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I’m Sorry, I Don’t Understand

Posted by Rick · November 15th, 2004 · 1 Comment

It’s amazing how dependent we’ve become, in “modern” America, on services like the Internet which didn’t even exist (commercially) more than 15 years ago.

It’s also amazing how dependent we’ve become on other countries to provide our services.


This morning I awoke to find an odd situation. Email appears to work. DNS (a critical background service) appears to work. But I cannot access any websites (except my own, which are right here in my home office).

This is always a dreaded situation for me. My network isn’t your average home network. The “second-level” technician I reached said, “Oh! You have a large network!” (I don’t. It’s just a few servers, two switches and a firewall. But to glorified power-users used to helping ordinary home users, that’s how it must appear.) At any rate, I know there will be virtually no technical support and I will probably just have to wait for things to “fix themselves.” Nevertheless, I must try. If SBC is unaware of the problem and I don’t call, it may not “fix itself” at all.

I knew I was in trouble this morning when — after the odd ring tone that came on the line within a mere 15 minutes of waiting — I had to repeat my DSL number for the fifth time. It appears that the SBC “technician” I reached in India had trouble understanding my California accent. These days, everyone who tries to call “tech support” from America has a difficult-to-decipher accent. You cannot say it’s the “technicians” who have the accent because they all do fine with their fellow “technicians” from India.

The initial “technician,” within 30 seconds of finally understanding my accent well enough to learn my DSL phone number, had diagnosed the difficulty as being in my firewall. There’s just one problem. I had already explained to her that computers both “inside” the firewall and “outside” the firewall exhibit the same problems. But she was adamant that it was my firewall.

So I patiently explained to her that I wasn’t angry or frustrated at her (but rather, SBC, which has decided to send all those American jobs to India). And I explained that I’ve built and taught and written on these topics enough to know it wasn’t my firewall. And could I please speak to someone with more technical expertise.

From there, I encountered the amazement of her supervisor at the size of my network. After she asked about each piece of my equipment, she delineated various possibilities for difficulties in (my) switches and so on. Finally, she asked, “What region are you calling from?” Repeating to her, as I’d told the prior “technician,” that I was in California, she exclaimed, “Oh! Are you in Sacramento or Fresno County?”

“Yes.”

“Oh! We are getting many calls from those two regions. Main-ten-ence has been notified. We will be having to wait until they can determine the cause and they will fix the problem. You will have to call back in two or three hours and we can tell you when it will be fixed.”

As I said, usually, I just wait. You’d think, though, that with a known problem in two areas of California, the first question would be whether I was in one of those two areas.

At least now I know why so many Americans are unemployed.

Categories: General Social Issues

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  • 1 War Mongering Our Way Through The Third World // Sep 17, 2008 at 8:50 am

    […] first, there’s the systematic “outsourcing” of our jobs to third-world countries. As I recently wrote, a tech support phone call to my own telephone company hooked me up (eventually, when someone […]

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