Anti-Midas Touch Resumes

I am ready to dump all of this technology stuff and go to work raking leaves or painting houses. It was just last week my MacBookPro came back from its two week vacation to replace its fan and logic board. And now today, its screen is dimmed to about 2% of its brightness, so much that I thought it was blanks and resorted to the resetting of PRAM, PMUs, etc. It was only by an accidental tilt under the light I could make out the dim background image and desk top icons, I cannot even locate the mouse. My guess is the screen backlight is now shot, and that means another trip to the shop.

Heck, I might be ready for a Dell.

No, not quite that bad.

But that is nothing on the crap-around I am getting from Huhges on my diminishing satellite net connection. I cannot describe in words how much I regret signing up with them. If you are considering their service, RUN, do not walk, but RUN elsewhere. I mean it. They have the WORST service, twisted vile support-less customer support, and a web site set of tools that are 10 years behind in web service technology.

My first night up here at the cabin, connectivity was good; I ran their speed test, which yielded 1000 kbs download and 192 kbs upload, which I considered about a C- considering I am paying for a service that advertises as 1500/1000 speeds.

After a lovely night of rain, in the morning, our speeds were noticeably slow to non-existent. All of the modem diagnostics panned out, a 91% signal, etc. However, several attempts to run the speed test failed on the upload test with HTTP errors in the java test app. This makes sense as the speed was likely so slow that it never sent the data.

So off it was to customer support, via their live chat. I got someone quickly, but of course the chat was slow because of my sub dial-up speed connection, and the tech asked me to enter all oh my ID info I had already plugged into the web form that launched the chat. So after 15 minutes of exchange to reiterate the problem, she insisted I download an application to “assist” the speed test. Ugh, it was Windows only, which necessitated firing up the MacBookPro in Windows XP. This took about 15 minutes, as I had to go through that gawd awful sequence of entering a 26 character WEP key, which as usually takes 4 tries to get it entered twice.

Okay, so we go through the download of some LCCU utility, run it through Explorer, change a bunch of settings in IE, and we get the speed test thingy to work. So what do we learn? My speeds are now 845kbs download and 10 kbs upload, which is barely uploading at all.

And at this point she says I need to call customer support on their voice line!!! I waster an hour and 15 minutes in chat support to learn what I knew, my download speeds were slow.

So it was a call to customer support, hold music. This guy wants me to run the speed test. I run the test. Of course, it fails with the same error. He has me read all of the settings from my control panel on the satellite modem. He wants me to fiddle with my router. I carefully explain that 36 hours ago everything worked fine, so why do I have to fiddle with my computer when nothing has changed? He offers to escalate my problem to a higher level of tech support, where upon I am transferred to a hold music pattern, where after 25 minutes I have has enough.

Ok, so just to rule out my wireless router, I plug the ethernet into my laptop. Same result.

Hours later, I give the chat support another try. Same routine. This guy tries to tell me I need to download a version of Java. How does that make a difference when the Java applet has run successfully, loads successfully and obviously fails to respond. He can only tell me again to call voice support, hence the seventh circler of voice support hell.

While on hold, again I run the speed test. Woo-hoo, I actually get a result…. and it is an abysmal 746/8 kbs, the lowers rate yet. I could get a faster connection with tin cans and strings.

So here it is again, calling across the ocean, where I have to again confirm my name, email, customer ID, mother’s blood type, and they offer to transfer me to my escalated technical support. I am now in my 45th minute of waiting, having heard the same hold song 22 times. I am ready to strangle something.


I might also go for being a fry cook.

Update: This morning, I test my connection, and the speeds have returned to the previous levels. Does this mean I had to make any changes to my computer, network, configuration? No. Does it mean they solved my problem by addressing it? No. I am just glad I do not have to spend another chunk of my life listening to the Hughes Hold Muzak.

Thinking I was on a roll of good fortune, I flipped the MBP open, but it’s still got a dimmed, useless screen. Tomorrow, I’ll be seeing if I can hook it to an external monitor or booting it in Target Disk mode so I can yank a fresh copy of my data, and take it bake to the clinic.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Sorry to hear about your MBP, Alan. Something similar happened on my PbG4 shortly after I first got it and it turned out to be the little screen brightness controls in the function keyset. You’ve probably thought of that, but just in case you haven’t … did you try turning up the brightness manually with the function keys? Sometimes messing with the f10 (I think) key, the one for the backlit keyboard, has an effect as well.

    I have manuka honey for your mom, btw.

  2. Ditto what the previous comment says. This has happened MANY times to my staff. Rarely has there been an actual problem with the laptop.

    You didn’t mention that this was something you tried, so I thought I would echo this idea.

    BOL. Can’t wait to find out what happens.

  3. Thanks Cheryl and jetech3- I have monkeyed with the screen brightness keys a lot. Not sure what the keyboard lightness keys would do, but am trying that as well, but will play some more. For now, I have it hooked up to s spare monitor, soat least I can try some things and to start the back up of data process.

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