09 November, 2012

TV's on the Fritz Again

Wouldn't you just know it, the frickin' TV did it again. Well, to be honest, it's not the TV that's to blame (although I'm sure it's played a part). It's probably the satellite and it's so-called 'receiver'. It could also be the dish. Or, it could be the cables (there's two, one innie and one outtie). Hell, it could also be the screws and nuts and bolts holding the thing together.
Our Trusty Receiver
I know what the problem is. They didn't use any duct tape when they initially installed the thing - and they called themselves "professionals". Hah! Red Green would'a called them on that right then and there on day one.

To be fair, the thing has operated more or less trouble-free for several years now. It just went on the blink the day before the election. I'm not sure if we were lucky or not with that because it got fixed in time for the big day.

Fixing it was easy. All it took was several phone calls - long distance ones too, I might add. There's an online self-help section where you can hit a button and get your 'receiver' reset. Weird that you're limited to four times in a day to do that. Did I mention that that didn't work? Well, it didn't.

The next step involved the first of several of those long distance calls I mentioned. Without talking to a real live human being you can get their 'great computer' (this has to be said with the 'tone and voice of Doom' for best effect.) to do some sort of magic reset of your 'receiver'. This I did three times, and lost my patience.

At that point, I decided it was necessary for some human intervention, but first, I thought I'd check the TV and the 'receiver' just on the off-chance that the thing was fixed. This was on the morning of the election.

Whoa! it was. It worked great. In fact, better than great. We were able to look at channels that we hadn't been able to see for months. I guess it's not unusual to have the system drop the odd channel now and then. If you're on your game, you can use the online bit to reset your 'receiver' and regain the use of the missing channel. I obviously wasn't - and wasn't for some time as we had probably over half of our channels that were non-functioning.

It's easy to convince yourself that the problem is related to weather. I mean, we're just coming to the end of hurricane season and that would likely spawn all kinds of problems. Plus, it's the tropics, it's hot, humid and it rains a lot during the rainy season, which is the same as hurricane season.

Well, since the channels were all working, there seemed no need to seek human intervention, right? Right. So, we enjoyed unfettered television for the rest of the day. We could, if we wanted, watch every pundit on Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC, CBC, BBC (At times, I swear, the Brits and Canadians were more into the election than we were... Not that we were really all that 'into it', but you know what I mean), and the Comedy Channel, especially the Daily Show with John Stewart. Oh, my mistake... That's where we get our real news.

I managed to stay up real late and watch the election until 9:00 PM Belize Time, which is more or less, the Central Time Zone, except we don't follow daylight savings time down here. At that point, I decided sleep was the most important thing that I could do. I'd find out who won and who lost in the morning. I went to bed confident that I'd be able to get up in the morning and be gloriously surprised at who did what when it hit the fan, or didn't, as the case may be.

Well, I was surprised alright. Tuesday morning turned out to be a repeat of the day before the election. Did you know that in Singapore, the day before an election is called the 'Cooling Off Day'? That sounds like something that would be worthwhile to consider here... Maybe make it a month or so, instead of just a day.

Man, these digressions just get the best of me. So, the 'receiver' is up to its old tricks again. And again, I tried three or four times for the online reset method. Naah. That didn't work last time, nor did it work this time. Ok. Time to call for the human interface.

After I made connection with the human (Didn't even have to wait in an electronic queue), things were progressing well. the human had me accessing screens and punching number sequences. It felt good, I tell you. A few more key strokes and... Click. We got disconnected. I should have known. Back to the tried and true methods.

A few more times of logging-in to the reset section and a couple more calls to the automated reset bit. Waited about a half hour. Drank some coffee, got distracted and happened to glance over at the Tube. It's working. Once again a miracle has occurred. All that day, it's fine.

Then comes the night. We actually considered leaving the thing on all night just to keep the 'receiver' happy and full of channel selections. No, we were confident that we had cracked the nut and everything was going to be fine, so off it went.

Here comes the following morning. Guess what? You know the drill. Nothing, nada. Just the 'Standby. We're reloading your frickin' channels once again' message on the screen.
May I Have Your Attention Please
Only this time, that's it. That's all we got. All day. We even involved or neighbor, Vivien in the fracas. Late in the afternoon, she's all set up with a cell phone in each hand. On one, she's talking to the human at tech central, on the other she's talking to me, then to Dianna, after the tasks required more than just one hand.

Well, we got nowhere. the human at you-know-where, was convinced that the problem was somewhere outside - which meant that in his mind, the dish was misaligned or the cables were shot or something, even though I swore on a stack of user manuals that I had already checked all that and everything was copacetic.

After, about a half hour of wasted long distance time, we hung up. Vivien had given us the name of somebody down here in the 'remote jungles of Borneo'... Oh, wait, that's in the book I'm reading. He's here in Corozal and apparently fixed Vivien's satellite TV problem not more than two or three weeks ago.

Well, what do you know? A local expert.

I wonder if he has duct tape?


JRinSC said...

Sorry for all the fun and games. You know, it just shouldn't be that hard to do. Even up here in the states you can have that kind of fun. Of course, in my case I fould out what this funny little button on top of my cable modem did -- it suspended its operation until you pushed it again - which the service tech did.

Then he mentioned something about an "Id 10 T" error. Took me a minute after he left to put it together: ID1OT -- funny, ha ha

Have fun,


Dave Rider said...

Hi Julian,

Hey, I resemble that. Turns out the phone tech 'the human' was right. It really was a loose connection out at the dish. And BTW, there is only one wire to the satellite. I had it confused with the HughesNet dish, which does have two.

Amazingly, once I checked the fitting for corrosion (none) and tightened it back up, the picture and sound were magically restored.

I should mention that I did that check first thing the next morning before the local expert showed up with his version of the 'ID-10-T' statement. So, I was able to restore everything without him having to come (whew).

Harking back to former lives, we had occasion to associate with Airedales a lot, since I was on a helicopter carrier. We had lots of laughs about aircraft like the 'B-1-RD' and the 'GU-11'.


JRinSC said...

They put us Submariners at a separate base (Destroyer & Submarine Piers) so we didn't really associate with hardly any other services at al. But when they sent me to Main Naval Base Norfolk I would salute everything that walked... just to be sure! LOL

I have a ball cap that really gets to a good friend (ex-marine) that says: The Best Marine is a Submarine. Just tears him up!

I noticed you have a Skype account. Are they still "interfering" with Skype lately down there?

Also, I'm brand new with Skype -- isn't calls between Skype users free? Even international calls?

Just curious,


Dave Rider said...

Being in the amphibious Navy, we were kind of considered to be a lower life form - we were the 'Gator Freighters', part of PHIBPAC, or as we called it 'PigPac'.

BTL (Digicell) still blocks Skype. I've heard Smart doesn't. We use it over satellite so it's no problem.
Skype users talking PC to PC, it's free. That's about all I know about it.


Anonymous said...

Dear Dave and Dianna Rider,

We are sorry you had such difficulties with the satellite TV system. I'll try better next time (and believe me, there will be a next time!!!)


"I'm a Customer Service Rep.
I can change,
If I have to ...
I guess ..."

JRinSC said...

Better lock your doors, remove McAfee anti-virus from your computer and look out for a weird dude that might have sailed over from the Isla Bonita!

What great press for poor Belize! Not good, but maybe a few people will see some of the country and check it out later.

Take good care,


Dave Rider said...

Hi Julian,

As PT Barnum once said, I'm paraphrasing here, "Say whatever you want about me, just spell the name right."

Belize can always use the publicity. I'm just not sure that it really needs an apparently drug-induced paranoia coupled with a few stray billion dollars fueling it. Talk about a loose cannon...

Oh well, it is interesting reading, even as you scratch your head in wonderment.


JRinSC said...

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving way down there!

Dave Rider said...

Hi Julian,

Thanks. We had a relatively quiet one. I'm working on a post of events leading up to that.

Hope you had a good one too.