Josh (the blog)

Hey there. I’m Josh, a SydneyCanberra-based maker of Internets. I don’t update this very often.


Telstra Bigpond support

I hadn’t called support for at least six months. I did, yesterday, because our router went on holidays and I’d neglected to keep a local copy of Bigpond clients, etc., and knew they had a super-secret-accessible-without-authentication FTP site I could download one (for the record, it’s under dist/ with anonymous auth) from. Because I wasn’t going to pay a net cafe/couldn’t be bothered walking the 1km to the nearest one, and because I couldn’t find an open AP to steal wireless from(!! and I drove nearly a kilometer trying to, even the usual places were out!).

That was yesterday. Today, I called again because I couldn’t get it un-setup. And got the most completely and utterly clueless technical support person I’ve ever encountered. Not to sound misogynistic or anything, but… well, no male tech has ever come close to this woman’s sheer level of cluelessness. She hadn’t heard about their MAC address locking auth which has been going on since the beginning of time. Obviously, this was an impediment to getting things working when clearly it was a locking problem. She read me an SM server IP address off some sheet she had (which, so she claimed, was the way they did things now… yeah, righto. I’m now connected just fine without any such defined server, thanks) which I entered — of course — to no avail. Then I asked if she knew whether I should be using a SM or a DCE auth server, in light of the fact I’ve been connected for a couple of months without any problems (no joke… when Telstra works, it’s the most spectacular thing in the world. Getting it up and running is often quite a different story.) and she said:

“Uhhh I don’t know… SMTP server? Hmm…”

*josh bangs head against desk*

Some minute and a half later she realises, “Oh, that’s about email, right. Let me check that for you.”

Uhh, yeah, that’s what I wanted you to do three minutes ago. *waits on hold*

“Well, I just spoke with my supervisor and they don’t know either.”

Please, give more support contracts to the Indians. They know more than support-script-monkeys in Australian call centres.

So, next question — can you tell me when I’ve shown up as authenticating/connecting in the last 72 hours?

I know what the answer to this question should be, because they’ve been able to do it before. Hers was “Oh, hang on… oh dear, this is too technical for me.” *Raised eyebrow, before violently ripping limbs from tech-support voodoo doll reserved for this purpose* Realising the irony of her statement, she laughed airily, “And I’m meant to be the support person!” Oh, really? *Starts to warm soldering iron for use in doll’s eyes* Unsurprisingly, she couldn’t figure out what was going on enough to answer my question.

She proceeded to launch into the standard “Oh but you said you were using a router and actually we don’t support those so I’m sorry we’re not really trained in how to use them…” I was tempted to cut her off and start setting it up on another computer now to prove it still wasn’t working, but thought the pain had gone on long enough. So she continued with her “Bad user, you and your stupid non-desktop-solution that uses third-party routers.” Nevermind that these routers feature Telstra-licensed heartbeat software (at least, one would hope so, because bpalogin is GPL’d and router firmware certainly isn’t!). I could see the “contact the manufacturer” recommendation coming — it did — but then she threw out another gem that can’t possibly be ignored. She proceeded to actively recommend a third-party support company to setup my Telstra Bigpond Internet connection, as though they’d somehow be able to fix my (Telstra-induced) MAC locking problems.

At this point I took the doll downstairs, and left it sitting on the gas stove.

Addendum: I have encountered good female techs plenty of times in the past… I’ve just never encountered any male techs this bad. I think it’s probably a result of moronic gender equity corporate policies, whereby they employ useless females to make up the numbers — simply because not many work in the industry, doubtless at least in part because of the “clueless female” flack that some apparently cop. Proud to be a part of the problem. *rolls eyes* It was said in jest, live with it ;-)