Sunday, August 12, 2007

House Update; or, Shenanigans with Technology

Busy week! On Tuesday, the Verizon FiOS tech came (6 hours late) to install fiber optic Internet access. My father-in-law-to-be, Dave, volunteered to stay and wait for him so I didn't have to miss work. Nice. When I get home, the Internet is on, and man is it fast (and very low latency)!

Annie doesn't work Wednesdays, so we had scheduled the guys from National Floors Direct to come then to install the hardwood floors upstairs and carpet on the stairs. (Side note about NFD: the sales guy was nice and knowledgeable. However, he significantly lowered his price twice when we said it was too much; 20% the first time, then 19% the second time for a total drop of almost 35%! Price discrimination indeed!) I returned home to awesome hardwood floors! I was and still am pretty excited about them.

Then things started to go downhill in one fell swoop. The DirecTV guy came on Friday (again with Dave waiting for him) and refused to install the second coaxial cable for the 2-tuner DVR, saying an electrician would have to do it. While this raised some red flags for me, I was at work and didn't want to deal with it, so I told Dave to just let him do it.

I get home and the TV is working great. So I fire up my laptop to blog about it... and I have no Internet access! Since the FiOS uses the coaxial cables already in the house, I figured out that the DirecTV tech must have disconnected one of the coax cables going to the router (this was mostly confirmed by a tech support call with Verizon). Also, we discovered that about half the channels on the DVR have significant interruptions/static.

DirecTV gets bonus points for the call I had with a tech named Jeremy. He had me do a few troubleshooting steps without effect, then went ahead and ordered me a new DVR box. He asked me to check the cables behind the box, and I explained to him that the tech hadn't installed the second line. Jeremy literally laughed, then said, "You ordered a 2-tuner DVR from us with full installation; why would you need an electrician to install it?" Jeremy set up a service call for the next day, Sunday, from 12-4. Wow! A service call on a Sunday; how cool is that?

So right now I'm waiting for them to show. Jeremy said he couldn't diagnose the FiOS problem (obviously), but that the tech coming out today will take a look. If they fix the bad signal and the FiOS, my faith will be restored.

Update: James, the DirecTV tech, just left. He was able to install the second line (though not without first telling me he wasn't allowed to, and then calling his dispatch to find out he was) and get rid of the fuzz. He did his best to help with the Verizon problem, but was unable to help. The cabling in this house seems very strange. I hope the Verizon guy on Monday can help.
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