Monday, May 23, 2005

Free Trial = Tribulation

Hi All!

Hopefully I am preaching to the converted, but for those who are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the ass masses (self included) I caution you to take exceptional care when confronting internet offers of "Free" and "Free Trial."

To keep this pithy, I will only offer an example of "Free Trial".

In-Laws are out of town which offers me opportunity to "tune up" their old rig.

They have been using a relative's education contact to use TIES.

TIES is a fine property-exempt squatter on prime Falcon Heights real estate on Larpenteur and Snelling -- the old big-time taxpaying Harvest States property.

TIES as an ISP was below market rate for a few years, (99.00 per year) but now there are other dial-ups as cheap or cheaper. Are they better?

I set out to learn. Started with "Enhanced" Netscape at 9.95 per 1/12 year with "accelerator".

Installed and benchmarked, it was truly not much better, even with Firefox vs. Explorer. How dial-up still exists is beyond my comprehending. Can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. (good grace, did I really have to resort to that old writer's bromide?)

Of course, when the 1200 baud modems started coming out in the late '70s no one could believe how 300 baud could hang on. But it did, until the 2400 baud generation vaulted the telecommunications world from 300/1200 to 300/1200/2400. Another long story. Pithy, Wog, pithy!

You can't cancel your 30-day "Free Trial" without calling or faxing. Not possible over internet.

Red Flag.

But they advertise on National TV!

Okay, I'm game.

Called proper number and got forwarded straight to India (I know because I make it a point to aks).

Long and short of it is that these poor souls who spent years of their lives learning computer support skills and every regional dialect of American English have to work the phones in the middle of the night trying to help masses of asses. Can you imagine support calls from Mussel Shoals? Ely? Ypsilanti? Da Bronx? South Minneapolis?

Worst of all, "Benanav", er, "Merriam" Park? No worries, that is the land of Libs with day-job free broadband and wildflower gardens. Wasn't like that when I "grew up" there but tempts many a story which I shall endeavor to parcel out for returning readers.

The "Flower Pot Gang" can't speak Common Sense, let alone "American English". Perhaps we need to float a neighborhood grant proposal to encourage basic communication skills for dealing with ESL sufferers.

If the randy "Smile'n Jay" can get $50K for solar panels to "cool?" Izzy's Ice Cream store, there's hope abundant for such worthy causes. "Global Warming Begets Local Cooling" reads the potential headline and you heard it here first!

These poor outsourcers must be living under the threat of being floated down the Ganges in a burning barge if they don't convince the distant dumbass Netscape tire-kicker to stay in the fold.

Their scripted politeness and earnestness wobbles when you start to slowly talk them out of it with words they can understand and intelligence they can appreciate.

It does somehow break down the barriers, but their is always the palpable guardedness of wasting time on impromptu human conversation.

But in the end they are no help at all.

I have been offered every financial incentive and technical fix that I already know about. I will prevail, but they have my credit card number and the answer to my secret question, as well as knowing where I live.

Lastly, they said I could cancel, but the 30-day "Trial" seems contingent on continuing the service.

Next lesson. Don't just click on "Agree" on those generic CYA installation screens.

This blog will only touch on technical matters for variety. Like Foto Funnies and Lyrical Interludes.

I feel that I just cheated Death again today, so I will try to put a post together that won't drive too many readers away.

I'm here posting this techno-drivel so I must still be alive. Funny way to celebrate, I know.


Postscript: I just got off the phone with "Roy" It wasn't easy to extract myself from the Netscape Free Trial (boy they got the "trial" part right.

As Roy was reading the ABC's of why I couldn't and shouldn't try to leave Netscape as a sane, sentient being, I interrupted him with alternative proof by crack'n wise about how I well understood his fate of being floated down the Ganges on a burning barge should he lose a valued tire kicker. And I thought mortage brokers are persistent!

"Listen politely and return to script." So it unfortunately goes.



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11:06 AM  

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