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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Technology : A Love/Hate Relationship

My grandson Isaac was over at our house several weeks ago and decided he wanted to "play" with the Smart TV hub and the keyboard used to operate it.  

Sure, I said.  Let's set it up. 
Well, we couldn't.  What had worked some weeks before now would not, and while the TV connected to the WiFi, it would not connect to the Internet. That Smart TV wasn't so smart.

Last week, I finally set aside the time to work on this problem.  On Monday I went on line to see if this was a common problem.  It was for Samsung Smart TVs.  I read about possible fixes, and then tried my hand at finding and resetting some of the settings.  That didn't work.  That's when I called Comcast.

The first level of tech support tried some of the same setting changes I had tried.  When he reset the modem, we lost phone contact and had to wait about a half hour until the phone was restored and called us back.  Nothing  was solved.  I got a case number and gave up for that day.

Tuesday I called Comcast again to get to a higher level.  This time we tried the same stuff again, and resetting the modem, we lost contact completely.  After about a half hour I called again on the cell phone and got someone in Texas, who took over and restored the modem and the Internet and the phones and then sent us to a higher level tech guy.  Again we tried new settings and finally he was checking the Internet and reading the same articles I had read. By now were were just joking around, not knowing what else to do.

What we did decide was that it wasn't a Comcast connectivity problem and I should now try Samsung.

While trying various things the Comcast tech turned off the firewall, and at some point the email must have been hacked, because some people on our e-mail contact list got Phishing e-mail. Tad, our personal tech guy, got one and asked if we had been hacked.  We had to change a whole bunch of passwords.  Sometimes that is easy, and sometimes it is not.  What fun.

Wednesday I called Samsung.  We went through settings changes all over again.  It was decided that we should update a program in the TV.  In order to do that we had to go buy a flash drive, then download an update to it, then plug it into the USB on the TV and download it there.  I did all of this and it didn't work.  Then we realized we hadn't unzipped the program file, so I went back to the desktop to figure out how to do that. Note - the key word here is extract, not unzip.  

That done, I plugged it back into the TV and updated the program but that did not solve the Internet connection problem either.

Now it's Thursday.  I called Samsung back and after some time I got to a higher level of tech support, a person with "real" English. We tried a bunch more things, with me "driving" with the remote. I don't know how many times now that I have entered and reentered the 16 figure pass code, numerals and upper case letters, using arrows on the remote and the qwerty keyboard on the screen. The Samsung tech woman even set up a conference call with Comcast so we could work together. The Samsung tech support woman did suggest there might be an issue with the distance from the modem to the TV but I said it used to work just fine.  Finally she fixed me up with a local electronics repair shop that would call me to schedule an in home visit. 

We began our weekend, while keeping a phone handy so as not to miss the call.  Fortunately contact was made Friday afternoon, with a call back on the cell phone to be made on Monday, when we would be going to Whidbey Island.

The next call informed us that we were set for a service call the following Thursday afternoon, which meant we had to go home from the island Wednesday evening. 

Thursday afternoon Juan arrived about 3:00.  What a great guy.  He again tried some settings, the checked connectivity and a bunch of other stuff and then said he was taking the TV upstairs, closer to the modem.  This is a 55 inch flat screen, but he picked it up like he did it all the time and carried it upstairs and set it on the floor of the bedroom, close to the upstairs office.  He even had his own power cord, so we didn't have to unplug anything.  To make a very long story come to an end, the problem was that while the TV used to be able to bring in the WiFi Internet signal, it got tired and quit reaching so far.  Apparently this happens often enough that Juan knew about it, even though the phone support people didn't. 

The fix was to get a WiFi booster, except that he called it an Infrared Booster and when I called Samsung, I got shuttled to three different people before the third person, a woman, figured out what I needed and that I could go buy one at Best Buy.

So we did, right then and there.  This had gone on long enough.
This plug in device cost $80.00, well worth it if it works.  It took us about an hour to get it programmed, failing several times before the directions made sense and worked. And Hurray! we now had Internet connection with the TV.  It was now smart again!  Finally!  It only took two weeks!
But then we noticed that our iPhones were no longer able to SEND email.  What?  The message was that the web address or password were not correct.  I don't know how many times we each entered what we knew was the correct new password in the settings, with no luck. So yesterday we called Comcast again.  We got a great technician who walked us through the steps through several screens on our phones to a "hidden" password box just for outgoing mail.  There we once more entered the verified password.  Wah-la! That problem was solved.

I wasn't sure what to call this post. An alternate title was "Technology Wars". I certainly feel like I have been through a battle. I do love technology, when it works, but when it doesn't I am easily in way over my head, and that is very frustrating. 

All's well that ends well, I guess.  Everything is working, for now.
And I did learn a lot in this process. That's always a good thing.

10 comments:

  1. I would call all that a super duper headache, one that goes on for DAYS. We also have a Samsung Smart TV that works just fine, so I'm going to quietly go over and cover up its connections so it won't get any ideas. :-)

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  2. YOu are amazing. I would have thrown the TV out the window by the third day. I love technology but hate all the problems with updates and machines not talking to each other! I also hate C0mcast. They charge a fortune but cannot fix anything on time.

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  3. I can relate...with my google struggle which has gone on for too many months trying to renew a $10 bill for a domain name on one of my blogs. They were going to take my blog down because my visa card on file didn't have it's new expiration date. but could I find the screen to do that...no. It was hidden many days and techs in far away places couldn't find it until I finally sent in an emaill for support and after many tries got a link to admin.google-never knew they had that...what a hassle. Welcome to the future and we don't even have a smart tv yet. lol!

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  4. I have no patience for such things. I would have been tearing my hair out after the first afternoon. Kudos to you for being so patient while you worked this all out.

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  5. This sounds all too familiar. I do wish things would just work the way they should.

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  6. Argh.... I hate calling tech support... Good job

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  7. Weelll--let's not say you are the only one......... It happens here too. Bob recently up dated his Computer from Windows XP to Windows 7---something that should go ok? NOT!! He is still struggling to get some of the things he had before but mostly everything is ok. It is just frustrating because one time things work and then they done and all of a sudden they will again----ok ok I quit!! LOL
    MB

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  8. Grrr! Remember when phones were attached to walls and had dials and if your family was lucky enough to have a television, the remote control was the youngest child in the family? (I swear that's why my parents had me!) Things seemed much easier when phone numbers began with a word. Ours was YUkon3-2422 what was yours? Technology is a wonderful thing when it works, you know, when nobody else is on the party line.

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  9. How did you ever remember and put all that into writing? What a job! I admire you! I would have given up long ago. Isaac must think he has the smartest grandma ever!

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  10. Good grief! This would make me absolutely crazy! You are terrific to keep at it and get it to work.

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