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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Shiny new Sony--Activation hell.

I had a new Sony Vaio notebook computer waiting for me when I got back tot he office on Wednesday. It is beautiful, fast, and sleek. It weighs only 2.7 pounds and is comletely silent. It has no hard drive. It's filled with flash memory, so there is a setting that I'll get to eventually that is an "instant on" setting like my cell phone has. This will definitely be cool!

I've spent the last hour and a half trying to get my Sprint service connected to it so I can access the internet through the cell towers via EVDO. First, followed the instructions on the Vaio to activate the service, but it didn't like something I provided and told me to call to activate. When I called, I was on hold for a while and then got cut off. Called again, this time I was told that to set up my MS discount rate I had to be transferred to the corporate line. After the transfer, I was told that I couldn't set up my computer with my MS employee discount rate because I was talking to Sony, not to Sprint. They gave me a number at Sprint to call. It took two tries at Sprint. The first time, they took down my information, put me on hold and proceeded to cut me off after waiting about five minutes. Called back and got a very helpful fellow who took down all the information and then came back on line after a seven minute hold and told me he couldn't activate the computer because he was a phone person, so I needed to look up the number for computer activation because he didn't have it. Thanks a lot. I called Sony back and this time was told there would be about a fifteen minute wait to get a representative. Sure enough, after listening to their terrible music for fifteen minutes, the phone clicked as if someone was picking it up and then went dead. I was cut off again! So I called back and got another wait message during the music that came on every minute to remind me that my call was important and would be answered by the next available representative. After 8 minutes, it was transferred to another wait line where I was told the wait would be about three minutes. After nearly five minutes, a live person picked up the phone. By this time I was desperate to get this done and had the whole thing registered in my own name at my own address which went well enough, since the special price for a two-year contract is the same as the MS discount rate, until they needed to do a credit check which was okay, but a credit person had to ask me "questions that only you would know" to verify that I was who I said I was. They included things like when I got my mortgage, how much it cost, and who it was through. Well, my SWAGs seemed to be satisfactory and I was approved. So, we go through the process of activating and I have to type in various activation numbers and sure enough the thing comes back and says I am now on-line. Hooray. Then the nice, helpful woman at Sony (why did she ask if I was activating a Sony or a Dell?) concluded our conversation with the words, please leave your computer turned on for four hours while it provisions. WTF? I want to go home at a reasonable time this evening and four hours is going to be 6:00! I'll have to carry it home open and assume that it doesn't hibernate somewhere along the line. If it does, I'm just going to close it and start over at home.

*Edit* Since I have my new shiny Sprint service, I no longer need my Cingular/AT&T account, since that computer has been rendered up for future use by someone else. So I called "The New AT&T" to cancel the account and got the same old Cingular lack of service. First, I was on hold for only ten minutes when a helpful young woman came on and looked up my account information. She asked if I had anyone I could transfer the service to in order to avoid the early termination fee. Early termination? I've had this service for over two years and it was only a one year contract. According to your records your contract expirs on the 23rd of this month. So how much would it cost to terminate 19 days early? $120. Thank you for not being helpful. I'll call back and wait on hold on the 23rd. Is there any other way I can help you today? Please let someone know how ridiculous this is. Good bye.

In other news, I leave for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas tomorrow. Classes start Sunday morning and I've got booth duty Monday afternoon, Wednesday, and Thursday. I'll be going to classes and trying to find out everything there is to see in the 1.5 million square feet of trade show floor-space and 160,000 people who "are important for me to meet," according to the news bulletin I got from CES. It promises to be an exhausting week, so I'm going to start it right by going to a show Saturday night (Crazy Horse at the MGM). Aside from that it is just work work work all week and come back next Friday.

I'll be asking a question and anyone out there who has a smartphone (defined as a phone that does e-mail and internet access, not just phone and SMS) can feel free to give me your answers in a comment here as well. When you got your new smartphone, what were the most important questions you needed to get answered right away, and where did you find the answer?
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Should they even be asking your personal information-- like mortgage? Seems almost like intrusive privacy invasion to me...