After a month of seemingly endless problems, there is a sort of return to service now, albeit a short lived one.
Heather is still out for the count and it may be some time before she returns to blogging form. It is possible she will undergo surgery on Friday followed by several weeks bedrest, but fingers crossed everything is on the mend.
I have had none of the problems Heather has undergone, and simply have been without internet connection. I now have an internet connection, but will be going away on a long family holiday at the weekend, where I will be without it once more. Typical really.
On the subject of internet connections, life is now officially impossible without one. A few years ago, I made a passing reference to how our society has become dependent on the internet, and things have not improved. [this is the long bit if you want to stop reading here]
Having recently moved house, I needed to go through all the things we take for granted – setting up utilities, arranging council tax, registering to vote, changing bank details etc. However with very few exceptions all of these wanted internet access to actually do anything. Some had normal phone numbers or addresses but, ironically, the only place you could find these out was online… What barking madness. Fortunately, McDOnalds provides free WiFi, but sitting in a busy public place typing away on my laptop is not good for personal security, so this was difficult at best.
Obviously, I wanted an internet service – how else could I blog for example – and I had done a lot of research before I moved, so I knew the one I wanted. The problem is that Virgin Media couldn’t even begin to confirm if their service would be available until my phone line was connected – this happened the day we moved in – so I couldn’t pre-arrange the ISP service.
Anyway, we move in and I eventually get to a WiFi point to register with virgin. The registration process was smooth enough, although oddly they send all service updates (such as the day you get connected) to your email account. How this is supposed to help you get connected is beyond me. Then after explaining that it would take 14 days to get the service up and running (no, I have no idea why either), and what equipment they would send out to me, the virgin account creation pages came up with a huge warning saying there was a problem with my account and could I call customer services. Obediently I called and hit the worlds worst automated system. It took best part of 20 minutes to get through to a human who had no idea why I was calling when I didnt have an account. I explained everything the error message said (which was limited, to be fair), and he was still none the wiser. After another 10 mins of this, he eventually found my records and said there were no problems and I would be up and running in 14 days. He then, very patronisingly, told me it was all in the emails I had been sent. He wasn’t able to tell me how to read the emails without internet access though.
About a week later, I was back in McDonalds using the WiFi and I checked into the Virgin webmail service. The promised emails were non-existent, there were a few initial ones, but the one saying when it would all be up and running was missing. When I went to the user control panel, there was a huge message saying “there has been a problem setting up your account please call customer services.” Again, I did so. I went through all the hoops and got another bemused operator who had no idea why I was calling but promised my service would be up and running within 14 days (yes, this was about 7 days into the original 14 days).
Bizarrely, on the 10th day I got a package explaining how to connect and telling me my router would be shipped in time to connect. Back in McDonalds I followed the instructions to see what the status of the equipment order was only to be faced with a barrage of error messages and failed webpages. Inspires confidence, thats for sure.
Having my own router (I am a closet geek), I tried to connect on Day 14 and magically the service was working. It was even surprisingly fast considering the location (and distance from exchange) and all the virgin account stuff was perfect. Oddly, on Day 15 of this fiasco, I got a letter saying my service had been activated the day before (and I would be billed from that date) and that my equipment would be shipped in time to use the connection. Unless they use TARDIS delivery, this seemed unlikely. The promised equipment finally arrived three days after the letter; while this was not important to me, if I had been relying on the virgin equipment, I would have paid for four days of service with no way to access the service. Minor issue, but on the scale of virgins customer base its pretty poor.
Anyhoo, ranting over now and I can carry on unboxing my belongings. Hopefully normal service will resume ASAP.