Wednesday, November 11, 2009


AT&T is down. Mostly. It comes and goes. Mostly goes.

For the last few weeks, I've noticed an occasional hiccup with the Internet service. But, starting yesterday, it went from occasional hiccup to full seizure.

Tonight, I decided to call. On my BlackBerry, of course.

I'm not impressed with their voice-response service. I call one department, it asks me questions, and then it wants to send me to another department. And can't seem to remember my phone number from one department to the next.

I called, answered the questions the robo-voice asked, it said "Hold for a service representative" then, after some Kenny G-sounding muzak, started over, asking my number again.

Finally, after talking to someone in the Internet department. She asks about my phone line. Which we don't use. So, I plugged a phone into the phone line, and got some weird noisy noise. Yes, that's actually an accurate description. Wife thought I was crazy for saying that, so I let her hear it. She no longer thinks I'm crazy. Not for that, anyway.

Back to the human. I'm answering her questions, then getting placed on hold while she transfers me. More muzak. Then, another woman comes on, I acknowledge her, and I'm disconnected. They have my cell number, but don't call back.

I call again, and the whole thing starts again.

Then, this time, the voice system decides to not send me to a person, but handle the issue itself. The crazy-ass voice system asked me if I saw the "support page" in my browser. I said "no." Robo-bitch said "Great! You're now connected to the Internet. Blah blah blah. Thank you for calling the new AT&T." And disconnects me.

Called again. This time, answering the same questions, it decides to test my phone line. And, it finds a problem. Which is why I called to begin with.

And they tell me when they'll have it fixed: by the evening of Monday, November 16.

I'm now checking into how to tether my BlackBerry service on my Mac. I don't know if I can do that. Actually, I don't know if I may do that. If it can be done, I'm sure I can.


  1. Basil,
    Yes, you can tether your BB service to a laptop, but not to a PC (as far as I know). There may be a work around if your MAC supports a PCIMCIA card and adapter (big If, as the PCMCIA cards are made mainly for laptops).

    The problem with your DSL could actually be in your house. The DSL signal orginally runs through fiber optics, and from there is transferred to a 4 wire line, from which it is reduced to 2 wires before it is connected your home service. DSL's signal degrades over distance, and is limited to about 6000 ft from the nearest Mux or Central Office. However, if you have old CAT-3 telephone lines, old jacks, etc... within your house, this too can degrade your service. One last thing, on the outside of your home should be a telephone interface box. Sometimes thier locked, but normally they are not. The newer ones have a jack that the incoming line is connected to, and another one which goes into your house. Just open the box up and make sure no insects have made any nests there. Just pull out the lines from the jacks one at a time and make sure they are clean, and then plug them back in. The older boxes will have the lines screwed into termination or punch down blocks instead of having them jacked. In that case, get out a screw driver and remove each wire one at a time and make sure there isn't any debris on the block.

    I also have DSL (much cheaper than Cable), but I've had pretty good luck with AT&T. It also helps that I'm in IT.

  2. I found several guides for tethering the Mac to the BlackBerry, but each of them, when it came to Verizon, had setup for using Verizon's data plan. It's $15/month, and I can't tell for sure if it's an add-on that I can drop any time, or if I'm committed to it for a period of time. When I had the older phone, I had the add-on data plan for the laptop. They initially told me it was for a defined period of time, but after looking up my account, said it would be an add-on I could drop.

    I'd rather use the BB data plan, if that's possible, but if not, I can limp by on the BB.

    As for the lines, yes, we have older wiring in the house, but the 6M plan I'm on has usually delivered 5M speed.

    It looks like outside wiring, after checking it out. I'm expecting them to need to re-run the line from the pole box to the house box.

    Thanks for the info. I really appreciate your insight.


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