I admire technical people who understand how things work, or don’t. But I admire even more those who give technical support over the phone – the Help Desk people. They must have a great deal of patience to walk people through the process of troubleshooting and fixing what needs to be fixed. Hats off to you guys!
This morning Mickey and I were working on a brochure project when our Internet connection was cut off. For those of us who are heavy Internet users, this is a cause for instant alarm verging on panic like we were cut off from a virtual lifeline. I need to send an email! I need to browse! I have work (or homework) to do!...
And so I immediately called Shaw, our Internet Service Provider, and explained the situation. The guy on the line started probing and when he said terms like splitter, I handed the phone over to Mickey without saying excuse me. Between Mick and myself, he is more knowledgeable on the internal workings of the computer. I care more for censorship and parental controls.
Guided by the techie, Mick unplugged everything (three cables) connected to the modem, and after a few seconds re-connected each one of them. Didn’t work. Because he had somewhere else to go, Mickey gave me back the phone and I had no choice but to carry on.
“Do you have another outlet that you can plug the modem to?” asked Mr. Help Desk. “Can you plug it to where your TV is plugged?
“No, it’s too far,” I answered. “But there are two outlets on the same plate where the computer is plugged. Do you want me to transfer it to the lower one (which was vacant)?”
As soon as he said “Okay, try it”, I pulled the plug and the computer went dead—and so did the phone. Mr. Help Desk was gone! Mickey, preparing to leave, said that I should have unplugged only the modem. Instead, I unplugged the power bar. The PC, printer, modem, fax and phone were all plugged to the power bar. Arggh…
I called Shaw again and a different guy answered. I repeated the problem. He asked me to describe where the internet cable was coming from, and if I had a splitter, etc…
“There is this rectangular thing and it has two thingies,” I said. Two thingies??? Good luck!
Mr. Help Desk No. 2 seemed to understand the two thingies, but to be sure, I described them some more. “One has a cable that goes to the TV, the other goes to the computer.”
“Yes. Try to connect the Internet cable directly to the wall. Let’s see what happens.”
I disconnected the “rectangular thing with two thingies” and connected the cable directly to the wall or is that called the cable connector(?). As soon as I did that, the Online light on the modem lighted up. Yay!!
“It worked,” I was excited to tell Mr. Help Desk #2. “So is this called the splitter?” I was referring to what I removed from the cables.
“Yes,” he said. “You may have to buy a new one.”
Until I can replace this splitter, which must also be called “coupler” (written on its side), I will have no cable TV in my room because the cable feed is no longer split between the TV and PC. That’s okay. I’d prefer the Internet anytime.
Thank you, Mr. Help Desk. You’re a virtual-life-saver.