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This week in technology just keeps getting worse

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Tonight, had a nice dinner with Bruce C, who I've known since 7th grade but haven't seen much lately.

(But before dinner, I headed downstairs from work via the stairs instead of the elevator, and found myself trapped in a short hallway, between the outer doors (locked) and the inner electronic gateway (required a local keycard, which I don't have). I yelled down the hall to the guards; they yelled back that I should go outside the building and come around to the other door. I kept yelling until they came over, and I told them I was trying to get out but couldn't, and they let me in through the electronic gate. And they told me that of course I couldn't get out that way, because the outer doors were locked. Gah! I pointed out to them that it's ever so slightly unsafe to have an exit stairwell lead to a hallway that you can't get out of. Sigh. But all that was really just a minor annoyance.)

After dinner, I headed back to my hotel room to try to transfer my data from one MacBook to another.

First step: set up a temporary account on the MacBook I'm transferring to. Easy. Done. Only: it can't connect to the Internet.

Prohibited on this machine? Don't think so. Check fanless MacBook. No Internet there either.

Check wired. Check wireless. On both machines. In every case, self-assigned IP; no DHCP.

Look at support sheet in room's Guest Services Directory, from company called Stay Connected. Doesn't inspire confidence; Mac instructions obviously written by someone unfamiliar with Macs. "(for MAC's with version 10 or higher)" Call support number anyway.

Support person walks me through script. Doesn't appear to know much about computers or networking. I've already tried everything in script. She doesn't seem bothered by my lack of DHCP; instead, she takes down both my Ethernet ID and my Airport ID (the two network-interface MAC addresses, as I understand it). She puts me on hold. Eventually, guy comes on line. Says they're going to reset the router on my floor and will call me back in 5-10 minutes.

1/2 hour later, no call. I call back.

Different guy: Sorry, we don't support your hotel. Your hotel is transitioning to us, but for now, support is handled by another company, StayOnline.

W! T! F!

Me: So you're telling me that the guy I spoke with before was just making stuff up?

Him: Sorry, sir, he wasn't making stuff up, but we don't support your hotel.

Me: Fine. Give me the number of the other company.

I call StayOnline, insist on talking to supervisor immediately. Supervisor very conciliatory. Apologizes, says StayOnline is indeed the right company to be talking to, says he isn't sure why the flyer in the room has a number for a different company, claims the StayOnline agent who'd answered my call (and who'd transferred me to supervisor at my request) knows something about computers and is not just following a script, puts me back on phone with agent.

Agent v. nice, though appears to be following same script as agent from other company. We get through all the steps, again. (First step of script: Open up Firefox, go to www.yahoo.com, tell me what error message appears. Me: It says I can't connect, but the reason for that is that I don't have DHCP.) Agent says he'll have to have his network people do some troubleshooting. Me: Any idea of a timeframe? Him: Could be an hour, could be a couple hours. Me: I need to go to bed at some point. Him: Okay, tell me how late it's okay to call you back.

Fine. I get off phone, figuring I'm offline for the night.

I call back Stay Connected, to file a complaint.

Ask to speak to a supervisor.

Agent: Sorry, sir, we're changing shifts right now and there are no supervisors available. But one will be available soon. He'll call you back.

Me: The last person from your company who said he'd call me back didn't.

Her: This one will. I promise. Here's his name. Here's my name.

Ten minutes later, she called back to get more info, because the supervisor hadn't shown up yet. I'm tempted to post his name online, but I suspect that I would regret that in the morning. Fwiw, the agent was very friendly and conciliatory and nice. Really, most of the individuals I spoke with were nice; it's too bad they couldn't have figured out sooner that they don't work with my hotel. (My theory is that they heard "Hilton Garden Inn Chelsea" and just ignored the "Chelsea" part, and decided I must be at some other Hilton Garden Inn in NY that they do support.)

Ten minutes later, around 1:20 a.m. (over an hour after the original call, over half an hour after my followup call), I get a call on the room phone from someone at the front desk, who says that he reset the router but isn't sure what's up, and that he's been waiting to call me because he knew I was on the phone with tech support.

I try everything again. My iPhone can connect to their wireless, but nothing else works. Still.

I tell guy on phone they really need to not put false tech support numbers in the rooms. He says he'll look into it, and he's sorry, and how would I like free breakfast?

I say no thanks. (The Hilton Garden Inn, Chelsea, seems to feel that a $15 free breakfast is the appropriate response to any concern or problem. I suppose it's better than nothing, but I have food in my room.)

I tell guy on phone I'm giving up and going to sleep.

Instead, I decide to try transferring files from one computer to the other; it works. And then I tried the network again, and lo! the wireless is back!

So I think they did fix the technical problem.

But it remains to be seen whether any of the three companies involved (Hilton, Stay Connected, or Stay Online) are going to fix the variety of stupid stupid organizational and systematic problems that have made tonight an incredibly frustrating topper to three days of technological breakdown.

At any rate, I hope to have email tomorrow, but I still don't tonight. Yes, that means SH autoresponses are going to continue to be delayed. Apologies.

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