). Or anywhere else either apparently. Even though Motorola has a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem (model SB6120), nobody has it for sale online either, not even on Motorola’s Web site.

So, we’ll see what happens tomorrow with the Comcast tech. I’m not convinced the problem is at my end (or else why would it keep coming back on?). And I’m not convinced they’re sending the right type of tech person out. When I had intermittent problems at my previous house, they sent someone who actually came in my house, sat at my computer, and looked at the modem logs and such. Eventually, this wonderful tech was able to trace the problem to an underground cable that had been clipped by construction in the area.  I just hope whoever comes tomorrow has the same computer and troubleshooting skills. If he recommends a new modem, I’ll gladly buy one (assuming I can find one). And yeah, I may even break down and rent one from Comcast —  I can’t afford to not be up and running, and it’s a business expense I can write off.

But still, something seems a little fishy, and a little random (Oh, just go buy a new modem, even though all your modem lights are on as they usually are and you still can’t get online. Maybe that’ll fix it.). Time will tell. I’ll happily post an “I was wrong. It was all my fault.” update if that turns out to be the case.

 The man who can smile when things go wrong
has thought of someone else he can blame it on.
                                       ~ Robert Bloch

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