Why I Loathe Wifi

Today I sort of got sucked into a wireless call and it brought back some pretty horrible memories of a past wifi calls.

Note: If you think READING this is long, try DOING it.This is a transcript of a typical call between me and the fictitious Margaret. Margaret is a pretty good customer because she did not call with a screaming child in the background and did not interrupt  me too much. She did jump ahead a little too much and made me repeat myself more than once. The reason this is a long call, is that if the customer calls back within 72 hours, even for something completely unrelated, the agent is dinged with a callback. Too many callbacks is bad. It does not matter if the callback is uncontrollable. The agent is dinged.

Me: Thank you for calling tech support my name is Jo how may I assist you?

Margaret: I can’t connect to the internet.

Me: Sorry to hear that let me bring up your acct. May I have your phone #?

Margaret: Sure it’s 555 222 9873.

Me:  Thank you. Is this a cell phone or a land line?

Margaret: It’s a cell phone.

Me:  Do you have phone with us?

Margaret: Yes.

Me:  What is your home phone number.

Margaret: You can’t find me by my cell #.

Me: No. your internet is linked to your home phone.

Margaret: I told them last week to update it.

Me:  Your internet goes thru the phone line so the tech support database is set up to search for the phone # associated with your DSL service.

Margaret: I hardly use my land line.

Me: May I have the ph #?

Margaret: Can I give you my account #?

Me: The phone number would be better.

Margaret: Okay. It’s 555 567 9812.

Me: Thank you. What is the name on the account?

Margaret: John Smith

Me: And whom am I speaking to?

Margaret: John isn’t here, I’m his wife.

Me: What is your name?

Margaret: Margaret.

Me: Thank you. If the call drops what is a good call back number?

Margaret: You are going to call me back?

Me: Only if we are disconnected for one reason or another.

Margaret: I called last week and that happened and nobody called me back.

Me: I do apologize. Is the 9812 # a good call back #.

Margaret: Well I am going to home for a while then I am going out and I suppose you could call me on my cell.
I just note the home ph as call back #

Me: So you are not able to connect to the internet.

Margaret: No, I can. I got a new laptop and I want to connect it wirelessly.

Me:I can help you with that. How many computers do you have?

Margaret: I have a desktop and 3 laptops.

Me: Are the laptops wireless?

Margaret: Yes. But I bought a new one and that’s the one that is not working with the wireless.

Me: We probably just need to tell the laptop the wireless settings.

Margaret: Do I type in my user ID.

Me: It works a bit differently.  Can you give me your user ID  as I need to tell you a password. It’s for your own protection. It’s on the first page of your bill.

Margaret: Let me look for the bill.

Me: Sure.

Margaret: Okay. I found it is it the account #.

Me: No it’s your internet user ID and it’s on page 1 of the bill on the internet section. It begins with AB

Margaret: Oh I found it. it’s ABC123

Me: Thank you. I appreciate you looking it up. It’s a good idea to keep that info handy in case you need to call tech support.I brought up your modem and I see the name of your wireless connection is wifi123.

Margaret: I think so. I am not sure.

Me: We will need to enter your wireless password into your new computer for it to connect. Unfortunately for privacy, that password is not saved in our files.

Do you know the password for your wireless, it’s called a key.

Margaret: I reset a password yesterday.

Me:  For your wireless?

Margaret: I am not sure. Is it Ejjw3n?

Me: That sounds like an email password. This password would most likely be 10 characters long.

Margaret: The agent reset a password yesterday.

Me:  Based on the agent’s notes, that appears to be an email password.

Margaret: Can you change it.

Me: Yes. But I would first like to get your wireless working on the new computer. The two laptops that work wirelessly are they XP, Vista or windows 7.

Margaret: Vista 7.

Me: Are you by one of the other laptops?

Margaret: Yes. But I have to turn it on.

Me: Okay go ahead and do that.

Margaret: Wow  this taking so long.

Me: Unfortunately I have to enter a password into your new computer but I do not know the password. I getting you to see if the wireless password is preserved on one of the 2 other laptops.

Margaret: Oh okay. I am so glad that you speak English. I hate speaking to India.

Me:  So the other laptop has turned on.

Margaret: I am not racist I just can’t understand them.

Me: Is the laptop on now?

Margaret: Sorry it’s slow.

Me: No problem. When it turns on it will say Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Margaret: Oh geez, sorry that screen has already passed.

Me: No problem.

Margaret: Okay it’s turned on, do you want me to go on the internet.

Me: No. Do you see an icon on your desktop that says “my computer?”

Margaret: I am on the MSN website.

Me: Can you minimize internet explorer.

Margaret:Uh?

Me: Can you close internet explorer.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Do you see an icon on your desktop that says My Computer?

Margaret:No.

Me: How old is this computer

Margaret:About 4 years old.

Me: Okay I think it might be XP.  Can you click on your start menu and select control panel.

Margaret: Okay. I am in start. what do I click on. Oh right Control Panel. Do I left click?

Me: Yes.

Margaret: I am in control panel. It says Accessibility, Add hardware, Add or remove hard_____

Me: Sorry to interupt, you don’t need to read the screen. Can you click on Network Connections.

Margaret: I don’t see it. Internet Options?

Me: No. Network Connections. Everything is in alphabetical order. Look under N.

Margaret: That’s a good idea. Oh I see it. Do I click on it.

Me: Yes.

Margaret: Left or right click.

Me: Always left click unless we specifically tell you to right click. Now do you see something that says “Wireless Network Connection.”

Margaret: Yes.

Me: Okay is the other laptop that is working wirelessly also XP.

Margaret: I don’t know.

Me: How old is that computer.

Margaret: About 3 years old. Do you want me to turn it on.

Me: That would be great. Let me know if it says XP or Vista when it loads.

Margaret: Okay. It says XP.

Me: Okay. Is there any one in the house who might know the wireless password.Or perhaps you wrote it down?

Margaret: I don’t think so.

Me:  I will have to reset it and we will enter it into the computers. We will do the XP computer first. Can you click on start and then control panel.

Margaret: I am there.

Me: Click on Network Connections.

Margaret: Okay.

Me:Right click on “wireless network connections.” and select___________

Margaret: Right click?

Me: Yes. Select________

Margaret: It says Disable, View Available Wireless Networks, Status__________

Me: I’m sorry to interupt. You don’t need to read the menu just click on properties.

Margaret: Okay. Sorry.

Me: No problem. Click the Wireless Networks tab at the top of the page.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Do you see wifi123 in the white box in the middle of the page under preferred networks.

Margaret: No.

Me: Is the white box empty.

Margaret: No. Oh I get it. It says wifi123. Should I click okay?

Me: No. Double click wifi123. Do you see the network name wifi123 at the top of the page.

Margaret: Yes.

Me: Click on “network authentication” and select WPA-PSK

Margaret: It says open.

Me: Yes. Please select WPA-PSK with the pull down menu.

Margaret: Okay

Me: Under data encryption did it default to TKIP

Margaret: It says TKIP

Me: Great. In the network key field type all together in one word in lower case the word popcorn123, like the snack food.

What?

Me:  Popcorn123.

Margaret: Popcorn? Like the food?

Me: Yes.

Margaret: Are there any capital letters?

Me: No, in small letters. popcorn123.

Margaret: Are there any spaces.

Me: No.

Margaret: Okay I typed it in. Do I type it again in confirm network key.

Me: Yes.  Then click okay.

Margaret: Do I click “this key is provided for me automatically?”

Me: No. Please click okay.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Now close all the screens.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: In the lower right hand corner of the screen do you see a wireless icon or a pic of two computer monitors.

Margaret: Yes.

Me: Click on it and click on view available networks.

Margaret:  It says it’s connected to wifi123.

Me: Good. Try to surf.

Margaret: What should I do.

Me: Go to cnn.com

Margaret: How?

Me: Open Internet Explorer and type cnn.com in the address bar.

Margaret: Do I Google?

Me: Go to Google.

Margaret: I am there.

Me: Do a search on Google for cnn.com

Okay. I got a list.

Me: Good you are connected.

Margaret: So I am wifi?

Me: Just on this computer. We have to tell the other 2 computers that the wireless password is popcorn123.

Margaret: Oh.

Me: Can you go to the other XP computer.

Margaret: I am there.

Me: Click on start then control panel.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Click Network connections.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Right click on “Wireless Network Connection.”

Margaret: Oh shoot I left clicked. Sorry. I’ll go back. Okay I right clicked

Me: Click on properties.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Click on the Wireless Networks tab.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Do you see wifi123 in the white box.

Margaret: Yes.

Me: Double left click on it.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Do you see the network name wifi123 at the top of the page.

Margaret: Yes.

Me: Click on “network authentication” and select WPA-PSK.  Then select TKIP below that.

Margaret: Yes.

Me: Under network key type in popcorn123

Margaret:  In lower case right?

Me: Yup.

Margaret: Okay I typed it in and confirmed it.

Me: Great. Press okay. In the lower right hand corner of your screen do you see the wireless icon?

No.

Me: Does this computer have an on/off button to turn on the wireless?

Margaret: I don’t know.

Me: Usually it’s a slider button on the front or a button above the F keys.

Margaret: I am not sure.

Me: What brand name of laptop is it?

Margaret: Windows XP.

Me: Is it a Dell or a HP or Toshiba.

Margaret: Dell.

Me: I think it’s on the front on an older model.

Margaret: It’s older. Should I buy a new one.

Me: Can you please look for the slider?

Margaret: I think I found it. I see a green light.

Me: Okay good. In the put you don’t see any indication that you are connected to wifi123?

Margaret: No.

Me: Okay try going to CNN.com

Margaret: Do I go to Google?

Me: Yes and then search for cnn.com. Did you get to Google.

Margaret: I get page cannot be displayed.

Me: Let’s re enter that wifi info again. Can you click on start, control panel.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Network and Internet. Right click on  “Wireless Network Connection ” and select properties.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Click on the Wireless Networks tab and double click in wifi123.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Re enter the network key popcorn123. And then confirm it.

Margaret:  Okay I did it.

Me: Press okay and exit the screen. Try go going to Google.

Margaret: I get page cannot be displayed.

Me: Okay. What I can do is try a wired connect and see if I can log into your computer and set up the wireless myself.

Margaret:  What do I do.

Me: Did you get a yellow or blue wired with the modem. It’s called an ethernet

ca_____

Margaret: Is it a grey phone wire.

Me:No, it’s bigger and is usually yellow or blue.

Margaret: I found it. It’s yellow.

Me: Please put one end in the modem in any of the 4 spots and then the other in the back or side of the computer.

Margaret: Which slot in the modem.

Me: 1,2,3, or 4.

Margaret: Okay. I don’t have a spot on the back of the laptop. Oh wait it’s on the side. Sorry.

Me:No problem.Now try going to Google.

Margaret: I am there.

Me: Good that means a wired connection is work. Can you deleted the http://www.google

stuff from the address bar?

Margaret: Do I search?

Me: No, do you see the white box that has http www google something something?

Margaret: Yes.

Me:So delete whatever is in that and let me know when you’ve done it.

Margaret: Okay it’s gone.

Me:Type exactly as a I say it. R as in Romeo.

Margaret: WWW?

Me:No. R as in Romeo, C as in Charlie

Margaret: Okay

Me:Dot  log dot ca.

Margaret: Okay.

Me:Hit enter on your keyboard. Are you on a page that says Desktop sharing service?

Margaret: I see bing.

Me:Okay,Yes. In the upper left hand corner of Internet Explorer do you see a

menu that says File.

Margaret: Uh.

Me:It’s okay if you don’t.

Margaret: Where is it.

Me:I should be in the upper left hand corner of your screen.

Margaret:I don’t see it.

Me:Okay, on your keyboard you will see the space bar. On either side is a

button that says ALT. It does not matter which ALT key, just tap one of the ALT

keys.

Margaret:CTRL?

Me:No ALT. Right next to the space bar. Just tap it and then you should see the menu in Internet Explorer.

Margaret:I don’t see it.

Me: Tap ALT again. File should appear in the upper left hand corner.

Margaret:I don’t see it.

Me: Do you see a green arrow pointing left.

Margaret:I see http and a bunch of stuff.

Me:No, further left. usually a green arrow key.

Margaret:I see it. Oh duh, I see file, edit view now.

Me:Okay. Click on file and select open.

Margaret:Left click?

Me: Yes. Did you select open?

Margaret:Yes.

Me: In the white box type RC dot  log dot ca.

Margaret:www? Oh wait no. Sorry. Press okay.

Me: Yes.Are you on a page called Desktop Sharing service.

Margaret: Yes.

Me: Press the blue start button in the middle of the page.

Margaret:I don’t see it.

Me: It’s about 3-4 inches from the Desktop Sharing Service screen.

Margaret:Oh I see it. Press it?

Me: Yes. Follow the instructions on the screen and let me know when you need the six digit PIN.

Margaret:Please enter your six digit pin. Okay,AB________

Me: No. That is not the PIN.

Margaret:Sorry.

Me: Please enter 234583 and press connect to technician. Right away click download.

Margaret:It says applet download.

Me: Click it. Every time run pops up click run.

Margaret: I don’t see run.

Me: Did you click download?

Margaret:No.

Me: Please click download.

Margaret:Oh I see RUN. I click it?

Me: Yes. It may pop up twice click it every time.

Margaret:Okay.

Me: In about 10 seconds it will ask you to give me permission, click okay.

Margaret:It says “Joanne would like to perform one or most tasks. Click okay to

give permission.” Do I click okay?

Me: Yes. Okay I am now in your computer.

Margaret:This is so cool!

Me: I am just going to double check your wifi settings. I have put your wireless password into the computer and I now see in the lower left corner of the screen you are connected to wifi123. Can you please take the yellow cord out of your computer. This is how we make sure the wireless connects.

Margaret:Okay I took it out.

Me: So your computer will kick me out of the log me in session but when the wireless grabs on, then I will be back in. It takes a few seconds.

Margaret: Okay. You sure know a lot.

Me: We do this a lot. Okay I am getting back into your computer so the wifi is working.  So, 2 down 1 to go.

Margaret: Wow. This takes a long time.

Me: It does but I have written everything down concerning your wifi connection and saved it to your desktop. It’s a text file called wifi.

Margaret:Good.

Me: Go to the Windows 7 computer.

Margaret:I am there.

Me: In the lower right hand corner do you see a picture of two computers or a bar graph?

Margaret:Yes. I see a bar graph.

Me: Click on it and it will show the available networks.

Margaret:Okay.

Me: Do you see wifi123?

Margaret:No.

Me: Can you click “Open Network and Sharing Centre.”

Margaret: Right click?

Me: Left click.

Margaret:I am in network and sharing centre. Should I set up a new connection?

Me: Please click “manage wireless networks” on the left.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Do you see wifi123 in the list?

Margaret:Yes.

Me: RIGHT click on wifi123 and select properties.

Margaret:Okay.

Me: Click the security tab.Under security type choose “WPA-PSK.”

Margaret:WPA2-Personal?

Me: No WPA-PSK. Then below that select TKIP.

Margaret:Okay.

Me: Under Network security key type popcorn123.

Margaret:What does show characters means?

Me: You can see what you are typing.

Margaret:Oh that’s good. Should I check it.

Me: Yes.

Margaret:I typed it in.

Me: Press okay and close the screen.

Margaret:Okay.

Me: In the lower right hand corner of the screen, click on the bar graph icon.

Do you wifi123 in the list?

Margaret: Yes.

Me: Connect to wifi123.

Margaret: I am being asked to type in a key.

Me: Type in popcorn123

Margaret: It’s connected.

Me: Try surfing. Go to Google.

Margaret: I am on MSN.com

Me: Great. Click any link.

Margaret: Okay.  I am surfing. Can I make google my home page.

Me: Click on Tools and Internet options.

Margaret: Left click?

Me: Yes. About half way down the page it will have a white box where you type

in your home page.

Margaret: It says MSN.com.

Me: Delete MSN.com and type in google.ca then press apply.

Margaret: Okay. Should I close the screen.

Me: Yes.Now you said you wanted to change your email password.

Margaret: Oh yeah.

Me: Do you check your mail with a mail program like outlook or do you go to a mail website.

Margaret: I don’t know.

Me: I think based on your last call you check your mail with webmail.

Margaret: Oh yes. I remember.

Me: Okay I will reset your password for your email. What do you want it to be.

It has to be more than 6 characters.

Margaret: Is it the same as popcorn123?

Me: No but I can make it popcorn123.

Margaret: What do I have to do.

Me: Just wait and I will reset it.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: I have reset it to popcorn123. Now go to the mail site. Are you being prompted to type in the password?

Margaret: No. Wait. Yes.

Me: Type in popcorn123.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: I am going to send you a test message called Hello 1.

Margaret: Okay.

Me: Did you get the message.

Margaret: Yes.

Me: Please reply to it.

Margaret: Press REPLY right?

Me: Yes.

Me: I wrote out all your wireless information the computer I am logged into. The name of the wireless connection, the security type and the key or wifi password. Please keep this on your computer. Okay I got your message so your email is working fine.

Margaret: You’ve been great. Oh wait. My daughter is in university and she comes to do laundry. She has an iphone. Can she connect wirelessly.

Me: Yes. She connects to wifi123 and types in popcorn123.  You have it written down on the 2nd computer.

Margaret: Right.

Me: Before I disconnect from the remote, do you have any more

questions?

Margaret: No. You’ve been great. You must be the most important person in the office.

Me: That would be the guy who fills and fixes the free coffee machine.

Margaret: Ha ha.

Me: Thanks for calling have a great day.

How the Call Could Go! (I WISH)

Me: Thank you for calling tech support my name is Joanne how may I assist you?

Margaret: I bought a new Windows 7 computer and I’ve never configured wifi with

it. Can you help me?

Me:Yes.

Me:Do you have your acct ID#

Margaret: ABC123

Me:Thank you. And the name on the account?

Margaret: John Smith. I am Margaret his wife.

Me:Thanks. If I need to call you back what is a good ph #.

Margaret: 555 567 9812.

Me: I see by your modem the name of your wifi connection is wifi123. Does that

sound familiar?

Margaret: Yes.

Me: By any chance did you write down your wifi key or password.

Margaret: Yes I did. I am just not sure if it’s the correct one.

Me:Great. In the lower right hand corner of your screen do you see a picture of

2 computers.

Margaret: Yes.

Me: Click on it and you should see a wifi connection called wifi123.

Margaret: Yes.

Click on it and type in your key.

Margaret: I did. Oh it’s connected.

Me: Try surfing.

Margaret: It’s working. Thanks.

Me: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Margaret: Can you change my email password.

Me: Sure. What do you want it to be?

Margaret: How about the same as my wifi key. icecream246. All in lower caps.

Me: Mmmm ice cream. It’s updated. Can you open your mail and type it in when

prompted.

Margaret: Okay I did. I am getting mail. Thanks a lot.

Me: Thanks for calling have a great day.

THREE MINUTES TOP!

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How the Library Saved Me Thousands of Bucks!

My family has always been big readers. I grew up watching my parents and siblings read and being the youngest, I wanted to be like them. I was exposed to the public library at a young age and I loved going because it was so cool.  You could take out all kinds of books, for free, as long as you returned them in three weeks.   Even 40 years later I still say to myself  how freakin’ awesome is that? Free books. Free freakin’ books.

I read a lot. It is my main form of entertainment.   I spent a big part of my life living on low wage jobs so reading was a very inexpensive way to pass the time.   I used to watch movies and TV but their appeal has faded over the last few years for me mainly because I can relate to the stories and characters in books better than on TV. Television and movies are not bad things, they just don’t hold my interest.

Since reading is my primary form of entertainment, I read more than the average person.  Back in June 2005 I read in a book where the guy wrote a review of every book he’d ever read. I thought that was a great idea.  I bought a dollar store notebook and over five years, and seven notebooks later, I have written over 500 book reviews.

Note: The reviews are hand written because when I started the project I was not always in front of a computer. Also,  my reviews can ramble a bit and often there is little attention paid to grammar and neat handwriting. The reviews are not published on the internet  because,  sadly, some people online are jerks. If someone is truly interested they can email me or come over and sit in my super awesome reading chair and read the review.
To celebrate the 500th Review, I did post it on this blog under the appropriately named The 500th Review!

If you are reading dozens of books a year, this can be very expensive.  Instead of buying the majority of my books, I get them from my public library.  There are two reasons for this:

 

a) I am very cheap.
b) I live in a 500 square foot apartment. I have a very limited amount of space.

So how did the library save me so much money? Here is the breakdown:

Books read (June 2005- Dec 2011) 517
Books given as gifts 6
New books purchased 7
Used books purchased 24
Books received from the local public library 480

Since I don’t buy many new books, I really have no idea how much they cost. After minutes of exhaustive research at various Canadian online book stores, I found the prices ranged from $10 to $18 for a recent paperback.  I read a number of hardcover books during this 5.5 year period and they are considerably more expensive. And what about electronic books? Some people buy books that way these days. Okay this is really getting complicated. Let’s just the average cost of a paper book is $15.

480 books x $15 = $7200

But wait what about taxes? I pay taxes that fund the library but since I rent an apartment my taxes are included in my rent. I have no idea how much of my tax money goes directly to the library system but lets say $50 a year. I chose $50 a year because that is what the city charges to give you a card if you live outside the city.

5 years x $50 = $250.00.

$7200 – $250 = 6,950.00

That’s a lot of money!!! It’s also ironic that my (ever growing) emergency fund is just a little over $7,000. Thanks Public Library.

The most common feedback I get about getting books from the library is that it takes so long to get the latest best sellers. This  can be true, however there are zillions of other books one can read while you wait for the best sellers to come in. Most public libraries have their catalog online and these catalogues have reader reviews, book club lists and other resources to help you find the perfect book  Finally,  one can go to any of the online booksellers and search their site. I am quite fond of the “if you liked this, you might like this” function featured on many online book retailers.

Tip! If you library does not have a book. ask about an interlibrary loan (ILL).
(From Wikipedia)
An interlibrary loan  is a service whereby a user of one library can borrow books or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library.

The other response I get from the library naysayers is that it’s too hard to get to the library. Well thanks to digital technology, you can request to have your book delivered to your local branch or even downloaded to your computer or an e-reader.

Note: I am not an e-reader kind of gal. My kind hearted gadget loving brother and sister in law gave me one last year but unfortunately they gave me a broken e-reader and after 12 hours of trying to get it to work I was ready to set it on fire. Maybe one day when there are more electronic titles at the library,  I will buy one, but for now I will stick to old fashion paper books.

Okay, I know that most people do not read 100+ books a year so my savings are quite unusual but even if one buys  two books a month, that’s a savings of at least  $360 a year. If you are in debt or saving for something important or just scrapping by, $360 is a lot of money.  Take advantage of this great resource provided to you by your town or city.