: views from the Hill

Friday, December 28, 2001

Did I sound hopeful last week? I was.

Did I sound hopeful last week? I was. The ATTBI tech had everything all fixed up and I was whizzing along.

Alas, as a good California power saver should, I powered down on Wednesday and rebooted about 5A on Thursday. "DHCP client unable to obtain IP address."

[sfx: hair pulling and wild screams]

I proceeded to spend four and a half hours online with ATTBI chat support, bumping into the obnoxious support staffer I'd bumped into the week before. Some staff were trying very hard, but they couldn't help. Mr. Obnoxious told me

T-Daniel S says: Please do not post until I am done
T-Daniel S says: enter route print
T-Daniel S says: Then enter ipconfig /all
T-Daniel S says: Then enter route -f
T-Daniel S says: Then enter ipconfig /release_all
T-Daniel S says: Then enter ipconfig /flushdns
T-Daniel S says: Then enter ipconfig/registerdns
T-Daniel S says: Then enter ipconfig /renew_all
T-Daniel S says: Do this after leaving this chat.
T-Daniel S says: Copy the results into a text document for me incase these steps do not work for you.

So I logged off my chat session and carefully kept a text document of the results (which he never referred to when we got back in contact.)

Guess what? My MSDOS commands don't recognize release_all, flushdns, registerdns or renew_all.

I tell him this and he tells me that that's impossible. Oh yeah?

Then he says
T-Daniel S says: When you run a route print command, the top few lines should have interface numbers associated with the adapters in your system.

And I tell him my route print command does NOT show the interface numbers associated with the adapters in my system. DOES NOT... He argues with me about that too.

He also starts making noises (after I tell him I don't have the drivers for my network adapters because the computer came home from work with me) that I have a stolen or bootleg version of the OS:

T-Daniel S says: Please understand that we are not even allowed to touch illegally obtained windows operating systems and drivers do become corrupt.

It goes on ...

T-Daniel S says: As you have been unable to provide me with the interface number of the adapter, I an unsure of what adapter you are releasing.

You say: I cannot give you the interface number if I don't know what I'm looking for.

T-Daniel S says: I did try to explain this two you two different times during the last chat.
T-Daniel S says: I apologize that I was unable to properly communicate this to you.

You say: You did. You said there was some sort of information at the top of the route print dump. There was no such information.
You say: if you want to try again. I'm game, but I need to know how to get the information.

T-Daniel S says: AS every route print that I have in front of me has this information on it, I am confused on that one.

You say: As I said: I type route print. I get "Active Routes" and then a dump of the seven (or eleven) active routes

T-Daniel S says: It even has it printed across the top
T-Daniel S says: I am on an NT work station at this time
T-Daniel S says: It says Interface Lists.
T-Daniel S says: An you do not have this information on the printout?

You say: I am at the MSDOS command prompt. I am telling you what I see when I type route print. I get
You say: a series of columns, eleven (or seven) rows deep with the headers network address, netmask, gateway address and interface and a column labeled "metric"

T-Daniel S says: Then you really should obtain a copy of your installation CD because this information has been available on every operating system that I have worked on over the last three years.
T-Daniel S says: The next line after route print is ==================================
T-Da after that is Interface list.
T-Daniel S says: The interface addresses follow this

Good grief.

So he finally set me up with an appointment a week later, which was yesterday, some time between noon and 4P.

The tech who came out was the same one as had come out on the 19th. We had a discussion about attitudes from customer support. He wound up replacing the Ethernet card, moving it to a different slot and replacing the modem.

He got things working. I tried powering down and rebooting. Everything seems to work, but I am NOT going to power down again until January 1st -- evening -- because the tech said all the tech staff has a four day weekend for New Year's. He also gave me the direct line in to his supervisor should things crap out again, because I shouldn't have to sit through the support queues again.

All's well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

ATTBI support chat - the continuing story

This transition to ATTBI from @Home has been very frustrating. Endless hours waiting for "live chat" support and then phone support. Unhelpful responses from e-mail support. ("Please use our HELP pages on site. We're swamped with HELP requests and won't be getting back to you for days.")

"Ya know?" I wanted to say -- but couldn't because they weren't reading their e-mail anyway -- "I don't ask for support until/unless I can't solve a problem myself."

The chat/phone support folks put me through endless re-checking of settings for TCP/IP. Each new contact seemed to be clueless re what had gone before. "Let's check your TCP/IP settings." "I've done that ten times, but okay, one more won't kill me." Of course, after each check, I had to reboot, which meant I lost my chat connection and had to go to the end of the queue, which was ~ 1300 long last week.


power cycle your modem ("... for the fifth time ..." I'd say.)

Every once in a while I would plaintively and helpfully tell yet another support staffer that the symptoms ("DHCP client unable to obtain IP address." "Cannot renew IP address. DHCP server unavailable.") seemed to indicate that ATTBI wasn't recognizing that my modem was authorized to grab an IP address with the DHCP client.

Ho. Hum. Let's try this other thing.

"I can ping your modem."

"So could the last two people who tried. The modem is there. ATTBI thinks that it isn't allowed to get an IP address."

Then there was the support staffer who asked why I wanted an IP address.

"Hold on. Let me try something else."

[click] [dial tone]

The guy with the truck arrived about 10:15A and worked some magic with my account number, my modem and a CD. He said the system wasn't recognizing my modem as an ATTBI modem and thought it was still an @Home modem.

Well, land sakes. Who woulda thunk.

He says that it's the most common problem he's been fixing since the changeover. Explain to me, then, why the support crew didn't make the connection when I explicitly asked them if that might be the problem?

He also said they were using @Home IP addresses on the fourth and swapped to ATTBI IP addresses on the fifth and, just as I'd thought, that's why my system worked Tuesday but not Wednesday.

And chat/phone support couldn't give me that explanation, why?

Nice guy. He said they weren't getting a Christmas party this year and only got Monday and Tuesday off next week. He said, "At least no one's yelled at me yet this week."

Now all I have to do is go through the 774 pieces of mail that arrived in the two weeks since I lost my ATTBI connection, delete all the duplicates (because of the belt&suspenders -- MindSpring/ATTBI -- forwarding I have set up) and carry on my merry way.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

More links to blogging tools and journals

Here are some more links to other blogging tools, journals.

transition from @Home to ATTBI

I've had no end of problems with the transition from @Home to ATTBI. Finally! after (count 'em) thirteen days of dealing with support (both chat and phone), I'm supposed to have a someone arrive tomorrow in a truck who will fix my "DHCP client cannot obtain IP address" problem.


Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Links to other blogging tools &c.

Here are links to other blogging tools, journals and people fearlessly putting themselves out there on the Web.