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Made by Monkeys

Modem Nearly Trashed Over Forgotten Password

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TJ McDermott
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Blogger
Not Monkeys
TJ McDermott   7/16/2012 10:25:04 AM
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You didn't encounter Monkeys.  You ran afoul of intentional bad customer service.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not Monkeys
Rob Spiegel   7/16/2012 11:26:12 AM
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Good point, TJ. You gotta love that recommendation -- we don't support that equipment, so you need to buy a new modem. So, you're right, the monkey was in customer support.

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Customer Service?
Tim   7/16/2012 10:02:58 PM
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Seems like this particular customer service was designed to keep selling modems.  Wonder if the new model actually works better than older model.

RaymondM
User Rank
Iron
Re: Customer Service?
RaymondM   7/17/2012 5:28:38 AM
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I am not surprised by AT&T's attitude. When I worked in Tech support we used to get plenty of calls with this problem. A new company called Securifi came up with a neat idea to put a touch screen on the router so you can access all your settings there. I hope that thing takes off!

didymus7
User Rank
Platinum
Typical for AT&T
didymus7   7/17/2012 9:13:42 AM
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This type of customer service is what caused me to sever all ties with AT&T.  At one point in my household, we needed two separate internet connections.  I experienced the local cable company arriving within a 2 hour window the day after I called, and, by the time the installer left, I was surfing the internet.  AT&T on the other hand, took a week to show up, the service window as anywhere within 8 hours and when the installer left, I was told that I'd had internet access at 8 pm that night.  By 8 pm there was no access, so I called and was told, no, that was wrong, it took 24 hours because it's much more than just flipping a switch.  "How much more than flipping a switch?"  I asked.  "Oh, it's much more than flipping a switch," was the reply.

So which was the technology company?  The cable company that had me online in about a day and a half from my call?  Or the large telecommunications company that took 8 days?

DJM3138
User Rank
Iron
Re: Typical for AT&T
DJM3138   7/17/2012 9:38:08 AM
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Out of curiosity, when is it acceptable to stop support?  As we lean out our organizations, focus on new product how does one maintain support for an eleven year old product?  Why is it suprising that a company would not support an 8 year old product?  How do they maintain the knowledge, continual training for new employees, schematics, parts, testing if they repair units?  How do you hustify keeping resurce sto suport 8/10/12 year old product.  I am not surprised they would say the solution is buy a new one?

Battar
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Typical for AT&T
Battar   7/17/2012 9:50:05 AM
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Where I live the law requires an importer to maintain service for 7 years. After that, it's a matter of goodwill.  Many years ago a DEC representative told me that it would be cheaper for the company to give a certain customer a new VAX computer for free than to maintain the spares inventory to support their old PDP-11. But company policy, of course, won't allow them to do that, for obvious reasons.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
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Platinum
Re: Typical for AT&T
OLD_CURMUDGEON   7/17/2012 10:45:07 AM
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The comment above about how long a company should maintain "life support" for previously released products is an interesting take on the subject.  If this blog was occurring 20 or 30 years ago (or more), I could understand the blogger's comments.  But, in this day of such vast data-collecting & storage, it seems to me that for MOST companies that sell products in this group, that their databases are almost infinitely deep w/ facts.  Practically every corporate website one visits nowadays has a FAQ icon in which a user can pore through the myriad items contained therein.  Furthermore, it is my feeling that many of the "customer service" representatives that a person speaks to is doing nothing more than looking up one of these databases in the first place.  I'd be willing to bet that most of them, given some technical tools in hand, would NOT be able to troubleshoot a faulty unit of any kind (not just a modem).

On a personal note, I have an older cousin who was high up on the AT&T corporate ladder.  He's long since retired, but the point is that it IS very evident that ARROGANCE is a fundamental human quality for working @ AT&T.  Some of his comments over the years would startle even the most hardened minds!

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
No money in it
ChasChas   7/17/2012 11:22:17 AM
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All companies give quirky service when there is no money in it. They try to steer the customer to where there is some money in it. 

warren@fourward.com
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Platinum
Re: No money in it
warren@fourward.com   7/17/2012 3:47:51 PM
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This the throw-away generation, I fear.  Us repair-oriented guys like to fix things.

My modem recently went bad and the guy came out and replaced it.  It lasted two days.  I found an old DSL modem in my junk drawer and was back in business. 

Island_Al
User Rank
Gold
Re: No money in it
Island_Al   7/18/2012 12:46:12 PM
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Slightly off topic, but important to me anyway. I have an employee who really needs some remedial basic electronics. I looked into what our local community college might have and was amazed the dropped this subject some years ago. Talking with a buddy this morning who is a retired EE professor, he tells me that electronics is being dropped at most universities. Everyone wants to be a programmer or IT guy, but no one is interested in the actual electronics anymore. This seems to confirm my recent research on the topic. In the late 60s we had very few ICs and something like a micro could not be imagined. I myself often said that "in the future we will see computers that will fit entirely into a 19" rack". I sure missed that one! Even in the 70s I took a micro class that used the 8004 and 8008 chips. Smuggly stating; "These micro things have no future other that maybe in lab instruments."  Missed again!

But now I wonder if repairs and those who can fix equipment are dying off. Seems like everything is micro code driven any more. While I can replace BGA chips, I cannot get access to the code within them or access to the programmed parts. Everything seems throw away. I feel like a buggy whip maker.

Anyone feel this way, or am I seeing this wrong?

 

warren@fourward.com
User Rank
Platinum
Re: No money in it
warren@fourward.com   7/18/2012 1:07:22 PM
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I have found the same thing.  No one knows electronics any more.  I hired a guy who completed a two-year electronics technician course and was teaching him differences in the various types of capacitors.  His first remark was, "Capacitors.  We talked about those once."

We are leaving the hardware to the Orientals.  We produce the software, the the Far East uses it and then we are totally out of the loop except to go to Walmart and buy back what we designed.  And, what's worse is that they are getting good at software, too, and soon we will feel lucky to flip hamburgers!

It is time we got back to basics and learn physics, engineering, chemistry, math, and all the hard sciences and take back our heritage.  NAFTA shoved it all overseas.  How about a SSFU program (Save Something For Us) to bring it home again.  Even our farming is "farmed" out to South America.  What in the world is Washington thinking?

robatnorcross
User Rank
Gold
Re: No money in it
robatnorcross   7/17/2012 8:13:04 PM
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A simple solution would have been for the designers to put a switch on the back to enable a new password. You'd have to break into the house and find the thing to change the password but were not protecting Fort Knox here anyway; it's a bloody modem for god's sake. The switch could have the label "PASSWORD" and may be you might not even have to have the manual.

jim202
User Rank
Iron
Try Dealing with Comcast over a modem
jim202   7/17/2012 2:36:57 PM
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With all the storms hitting the country lately, many customers are finding that trying to navigate the Comcast AVR is like getting a mule to drink water.  Having been in the telecommunications field for well over 40 years now, I am finding that many companies are using the AVR to their advantage.  I called one the other day that said to press one for sales.  Then I get this recording that said "That number is not is service" and proceeded to disconnect me.

 

Trying to get a live person on the pohone at Comcast to work with you on a modem problem is just as bad.  The president of Comcast should try acting like a customer and see just how bad the customer is treated.  The TV show that has had a number of upper management go undercover and play the rookie employee roll will show just how messed up these companies are and how they treat their customers.

 

Problem is these companies think they are the only game in town and have total control over their customers.  Think again when I cancel my service with you.  More people should do the same.  Maybe then these companies may put some effort into their customer service and the attitude they have over the phone. 

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
Making the password easy to find
Larry M   7/18/2012 10:16:23 AM
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When working with products like this, I always paste a label on the bottom with its ID and password.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Making the password easy to find
Tool_maker   8/8/2012 12:54:15 PM
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That is a great idea. I do that with TV remote controls. That way when the batteries die and it loses its memory, I do not have to scrool through all of the product codes to reset for every device.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Missing password woes
William K.   7/18/2012 11:11:18 PM
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I have a similar problem, which s a TV receiver latched into the "test and calibrate" mode. The FUNAI website does provide instructions on how to get out of this mode, but those instructions call for issuing commands from both the original remote control and also using the control buttons on the set. Powering off will not reset it. Unfortunately I don't have the original remote any more. Getting into that mode was easy, all it took was a power glitch during a storm that came up at night. Now my choices are to purchase a new remote or pay a service center to do the reset. Why not have the reset done by some combination of buttons on the control panel?

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
What if I were in Fiji?
Ann R. Thryft   7/19/2012 12:00:13 PM
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Wow, what a bad combination: AT&T's classic, impervious "too big to think outside the box or ever be of any actual help" mentality plus your friend's memory loss. The first time I got a laptop that required a password, I remember thinking what disasters could ensue if I ever forgot it or if someone else had to access the machine while, say, I had a 103 degree fever or was vacationing in Fiji.

Ken E.
User Rank
Gold
Is competition an answer?
Ken E.   7/26/2012 8:45:25 AM
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In my town, (A suburb of major urban area.) there is no competition for Comcast.  (Tried DSL, way to slow.)  Many municipalities have agreements with their cable providers that makes it difficult for more than one vendor to exist.

Nonetheless, are two megaliths like Comcast and ATT real competitors?  You'd think so, but I'd have to have both available to find out.

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Password Paranoia
Cadman-LT   8/2/2012 4:10:55 PM
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A friend of mine recently bought a bunch of Epson projectors at a college auction. One thing you can do with them is set a password so they can't be used. Some had it some didn't.  I happened to buy one from him that did. I had to call Epson, convince them I didn't steal it...lol and give them the serial number that they then used to make a new password....with some app. They were nice about it and I actually did it again for another projector he needed to sell. Thank god Epson is so nice! well...it was an Epson reseller.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Passwords
Tool_maker   8/9/2012 1:07:45 PM
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I know I am incredably niave when it comes to this stuff, but I do not bank or pay bills on line. My pharmacist knows me by name and my emails are bland and boring. Why would anyone want to hack my AOL account is beyond me. I use the same password whenever I have to register one. I think it is much more likely that some company I do business with, Master Card,etc., will lose my information or I will lose my wallet than some hacker will try and invade my computer.

My son-in-law is an IT guy and has such incredibly complex passwords that he has frequently locked himself out and needs to get onto his records kept on my computer so he can look up his pass word. I am sure there is some logic there, but I do not know where.

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