Sorry, Comcast. My bad.

So one of the heavy burdens of working in tech is that is if something technical (e.g. your home internet) stops working properly, you are obliged by that malformed part of your brain that got you into IT in the first place to figure out WHY.  This can lead to all kinds of silliness, and my garage workstation is a living testament to that. So when I was getting >50% ping loss over the last two days (read: flaky Netflix), I assumed that the unholy demon-spawn of media conglomeration, He Who Shall Not Be Named Except In The Title Of This Blog Post, was to blame. But I'll be hogtied with Cat5 cable if I can't answer "I've already tried that" to every question the poor Tier1 tech support soul is required to ask me when I call up customer support. So I go hunting. Ping from LAN. Ping from WLAN. Ping with 64k packets. Reboot various stuff. Ping from router. Pull the cable modem out, put it on the kitchen table and connect to it directly to check it's firmware. Plug it back in to it's unobtrusive spot in the living room, and connect directly to it in the cable-snarl-den in the garage where I do my best redditing. All the same results. I've got this. This will be the fastest tech support script read-through you've ever read, my call center friend. ipconfig /release /renew MY ASS, DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU'RE TALKING TO?!?!? And then... that little voice says... "You know, you crimped these cables yourself. Maybe, you know, just to be sure, you might want to, you know, maybe... ...recrimp them? With some new ethernet jack ends? Maybe?" ... GODDAMN IT. The greater point here though is this: we live in a complex era. I routinely dig into things I know nothing about, often with spectacularly bad results. And I get mad. Rage about poor construction/design/planning/etc. And occasionally I will call up that underpaid phone support person, and speak to them in a fashion that I would never speak to another person that is standing in front of me. Which is not cool, but as Jules says, "I'm tryin' real hard, Ringo". But here's my proposal to all of you: If all that was wrong with my network was a bad cable, well, that's on me, because I cabled my network. But I've seen the shit that happens in people's home networks. Cables mashed at a right angle so hard because they've been receiving the nervous kicks of a writer at his/her desk for 5+ years. Cable spaghetti so bad it would make an episode of Hoarders* recoil in horror. And the dust bunnies. Oh, the dust bunnies. So how many times do you think there's a support ticket with the note on it, multiple times, *CUSTOMER IS THREATENING TO CANCEL SERVICE IF ISSUE IS NOT RESOLVED TO THEIR SATISFACTION*. And the $12.85/hr cable tech goes onsite, and finds a Cat5 patch that has doubled as a scratching post for Cpt. Fluffernutter. They know the call history. They know they are in the physical presence of someone who views them as the corporeal embodiment of their frustration of the last two weeks. Their job is to fix the problem, but also, always, believe that bizarre American mantra of The customer is always right. You think they are going to tell you; "It was your cable the whole time, you dumbass"? Let me just say: FUCK COMCAST. Yes, I dislike them so much I've been giving them money for the better part of a decade (but internet only! HBO can get bent). And fuck many, many bad companies out there. And fuck their ass-tacular customer service. But before you get on the phone in a white-hot rage, just realize that shit is really complicated these days, and it's a miracle that anything works, ever. Which is the new American mantra I'm casting my vote for this election season.   *I do not know the name of the show, but I'm guessing you got what I was going for. Like I said, internet only (4 life).
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