I do like my new Internet upgrade. It's nice to see videos 2 minutes, 20 seconds long in 2 minutes ,20 seconds rather than in 10 minutes, 8 seconds of mostly hiccups.
That's a nice change.
Plus, I've made discoveries that help me load my blog photos with ease and speed. That's a really nice feature.
That's the good news about my upgrade.
Now, for a little soapbox on the tech torture I've endured since signing up Jan. 8.
Since signing on, I have encountered brief interruptions of Internet service, fortunately not lasting long enough to make me too mad-----until yesterday, that is.
I've also been waiting patiently for the paperwork dealing with billing and the promised rebate.
Heck, I had my checkbook out Jan. 8, ready to pay up, but I was told that Hughes Net would be contacting me.
After hearing nothing for about three weeks, like a dutiful billpayer, I sent a note asking about billing to the local Internet provider. He told me I needed to go online.
So, I did. Only problem nobody in the Hughes Net cyber-cubicles knew my email address. So, when I tried to log in, I got rejected over and over again.
Again, as a dutiful bill payer, I looked for a company number to call and dialed it.
One of the first sermons on the other end reminded me that I could save a lot of time if I'd just go do my business online.
Can't do that, I said to myself. They rejected me.
So, I waited and waited and waited for a billing service LIVE customer rep to answer. The first day I waited 20 minutes, only to learn that the company's business operation was temporarily shut down due to problems with their servers.
So, I called the next day, got the same sermon and waited another 20 minutes.
Finally, a live body called "Sam" answered. Sam was a "she," and her accent made it a bit difficult for me to understand everything she said.
She did, however, get my new email address into her system, then led me to the site where I can see my bill. One needs to see the bill----two different invoices a month apart---to get the rebate.
Sam told me I had automatic payment. First time I had ever heard that piece of information. Sam also told me that if I wanted to have a bill sent to me at my snail mail address, it would cost me $5 PER MONTH.
I let that one go and saw that the second invoice has not yet appeared, that the first month and the installation has been paid and that I would have to wait until Feb. 8 to see the second invoice.
I eventually said good bye to Sam and did a little head scratching: $5 to have a bill sent to me and I would not have known anything about what they were doing with my money had I not pursued the issue.
Well, I was almost getting over that frustration about the time their survey showed up in my inbox.
Good chance to give them some suggestions, I thought. Better communication with the customer on their part, I said. Not a very good introduction to their company when I had to go searching for how I pay my bill.
Oh, and then, I mentioned the erratic feed for the Internet. Why was that happening, I asked.
Yesterday morning I came in from chores, went online but found no online. The usual erratic disruption extended for an hour this time.
During that period, I called my local guy again. He said he was sorry that he could do nothing, since it's all Hughes Net now.
He also noted that, yes, I, indeed, had no Internet feed and that I also had no data record from Jan. 17 on. That's not good, he said.
He said that he would complain. So, I did.
Again, the telephone call. Again, the reminder that I could do this a lot faster if I'd go online-----to which I screamed into the telephone, "How the hell can I go online when I have no Internet?"
Well, I held the phone, did some writing projects at my computer.
Then, I had to go to the bathroom. It had been that long waiting for a service rep to answer, and who's gonna hang up when you've waited that long???
So, I left the upstairs phone on a table, raced downstairs, grabbed the portable phone and walked into the bathroom.
"If they come on when I flush the toilet, too bad!" I thought to myself.
While still holding the phone, I dusted the living room, dried some dishes and returned to my computer upstairs.
After 25-30 minutes and still no customer service answer, I hung up and went outside to blow off a little steam.
An hour into the outage, the Internet returned.
My first use online: a heated letter off to Hughes Net with mention of a lawyer. I left my home phone number and my email in case anyone wanted to get back to me and assure me that, indeed, my "upgrade" would not rival dial-up in its consistency.
Someone with an even more difficult voice to understand called yesterday afternoon and left a message while I was in town.
The only thing I could make out was that they were sorry they missed me and that I could engage in "live chat" to talk to someone about my problem.
Well, instead of signing all the forms for "live chat," I just resorted to sending another letter.
Still no response from that one. Time will tell, I guess, how crazy Hughes Net will make me.
For now, I just call it "tech torture," and, speaking of "tech torture," I've discovered another problem.
What the Hell good do those dozen phone books we receive every year do us if nobody we want to call is listed in them anymore?
Definitely a new work-related headache for journalists.
This week to get one person's number, I looked in the phone book, got a "this is disconnected message," talked to an ex-husband who told me to talk to the person's son cuz he might know and finally sent a note through Facebook to a relative 2,000 miles away.
At last, a telephone number!
Yup, we're moving along in this tech world, and I'm thinking a few folks like me are falling through the seams and letting loose with a lot of screams.