Archive for February, 2007

New Blog URL

                                I didn’t really need to, but GoDaddy.com is currently offering ".info" domain names for $0.99 USD. I couldn’t resist, so you can now also find this blog by way of www.kevinsblog.info.

 

My Other Websites:

www.comptechgeek.net (main website)

www.kevinsprograms.net (virus/spyware, popular free programs)

http://ttg.textamerica.com (photo blog) -hasn’t been updated in a while, but it’s there

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Tech Support Rant

                                            The last entry brings me to, I think, a very valid point. Look, I have nothing against Tech Support, hell, I worked in the industry for a few months myself. It’s not just the technically illiterate who call them, technology enthusiasts and experts do as well. Hell, two heads are better then one. Gives you a fresh perspective. What I dislike is reps who pretend to understand the issue at hand (even if they don’t), and put the customer repeatedly on hold to either "look something up" or talk with their fellow reps in desperation to find a solution. I understand doing this once or twice, hell, there’s nothing wrong with asking if you don’t know. However, if it becomes obvious to the rep that neither they or the people surrounding them know of a solution, do the right thing and tell the customer to let you go, so they can find a solution elsewhere, or by chance call up another rep who can help them.

                                             Saying "I don’t know" isn’t wrong, in fact, it’s honest, and the customer will appreciate their time not being further wasted. There is the option in some Call Centres to schedule a "Call Back", where another rep will call them on a specific time and day. This is great if the issue isn’t urgent, but in most cases, the customer doesn’t want to wait a few days to have their issue resolved. Who would?! I know, being a customer, that I’d rather hang up and try again for someone who can help me solve the problem. Would the rep get dinged for it? I certainly hope not. In most cases, a "survey" is sent out to the customer’s email address, asking for feedback on the call. I’d certainly praise the rep for not wasting my time. Wouldn’t you?

Got Vonage Working…

                              I was very surprised, and delighted when we received our Vonage phone adapter/router today, especially since we had only ordered it along with the Premium Unlimited plan only last Thursday or Friday. They sent it to us XpressPost. Two days. Wow. Anyhow, getting it hooked up and working wasn’t that much of a chore, although I did have to call their Tech Support to get both our traditional high speed internet and the Vonage service to co-exist. That process took about an hour, but that was the second call to their Tech Support dept.

                              The first hour was spent mostly repeatedly explaining how we wanted everything setup (granted, the connection on their end wasn’t great for whatever reason). The thing that peeved me off about that hour was being repeatedly put on hold while the Tech Support rep repeately put me on hold to "look up some information regarding my issue". We the rep did make the effort to walk me through things, she was telling me to change settings that had nothing to do with the issue, strangely enough. The second rep was very helpful, and knowledgable. It may have taken an hour, but the issue was resolved. Fully.

                              Tomorrow morning will be spent taking care of some things, including calling up Telus and having our phone number disconnected, and having any calls from our "old" automatically transferred for the next couple of week (hopefully) to our new number. Tomorrow afternoon will pretty much be spent waiting by the phone for a call for interviews, and waiting for the Shaw Cable tech to stop by and look into our the internet speed slowdown we’ve been experiencing the past three weeks. They’ve suggested it could have something to do with the way our computer network is wired (not likely, as nothing’s been changed), our cable modem might need replacing (ok, maybe), or "something else". I know technology can be a real b*tch, and everything has to be looked into sometimes, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt here, see what happens.

Time Shifting

                     We decided this week to get rid of some of the TV channels we don’t watch, specifically the 5 US digital stations that have been costing us $6.99/month. We replaced them with the Canadian national networks (ctv, global, cbc) in different time zones (time shifting). We did this for two reasons. The first being that it gives us more choice in which to watch the shows we like (which are syndicated US shows and some Canadian stuff, too) at different times in different time zones. The second is we’ve always found local news to be more worthy of our time and less BS. We’re looking into taking some more of the channels we don’t watch off our line-up. Easier said then done, unfortunately, due to all these damn "bundles". I’m curious to find an Australian TV station one of these days, and would be more then happy to subscribe to it, as long as the cost is within reason.

Switching to VoIP

                       We decided this past week to research the possibility of getting rid of our tranditional landline phone number and switching to VoIP (phone over the internet) through Vonage. VoIP went mainstream a couple of years ago, but we held off, waiting until the technology has had the bugs and problems worked out. Problems included static on the line, and voice echoes. The technology is to the point now where we feel comfortable taking the plunge.

                      There are a few reasons why we have decided to go VoIP.

1.) The most obvious being that switching to it quite literally cuts our phone bill in half. No kidding. With our phone number, "luxury features" such as Caller ID, and a $25 per month long-distance plan, our bill averaged $73 per month. VoIP cuts that down to $42. Again, no kidding.

2.) With VoIP, there is no such thing as ‘long distance’, as everything on the internet is deemed ‘local’.

3.) Specialty features, including Caller ID, are included, not costs above and beyond.                         

4.) No more (hopefully) telemarketer calls. We used to receive them once in a while, now it’s practically on a daily basis. Our new number is automatically unlisted. We don’t have to pay extra for it, either.

                      Some other additional benefits include Vonage-based Voice Mail. There’s no need for a home-based answering machine, although we may choose to stick with it anyway. There are a lot of other great "luxury features" included, at no additional costs. I can definitely see VoIP totally taking over…in time. Just like high-speed trampled dial-up.

                      One cool feature that grabbed my attention is called Click-2-Call. "With Vonage Click-2-CallSM, you select a phone number from anywhere on your computer and we dial it instantly. Click-2-CallSM rings your Vonage number first. When you pick up your phone, it then rings the number you picked to dial. You will be able to ring any number, within US and Canada, on any device, without even dialing the number." –Vonage.ca

 

                      We will be strictly protecting our phone number, so if you want it, you’ll have to ask for it, but I will never post it on the web (including here), nor will we give it to people we don’t know (obviously).

                      VoIP works in an ingenious way, which is why it’s popularity is guaranteed to skyrocket in use in the coming years. You don’t have to change anything about your current phones or setup. You connect your high-speed connection to a VoIP phone adapter (sometimes seperate, sometimes built into a router), which connects to your home network. You simply plug a phone cord from the wall into the phone port on the adapter/router. You can now surf the web and/or make phone calls. It’s truly that easy.

Sorry for Lack of Updates

Hello all. I apologize for the lack of updates. A few things have been going on that I do want to speak of, but just haven’t had the motivation to post entries about it all. The next couple of days will be fairly calm, and will give me a chance to post some entries, so please check out my blog regularly for updates. Thanks.

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