Monday, August 20, 2007

Digital Rage.....are you in control of your technology?

I don't like to use my blog for a soapbox...but every now and then a good rant is required!

Over the years innovators tauted that technology would make our lives easier. In the 50's the modern kitchen was to be a marvel and the little woman would no longer have to spend hours and hours preparing the meals of the day.

Computers were supposed to reduce the amount of paper we threw out...and now we have created landfills of monitors and over peripherals that cannot be disposed of properly because of the toxicities within them.

How many people have lost money from their bank accounts due to virtual theft or their identities! Which of course is now up to you to prove who you are....good luck trying to get the money back that into YOUR bank account that a "technical error" with the bank had removed and placed into ANOTHER account. Need I go on....

Last night I spend a good hour and a half setting up an Mac Airport Airbase (wireless) so all my computers in the house can be happy and work without cables all over the place and all can share a printer. Then all of a sudden my outgoing email stopped. Incoming was limping but still working. Then the spam emails started......up to 20 last night. I pay extra money for 2 firewall protections....personal and the ISP provider firewall (okay a little on the side of caution).

Hey I thought, I will jump on my webmail...must be something with the Airbase I had configured. Pulled the Airbase all apart and returned to original settings. Then tried to access my webmail....didn't even recognize my password.

Then I realized that Xtra (Telecom) had "updated" their webmail service and now I had to go through an installation process and install Yahoo Xtra Bubble...that will apparently "give me my very own place online. I have my own place online it was a nice, clean webmail interface that isn't cluttered with a lot of junk!

Then the "rage began.

Onto my telephone to call my 24 hour ISP trouble shooters. I quickly found out Xtra has a new automated digital lady to talk to you. I found out very quickly if you swear at it 3 times in a row it says it doesn't understand what you are wanting and puts you through to a "real human." Well I must have redialed 50 times between last night and this morning. THEN it would ring and ring and then just cut me off!

Finally this morning I got through to a technician who sounded so tired and worn out. I held my tongue and explained to him that before he went through the "basic" speech with me....I have probably been involved in IT longer than he has been alive and lets cut to the chase. I asked first of all why Xtra did not let their customers know this was happening. He told me they sent out emails last week that an upgrade was happening over the weekend....but according to the weekend paper only a very small percentage of Xtra account holders actually received this email (I not being one of them).

I asked if I had no other option but to have to go through the registration process for this Yahoo Bubble and then to have to install something on my laptop to access my webmail. He apologized and said sorry but if you want webmail you will have to do this. Then I asked him what else I needed to change on my computers at home....I have to change the incoming and outgoing port numbers, the smtp, enable this, disable goodness the everyday "Joe" is not going to be able to do this.

I thanked the young man for his help and told him that I hoped he had a good day as I am sure he will be swamped with "irrate" customers!

What the heck was Xtra thinking? Even the technician said sorry but this is all new to us as well and I was put on hold several times while he went to ask questions. In the end I have to install the Bubble and then go home after work today and waste more time reconfiguring the Airbase I pulled apart and change all my email account settings. The problem in New Zealand is that we have Telecom - xtra (that still thinks it is a monopoly) and probably the WORST internet speed of any developed country in the world! (eve though my colleagues in AUS complain about their broadband speed....I think NZs is still behind)

So who do you think is in control of YOUR technology....I know most of the time I THINK it is me....BUT........

The little program that needed to be downloaded and installed so your webmail "Yahoo Bubble" will has been 45 minutes and it has not installed.......AGGGGRRRRRRRHHHHHH


John Treloar said...

Brenda, I feel your anger ... Most frustrating aspect of this and other 'dumb' things done by technology suppliers is they forget that their users don't often understand the 'village language' of the company and from a good idea internally comes a complete cock-up when it is being delivered to real people who actually use their service. I see it time and time again. Even setting up a router at the home of friends on the weekend confused me, and I reckon I know what I am doing! (In IT industry since 1983.)

BF said...

Hi sure left me in a lovely mood for the rest of the day! It took probably most of the day to download the "little program" and even then I am not sure that I haven't lost emails.

I think the IT companies need to realize that not everybody wants the "flash and dash" as everyone has a different work flow and requirements! Options are a good thing!

I am breathing now and my heartrate has lowered to a somewhat normal beat :)