Things are crook in Tallarook

This is a little article I wrote a few weeks ago about some issues I was having with getting some assignments done on time. I’m naming and shaming because it’s easier that way.

Things are crook in Tallarook, the saying goes, but things are much crooker in my house. Wednesday 7th December we lost the internet and the landline. What with study, blog and so much other internet based stuff, it’s something I’ve come to rely on. The other inhabitants of my house also have important things they need to do online, I’m not discounting their need, just giving them a little privacy. Everything went pear-shaped last Wednesday morning when Telstra cut our connection, with two of us out until the evening it was nine hours before we were able to ring up and log a complaint with iiNet.

Telstra

Our national phone system was Telstra (previously called Telecom), they had a monopoly until sold by the government. Then the government started letting other companies provide phone and internet systems but Telstra still owns the physical framework and everyone has to go through them. This means that physical maintenance is done by them. As with many large corporations they suffer from a lack of communication and commonsense.

We know our connection was cut by Telstra on Wednesday morning as when we both left a man was working in the pit across the road from us. After he left we had no connection. QED.

Need internet

With the need to get some files for both assignments I deserted the house after dinner on Wednesday to visit somewhere with internet. Mum kindly vacated her computer for me. I was blocked on almost every turn of the mouse. Tried logging into my uni account but it kept not letting me in until I realised Mum’s keyboard is different to mine and instead of typing a capital letter I was typing a slash, fixed that to find there’s no way to download most of the files using her computer. Ended up hooking my mobile to her wifi and using that, it worked! Sigh of relief.

iiNet

Thursday afternoon I took a break from my assignments to ring up iiNet and ask for some details, I was told Telstra would probably come out on Friday to look at the problem. I don’t know how she knew which problem my call was related to as she didn’t ask for my incident report number, nor did she make any phone calls to Telstra or even put me on hold. I feel I got the run-around.

Hello Mum

But at this time I noticed I need more files so I made another visit to Mum’s place and I made both of us a cup of tea while I’m downloading. The evening went well with the radio play assignment. Having got to a point where I could leave it I exported it from Audacity ready to check the following day. Bed beckoned.

Friday morning having written one part of my essay, I realise I need another critical article. The iPad and mobile hotspot doesn’t work. Instead I opened Audacity again to finish my radio play I discover exporting the file merged the tracks and I could only add more tracks and not delete or move anything already there. More swear words while I add in some more tracks, export it, add it into Movie Maker to add in some visual text to hopefully explain the roughness of the audio. I’d been gifted a file with two tracks which wouldn’t allow itself to be inserted without becoming one track, wish I’d used the export feature to merge the tracks. I then grab everything I hope I need and run out the door to uni.  At this point I’m abandoning the family for a few hours until both assignments are submitted, potentially until about 11pm.

Assignments submitted!

With both assignments submitted on Friday night we ring again and we’re given a non-answer. Apparently we were to wait a couple of days as the connection might fix itself, magically. When we tried to query this we were put on hold and eventually they hung up on us.

Saturday morning we try again and this time we get someone sensible. Apparently Telstra visited the Exchange and when they couldn’t find the problem there they didn’t visit the pit to fix it but instead logged what they’d done. I’m getting the feeling that visiting the Exchange and visiting the pit are meant to be two separate events. I can understand that in some cases but not in ours as there’s only a distance of about 300 metres between the two places. We’re now told to wait 24-48 hours to see what Telstra say.

The things I’ve noticed, not just with this incident but also with other problems we’ve had with large internet companies. The first people we speak to don’t seem to know what they’re talking about and it seems that we need to talk to several untrained people who don’t know what to do (either that or they’re idiots, but I’m trying to be nice) before we get someone trained who knows what to do and does it, someone who has a bit of nous and understanding with something we often call ‘initiative’. iiNet are so ‘busy’ that it can take an hour or more to get through to the call centres. The internet was finally connected again on the Tuesday, a whole week without internet.

Technology and programmes used

I’m blown away by the amount of technology I’ve used just for one assignment. I’ve used my mobile phone, iPad and computer, but also Mum’s computer and one at uni. Adobe and Word were useful just for the writing, I tried to use Scrivener but it was brain overload at that point so I went back to Word. On the iPad I used Memo to record stuff, transferring to my computer using either Box or email, the mobile phone was mostly used as a hotspot and for downloading files but also as an expensive USB key. Chrome and Firefox had different tasks, I worked with one while the other downloaded files (Downloadhelper FTW!). VLC, Audacity, Media Player and Movie Maker teamed together with lots of swear words as I needed to switch between them when something needed converting from to another file type.

I won’t mention the pen and paper I used to keep track of changes I wanted to make or people I needed to keep track of. I am in awe of my friends, they are wonderful people who volunteered to lend their voices and acting skills to help me with my assignment. Final note: my teacher liked the many different layers I’d put in.

Well done you for getting this far.