February 1, 2011: Cold Cold Cold

Wow is it cold this morning.  The house was fifty two degrees this morning when we woke up.  It could have been worse.  Sitting in the living room you can feel the icy air moving through the house as there is so little insulation that the air literally moves through the house from the wind blowing outside.  It is ridiculous.

As expected, the office closed this morning as did pretty much every business in North Texas.  The roads are covered in ice with a tiny layer of snow, the wind is crazy and the temperature is way below twenty.  Too cold for Texans to be out and about.

Working from home is nice but it would be nicer if it was warm and if working was a little bit easier to do.  With the garage under major construction the place is a complete mess and the power and the Internet access are unreliable.  Last night, before going to bed, we had noticed some issues with the Internet access – we were getting tons of dropped packets.  I did some repositioning of wires and stuff and things seem to work for the most part.  We were hopeful that that would get us through the day.

The electricians and Souder arrived late in the morning.  They reported that the roads were awful and that it had taken them forever to get out to where we were.  About an hour and a half which is crazy.

By early afternoon we had the heat on again.  Boy does that feel nice.  They worked for about two hours and then took off to go save someone else who had no power and was freezing.  Busy day for electricians – out saving all the people who haven’t tested their furnaces yet.

All day the Internet access got worse and worse with dropped packets getting more and more frequent.  Eventually it was completely unusable.  Just what I need when the weather is bad and I am working from home – likely for several days.

So most of the afternoon was spent working to get the Internet to work.  That ended up being a complete disaster.  To make a long story short we had to rewire the FiOS three times and I spent well over three hours on the phone with Verizon as each person transferred me to a different queue where, instead of finding me the resource that I needed, they just put me in as a new caller so that I would have to wait and wait until someone picked up the phone, told me that this was the wrong queue and started the process over.  At one point, the IVR just decided that I couldn’t be helped and said “Sorry, please hang up” without any reason or explanation.  Thanks Verizon.  Abysmal customer service today and the IVR is completely broken too with incorrect options and dead ends.

Finally, after going through a few phone batteries and getting insanely irate at Verizon for doing nothing to follow up on a clear problem, I managed to get someone from FiOS Tech Support (which, by the way, does not have an IVR selection – you have to go to “questions about FiOS billing” to get tech support which should be under the “other” as it is not billing) and once I got someone who actually knew how to do their job, getting the box fixed was no problem.  He was very helpful and apologized for the known broken IVR and the incompetent dolts who had been trying to get me to go away for the last few hours.

Now, finally, the FiOS box is hooked up to give me real “fibre” rather than converting the fibre to a cable connection outside and just being a cable service.  Attention Verizon: all of the cable providers (Cox, Cablevision, Time Warner, Comcast, etc.) have fibre in the back end and cable to your home, if you do the same thing you are just a cable carrier!  Offer it as an option, don’t default to not giving us fibre to ethernet – what century is this?

So we finally have solid Internet access and the ability to put a real firewall on the line as well.  What a painful afternoon.  But at least it resulted in good progress overall.  But a very long and stressful day dealing with all of that.  Glad that it is over.

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