Thursday, August 5, 2010

Geeks on Parade

Things didn’t go so well yesterday.  It actually all started a few days ago when Gene discovered a virus had invaded his computer.

The initial infection was not that bad.  The first sign of trouble was when Gene was on the internet and suddenly he would be redirected to another page, usually an advertisement.  He ran a McAfee scan, a trojan was found and deleted.  However, he continued to be redirected from the website he was reading.  And it didn’t matter which website he was on; it happened on all of them.  Over the next couple days, he was running McAfee scans several times a day.

On Tuesday, his internet connection became very unstable, disconnecting within a few seconds of getting on-line.  At this campground, we are using our Verizon air card for internet access.  The air card is working fine for me, so we know that’s not the problem.

Yesterday morning began with the goal of enlisting McAfee’s help; after all, we’d paid good money for them to keep these pesky trojans away.  We got on my computer to find a phone number for McAfee.  McAfee apparently lives in cyberspace and are beyond the reach of any cell towers.  There are no phone numbers, except, of course, for the sales department.

There were two buttons to choose from on the service page--one for on-line help and one for phone help.  Hard to get on-line help when you can’t stay on-line long enough to connect to the page.  Clicking the phone help button brought up another page which required a description of the problem and a blank for a credit card number.  Gene started filling out the form, but then decided he didn’t want to enter the information, especially the credit card number, from my computer since it wasn’t the one with the trojan.  Since I have an Apple, I don’t even use McAfee.

His solution was to call the sales department number.  That worked.  They were able to patch him through to India. I used to have a photo of this geek in India.  He was sitting on a metal folding chair in the desert in front of a propped up 2 X 4 on which was a computer and a telephone.  Green, green, green; I pink it up and say, “Yellow, how may I hep you?”

Gene was on the phone for two and a half hours.  Miraculously, his internet connection stayed up long enough to let the McAfee “expert” take remote control.  The connection didn’t last very long, however.  Every time it failed, the whole process had to be restarted.  This “expert”, being a probie geek, had to pass Gene onto a more experienced “expert”.  They worked together for some time, with the internet connection continuing to fail.

This more experienced geek wanted to blame the air card for the problem and suggested Gene call that service provider, but Gene wouldn’t hang up.  He knew it was the fault of the virus and they had been connected long enough for McAfee to isolate the thing.  I guess this more experienced geek got frustrated, or hungry, or something.  He wanted to try “one more thing”.  His “one more thing” wiped out Gene’s operating system.

Now this more experienced geek passed Gene on to the supervising geek.  Well, he didn’t actually pass him on, but said the supervising geek would call within 4 hours.  Five minutes before the end of the four hours the phone rang.  The supervising geek was very apologetic and they worked throughout the rest of the afternoon.  However, he finally had to admit they couldn’t restore Windows.  McAfee was happy to refund the $90 they wanted to get rid of the virus that we had already paid for them to keep out.

After dinner, Gene gets on the phone with the Best Buy geek.  For $120 they would be happy to restore Windows, but since this computer was originally purchased by Gene previous employer, we don’t have any software.  Best Buy would be happy to sell whatever he wanted.  It soon became obvious a new computer was the better deal.  Perhaps McAfee would like to pick up the tab for that, as well.

Today, we’re off to Best Buy--the closest store being in Auburn, Maine, about 75 miles from here.  At least it’s closer than driving to Hanover or Concord, New Hampshire.

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