Did you try formatting the CD?

Okay, so the internet connection has been a little flaky here in the apartment, so after a day of disconnects from instant messaging (sorry if I seemed unresponsive, folks) and the inability to download drivers for my brand new machine, I decided to contact Earthlink’s support on the internet. I saw that there was a backbone outage scheduled for this morning, (in Minnesota) but it should have ended at 6am. After restarting my DSL modem, my router, and my computer, I decided to go with their “Get help now via chat” response option. Here’s how it went:

Earthlink Rep: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today?

Me: Good afternoon. Just curious if the backbone problems listed are still affecting customers in the washington, DC area. It seems like I can only be online for about 5 minutes before I get disconnected and have to reconnect to any instant messaging, and resume any downloads.

Earthlink Rep:
Is this happening when you are using the Netscape browser?

Me: Actually, it’s happening when I use Firefox, but aim and yahoo are affected, too.

Earthlink Rep: I suggest you to contact the computer vendor as the issue seems to be with the browser you are using.

Me: And what about the instant messaging disconnects?

Earthlink Rep: I suggest that you power cycle your DSL modem once.

Earthlink Rep: This was a five step cut and paste of how to power cycle your dsl modem. If we were on the phone, I’m sure that he sould have been speaking. . . SLOWLY. . . and COHERENTLY, so that I didn’t misunderstand.

Me: Did that before I contacted you. No change.

Earthlink Rep: Is this happening only with the chats?
Earthlink Rep: I mean only with the instant messenger?

Me: They’ll appear to be online, but then I’ll be disconnected from the chat servers when I attempt any sort of communication.

Earthlink Rep: Are you able to browse the web without any pages? This is where, if we were on the phone, I would add a lengthy pause, and repeat his question. “Am I able to browse the web, without any pages? Hmmm. . . Let me think.”

Me: I’ll try cycling the power again. And I’ll check the network status every now and again. I’ll contact you guys again if it doesn’t work.

Earthlink Rep: Okay. Is there anything else that I can assist you with?

Me: No, I think that’s all. Thanks.

As you can see, I didn’t even get my original question answered. I think the battle was lost at the “Contact your computer vendor” statement.