Saturday, December 21, 2013

Wherein My Cable Company Does Me A Favor, Sorta

The cable company did me a favor yesterday and turned off my cable service.

Now don't get me wrong, we don't get cable TV. Cable service is the only practical way we have of getting Intertunnel access 'round here. It's not bad, exactly; but it ain't good, either. It cost rather a lot, if you ask me, because they're endlessly trying to get us to sign up for their bundled TV service, and it's only a few dollars more than the wire and the modem we get from them. I don't think you're paying full freight for those two hundred channels of Dancing With Honey Boo Boo's Bachelorette Fringe Mentalist: Special Victims Unit -- I think I'm paying for them, and you're all watching them. I still think I got the better part of that deal, however. The clerks at the cable place are endlessly fascinated with my wife's obduracy in this regard. How could you go five minutes without TV? Are you deranged?

Well, yes, we are deranged, but what's that got to do with it?  Five minutes without TV is just fine, thanks, and we'd like to follow it up with another five minutes, and another, ad infinitum. But five minutes without Intertunnel access is a form of death sentence for us. We rely on it big time.

When I logged on yesterday, early, I got a bizarre message, purportedly from Time Warner Cable. It was a warning that a computer that was using my modem was infected with some form of the Zeus Trojan virus. It directed me to press a link at the bottom of the page to fix it. There was a problem. I didn't believe the thing I was looking could possibly be legit. It had the font choice, layout, grammar, and syntax of a letter to the editor from someone that wore a hockey helmet and licked the window on the bus to grammar school, published in Highlights Magazine. I wish I took a screen capture of it, because I can't really do it justice by describing it. It had yellow, blue, and red letters mixed in with black text. It was more absurd looking than a 1040 form.

I tried to ascertain if it was legit, but my Internet service was deader than disco, of course, so, how could I figure it out? We don't have a landline phone, either. They're always trying to sell us that to go along with How Gilligan Met Your Mother The Survivor On Hawaii Five-O.  So I had to call the cable company on my cell phone. If the acoustics of the room and the demeanor of the people in it are any indication, Time Warner's customer service is being subcontracted out to someone straining on the pot in a public men's room in Bedlam.

So it turns out, the message was legit, which I had long since figured out, but still couldn't believe. I got a lecture I didn't need from a series of people that undoubtedly sat in the back row in high school and didn't raise their hands much about Intertunnel security, along with a helpful suggestion that I download some of their fine McAfee software. The man on the phone pronounced it Mack AFF ee, between wipes, I think, so I knew he was really tuned in to Intertunnel security. I asked him if I should kill someone in Belize to restore my service, but he didn't get the joke. He turned the Intertunnel back on for me rather than talk to me any more. I got cracking.

Let me go on record here, and stick my neck out a bit, just blue-skying, really, pants in the breeze: I don't think you want the Zeus Trojan Virus on your computer. Now, I don't know you all that well; maybe you'd like it. You might like TV, so anything's possible. So maybe you'd like downloading six separate virus utilities, all of which look exactly like another virus to my eye, and running them all, some two or three times, on six different computers, each one coming up clean, until you finally find out that Russian mobsters have install a rootkit, and have keystroke copying capability, on your ten year old son's ancient,Vista-hobbled rattletrap computer.

Tovarisch, if you're listening, I hope you're getting rich selling all his Minecraft logins, but I am beset by doubts.


Casey Klahn said...

You understand the internet better than 95% of the world, so rock on, Sipp. I am certain to have 99% of all of the worms available to have, and now especially that I have switched to Mac, which is "worm-proof."

You get my logic, I'm sure. Please continue with your blogging.

Anonymous said...

I am 63 yrs old and have NEVER owned a tv.
People tell me they have 350 channels and 'there's nothing good on'.
I always wonder why they dont turn the thing off and go do something real. Sometimes it helps to remember that 50% of the population is below average


leelu said...

I've been using Avast anti-virus for a number of years, and have been quite happy with it. Oh, and it's free. Also Spybot Search & Destroy for other malware and tracking crap. Also free.

How's the house lifting coming along? Mid-February, in time for my birthday, maybe??


Thud said...

There is some good tv and I do like to watch when opportunity presents but life tends to get in the way too much to be able to follow anything on a weekly basis.

Rob De Witt said...

Like anon above, I'm 68 last I looked, and I've actually had a television 3 times, the first when I had a 3-year-old (bad idea) and the last time twenty years ago. Being in the same room with a teevy raises my blood pressure while lowering my IQ, which I can obviously ill afford.

And FWIW, anybody I've ever met who pronounced it MackAFFee was a presumptuous twit with a coffee-driven personality and the problem-solving potential of a snail.

But that's just me, probably.

Anonymous said...

Rob, ...errum... I have this wife, ya see, and she's always telling me what I'm doing is wrong, doesn't much matter what it is, and leaves it up to me to find the right way which nobody seems to know because she says the same thing when I do it another way. Anyway, Rob, before my next cup, how do you pronounce it?

Anonymous said...

ainchu sposed to say mac ah fee?

keep up the good words, Sippi. more on the basement lifting

Anonymous said...


So there you are, basking in pre-solstice Maine with partially attired women of questionable morals excited at your appearance.

And you natter on about Trojans and whatnot. Get a grip man!

Anonymous said...

C Cleaner by piriform. Free and run it every time i log off. Same with MRU Blaster. Some adblocker I can't recall or find, also free.
I DO get Norton for 3 computers and run it on all.
I never never NEVER have any problems and I run IE on Vista a LOT


BJM said...

>Anyway, Rob, before my next cup, how do you pronounce it?


I run Kaspersky, figger I'll just cutout the middlemen.

John The River said...

I bought my own cable modem, after seven years its now time to buy an upgrade. I figure that if I had rented the modem from Comcast I would have paid for it ten times over.

Comcast has upgraded their service and support Docsis 3.0. I helped a friend install a new wifi router and ran some tests that showed the new router (Docsis 3 capable) increased his speed remarkably.

My other trials with Comcast have not gone so well.

By getting Basic TV (not Standard) I was, in the end, getting a overall lower price than the Data package by itself, but Comcast wasn't happy with that.