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BellAtlantic ADSL absurdity 136

Aleks writes " has an absurd story about BellAtlantic ADSL and its non-sensical policy about supporting only Windows machines (and only iMac). If you wanna see an excercise in human innanity and corporate logic, read it at here " It pained me to read this. I can't fathom the world we live in sometimes. Anyway this is amusing enough to read, but you might suffer sympathy frusteration.
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BellAtlantic ADSL absurdity

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  • 0.) Setup a decoy 95 machine.
    1.) Get the goobers to come out to your place and set the line/modem up
    2.) Once they leave, you're free to reverse engineer the hardware and write a linux driver.

    ----------------- ------------ ---- --- - - - -
  • Ahh, bad old Bell Titanic, the Microsoft of the telecommunications industry.

    If Bell Atlantic is indeed "the heart of communication" as they say in their commercials, they desperately need a bypass operation.

  • by Jordy ( 440 )
    This is why you don't use Bell Atlantic as your ISP, you use them as your ADSL connection and then get a real ISP.

    Bells and Cable companies make lousy ISPs.
  • one is NOT assured of a minimum connection rate.

    Many times, I suspect my cable connections approximate POTs and a 56K modem! Nonetheless, in total net costs, cable is cheaper than that option. I was paying $20/month to the ISP, but Bell Atlantic had these 1000 or more local units that had to be 90% or more due to the internet connections. That's over $80 a month for lousy 28.8K connections (with a 56K modem), hence, it might be a bit cheaper with "true" 56K POTs rates but never less than the flat $40 for cable.

    Regarding, ADSL - I pass no matter what the price. Someday there will be true DSL from some source with reasonable tech support (absent from the @home, so far).
  • Bell Atlantic gave the impression that they could not work with anything but Windows PCs and iMacs. The only way that the poor guy could find out that 'not supported' only meant 'not something our technicians can deal with' would be to ask the question. Seems to be that the guy did have a clue and knew enough to know Bell Atlantic wasn't giving him the straight deal.

  • Posted by libtech:

    The run around this guy is getting from BA really isnt that surprising. The vast majority of people who work at companies such as this (including the tech support ppl) really have little more than a basic knowledge of what they are required to talk about. Not to say everyone at BA is computer illiterate. Just most of them. Having worked in the past at small scale computer mfg. co's ive seen this first hand.
    Service Mng. == knows his way around a system just cant explain why or how.
    Production Mng. == no better. just knows other things.
    Upper Managment == Great and administration. poor at accepting some customers know more than their staff. Wont make policy they dont understand cause they are afraid of what could possibly happen.

    Its a shame.... but I expect this sort of technical ineptness when dealing with such companies.
  • Posted by abbe:

    I just want to say that most big companies seem to have this big trouble.

    I myself haven't been dealing with them too much, but what I've heard of big corporations (in Sweden that is) they have this "we know everything about this, you are too ignorant to have a clue, so don't even try"-attitude, and if you confront them they throw themselves behind the barricades of policy's and other good-for-nothing-rules.

    One has to wonder if they have ever heard that satisfied customers return...doesn't seem like they have that on theyr agenda.

  • Why would they want your Mac Address?

    Do they configure the ADSL router so it will only work with YOUR machine (to keep people from putting in more than one machine?)

    What happens when you buy a new ethernet card or whatever?

    Would this allow them to track me closer than they currently could?

  • He should just put a sticker on his machine that says "iMac", and forcefully insist that it actually is an iMac, even when the installation techs tell him it isn't.
  • they just concider it "workstation" as opposed
    to PC(nt) or mac. its how they handle any system
    of which they dont know what it is. your expected
    to handle your end.
  • This is not very funny. Im seeing this more and more. I used to have a Linux box set up with a ISDN to the internet that I would use as a gateway for my Linux/windoze box and my wifes windoze box. Well I got a cable modem from Charter Cable and Earthlink. Now I have to use a windoze computer with wingate to get on the internet from my Linux computers. And let me tell you I am bummed.
  • When I got US West ASDL they told me "We Support iMacs, that's what you have?" I said "no, but I'm sure it'll work. "They transfered me to someone that knew something and all they wanted to know is did I have Open Transport and a newish OS (8.5 beta in my case). The kit even had one of thos funky AAUI-15 Adapters for Ethernet.

    Took me 20 minutes to hook it all up myself.
  • I think Apple struck a deal with Bell Atlantic to only support the iMac, at least in the early stages. Kind of like how MS bought out ISP's Netscape contracts then paid them to use IE instead.

    "Oh, you want to use this new ADSL? Well even though you just bough a new PPC, we only support the iMac. You'll have to go buy one of those now."
  • by dcp ( 1250 )
    I'm currently subscribed to Cincinnati Bells ADSL service. Were having our own troubles with the phone company. Service isn't usually a monopolies strong point.

    When I talked to the installers they said the macs were the easiest installs they had. Most of the problems are from CBT having inept technicians, and no regard for customers (ADSL reconfig from 3-7 pm)

    Linux is, of course, is unsupported, but the webserver for the internal page is running on Linux. I had linux up and running much easier than windows.

    The only reason phone co's are rolling out ADSL is because of the threat from cable modems.

    The speed is addictive though.

  • Hey, smart guy: do you know that your ISP's connection to the backbone works just like your Ethernet? The more users you have connected, the slower it becomes. But you know what else? When they get more customers, they ADD MORE CAPACITY! DUH!

    My cable company has a guaranteed level of service - if they can't meet the guarantee, then they subnet the local neighbourhood (or whatever they call it) until the amount of traffic is what they can handle and still provide the required level.

  • This sucks! Here I live in the Bay Area, and I get 384/384 DSL for $189 a month!! Why is it so expensive here?

    On the other hand, they just give us a router, and don't care what kind of computers we are running, OS or hardware, whatever. We pretty much just plug into the hub and get assigned an IP address via DHCP and viola! I don't know why they would care what hardware/OD you are using... I just never call them up with Linux questions, I figure it out myself, or ask for help in different places...

  • I used to work for AT&T Worldnet Service as a tech support guy, and I had some real problems with support boundaries (that's part of the reason I don't work there anymore). For instance, our company would provide software to customers so they can setup the service on a WinCE system, but we didn't support it. Nor did we support MacOS 8.0 even though our entire Mac support department knew how to support it and tried explaining that it really isn't much different than MacOS 7.x something or other. Bah... it's all scripted and pounded into your head and the techs really don't know much more than what they're told (except for some rare few like myself who would support anything). It's really sad, almost all tech support drones are just that... drones, reading scripts and never deviating from them.
  • Blah. Same thing as ISP's supporting Windows only. Who really cares what they "support"? Everyone's CAN do PPP to any ISP that supports PPP, and that's what matters. If the poster was more clueful, they'd just go "Yeah ok, I got an Pentium, just drop me the RJ-45 ethernet, and here's MAC address of the card". I personally know people who are using BA ADSL with linux without any problems. Not to say that the BA isn't clueless...They are.

    So, we have identified 3 clueless people: User (Steve Godun), BA rep, and CmdrTaco who posts stories like that without thinking who's more at fault, BA or user.

  • Do you guys have any idea of what a leased line costs? A 56K line is almost $400/month, 256K can cost up to $1200.

    I'd dance a jig if I could get the high-end ADSL setup going for $200/month.

  • When I applied for my ADSL service with Uswest I was told they only suport Windoze and *some* Macs. When I told them I wanted to run it on my linux box.. they said and I quote "Oh!.. Your one of those.." and then continued on to say that they can't provide me with the service.
    I told them alright I'll install windows. The service guy came over a few weeks later. Configured my line, dicked around with my 'puter (I dual booted a tiny Win95 partition) and when he left I rebooted into linux and configured it myself. Works like a charm.

  • by quadra ( 2289 )
    I'm not sure what USWest's DSL support policy is.. but i simply let them install it on my Windoze machine.. and promptly plugged it into my Linux system when they left. Works great.
  • Agreed, much better than several of the phone-based ISPs I've had.
  • I have the filtered ethernet connection from my ADSL bridge (router with the routing turned off) coupled with a simple crossover cable connecting into a simple workgroup hub. Works great.

    Ignore what the retards at your local telco tell you, and just tell them you have Windows 95. In reality, you can hook anything with an IP address (including a real router) up to that bridge.
  • Why hide the box? I had both systems sitting on the desk, and had to help the "techie" setup the ethernet card in the win95 box, since I had 2 ether cards in it. Moved it to linux right after they left, and never looked back. Now, if only I hadn't had to move out of that town. :(

    Are all mac users this slow? I had to do this with my Linux box and the @home service. Sure they dina know jack about Linux. I hid the box in the closet , and put a win95 box on my desk. They came. Did their thing(4 hours) and left. Out went the 95 box , in went the Linux box. Done and done..
  • Yeah, I got the same flack from Ameritech when I told them I wanted an ADSL line for my Linux box.

    Them: "Oh, no. Windows95/98 are the only supported OS's."

    Me: "Huh? Why is that?"

    Them: "Well, that's just the way it is".

    Actually, it turns out they use a really lame ATM card, so the lack of Linux drivers for it actually *is* a stepping-stone I can't seem to get over.

    Luckily, TCI offers cable modems now, and so I'll just go with them... leaving me in the strange state of getting cable service from Ameritech (via Americast, which I highly recommend) and Internet connectivity via TCI (whose cable services I always hated).

    Strange world.
  • I love the way some /.ers can put a spin on this to make it looks like Apple's fault. If you haven't noticed, Apple as of late has been sinking it's money into high profile marketing and the advancement of it's systems. It's seems VERY unlikey to me that they'd do something so underhanded and risky considering that BA doesn't even serve a vast part of the US.
  • I'm sure Apple has the time and energy to bother with crap like that.

    Apple would much rather you buy a spanking new PPC box instead of an iMac, there's a lot more profit to be had in one of those.
  • What's all this about DSL?

    When Shaw Cable (Toronto, Canada) tried to balk at my use of OS/2 and Linux, I merely told them that I wouldn't ask for support. They gladly installed, waived all installation fees, the cable-modem appears to be free (been a year now), as is the ethernet card (two actually, I didn't like the original cheapo 3-Com), and it's $39.95/mo CDN. I immediately hit a download high of 150M/s from Netscape (4.05, 12MB) since their bastardized Netscape 3.0 for Win was useless to me.
  • If your computer is using Open Transport (OT) 1.1
    1. Open the AppleTalk control panel.
    2. Go to the Edit menu and select User Mode.
    3. Select the Advanced radio button and click OK.
    4. Click Info.
    5. The hardware address is displayed in the AppleTalk Info window.
  • In fact, the iMac runs the same basic OS as any other high end Mac. The control panels are exactly the same, and if one were to open the "AppleTalk" control panel on any OS 8.1 Mac there is an "info" option either under file or in plain site. After opening "get info" the hardware address is right there ta bite ya. It is virtually the same on ANY machine running OS 8.1!
  • ADSL is the kind of thing I'd consider getting. Sure, it's kinda pokey, and even though BA claims to offer speeds up to 7Mbps/second, once it hits them, I'd be lucky to see 128Kbps. But compared to their highest-in-the-galaxy ISDN rates ($240 a month for unlimited local usage?!), it's damn cheap. And since the box hooks up via ethernet, it's probably really easy to do IPmasq and whatnot. Maybe next year.
  • I feel like bitching too. I live in a spot where there is no DSL in Southern Claifornia. Only thing is... If I drive 2 miles west there is DSL. If I drive 2 miles east there is DSL. If I drive 2 miles north ther is DSL. South are hills and then the ocean so that doesn't count.

    Pretty lame huh?
  • Those of you saying "borrow an iMac or 95 machine" are missing the point. You can swap out your "approved" OS/machine for your prefferred one and bask in the glory of having fooled Bell Atlantic, but that doesn't solve the problem.

    Bell Atlantic is giving their on-site techs a script, telling them to follow that script, and punt if anything deviates from that script. I've seen this mentality before: "Our trained-chimp techs know more than you, because they work for us."

    If you want that to change, you must stand up to Bell Atlantic. If you can't use your non-Intel, non-iMac hardware, your non-Windows, non-MacOS8 operating system, your non-3Com ethernet card, take your business elsewhere. If enough people tell them this upfront, they'll get the message that they can't run a public service like a heavy-handed internal IT department.
  • I'm a WAVE@HOME cablemodem subscriber right now,
    and I can tell you that it's not only about technical support. See, these big companies don't consider the end-user the customer. The end-user is the *product* to sell advertising to.

    The system requirements listed on the page aren't the requirements for the network, they're the requirements for the proprietary client software. The CD they send you to install the "network" actually installs their proprietary client (Usually a modified NetScape) and change all your settings. Icons are replaced with their logos, etc. They expect to make their money off advertising on the things they force you to look at.

    @HOME recently bought EXCITE. AOL bought Netscape's portal. Yahoo paid IBM a shitload of money to make it the default start page on Aptivas. See where this is going? ADSL subscribers in Ottawa are forced to use a web proxy, and I'm taking bets on how long till they get a proxy that strips out banners and replaces them with home-grown advertising. They're selling the ADSL at such a profit-loss that that's the only way they'll make money in the long run.

    End users don't have money - advertisers do. What has to happen is for the government to be pressured by the people in to regulating a difference between connectivity providers and content providers.
  • I had a very similar experience with GTE/Linux (Could you spell UNIX please? said the operator). After 20 calls to GTE I found out that ordering service through an affiliated ISP was quicker and easier, and allowed a much broader range of service plans (with static IP's and no filtering for a start). The ISP I settled on is a Linux house, they understand what I want to do, they hate Windows, and they give good support. Plus there was no hassling with morons at GTE, the ISP handled all that stuff gratis.

  • Having worked tech support before, it's pretty clear to me that Bell Atlantic isn't supporting Macs other than the iMac because they don't have enough knowledge in-house to train their techs to do the installs, write docs for users, etc. This is pretty standard.

    I'm sure that if Steve didn't go off on this whole "My Mac is just like any other Mac" he could have gotten service. For example, by explaining that he's capable of handling all client-side issues and giving them the information they need, he'd probably get a response like "Great. We can't help you with problems unless you show they're on our end, but we'll hook you up." They already do stuff like that with third-party ethernet cards.

    Instead, Steve went off frothing at the mouth and tried to force them to support his machine at the same level as an iMac, because it's the exact same thing. Is it surprising that a confrontational customer is going to get blown off?
  • In Ameritech Country, deep in the heart of Michigan, ISDN is it. No xSDL. Also no Cable Modems in the heart of TCI country, either.

    I'd beg, borrow, or steal a Win95 box long enough to get the xSDL hardware set up and make your provider happy. Consider yourself lucky to even have the option, and quit whining.

    At my 128Kbits/sec, I really can't sympathize.

  • First of all, I am in CT and I pay $35/mo for cable. There is no way in hell I would pay for this lame-ass ASDL for a minimum of $60/mo!
    Whatgets me is that it is SO simple to hook up ANY Mac to such a network, it goes to show you how incompetent many of the IT companies are.

    And you just have to love this typical example of corporate drone-hood. "Uh, I can't make myself think, so I'll play it safe and just use the 'It's Policy' excuse." God-forbid people take advantage of self-empowerment....... If I were a BA exec., I'd feel sick. This is an embarassment.
  • I am sure even with an iMac, the techs are probably clueless. You should have seen the guy who showed up at my apt. a few months ago from Cablevision of CT to hook up my cable service. Took him two hours to set up my 9600. I could've done it in 20 minutes easily. ABSOLUTELY clueless about the OS. Funny thing is, after going through all the bullshit of setting up the login program, I haven't had to use it since October! So what had to be done? Plug in the cable modem. Plug in the cable. Attach the Ethernet cable to the modem and Mac. Launch Netscape. But, nooooooooo....... It would be nice to see ONE of these companies get a clue...
    Unfortunately, this guy needs to win his case. Sure, he can do whatever he wants to fool BA. But how many other people will just blindly say "Ok..." and find another service? BA needs to actually THINK in order to let ALL customers use their service.
  • The point is that BA does get the fact that all you need is a line. Steve Godun is fighting the fight for all of us. If you don't that that you are the only clueless one here.
  • The point is that BA does not get the fact that all you need is a line. Steve Godun is fighting the fight for all of us. If you don't see that, then you are the only clueless one here.

    Although I guess I too am clueless for not clicking the "Preview" button
  • I have had a much better reation from our local Cable company. (Time Warner, Austin) While they don't outright support linux, they don't say "it won't work and you can't have it". I have not ever had to call them for support, cause it just works. They even made changes to their configurations to make it EASIER for linux users to use it and even provided links (in the mailing list) to the proper 3rd party login source code.

    It took me a few hours to get mine to work in Linux, and they don't even care that my whole network is being masq'd from behind it.

    That is much better service, and BA should take some lessons from them.

  • We tried to get BA to connect ADSL to linux and failed - they aren't willing "support" it. Our
    solution was seting up a windows 95 box just for them to install on. Then we figured out the MAC and IP for the windows box and setup a linux box with the same MAC and IP. (you must get both IP and MAC correct)
  • with in Alabama...

    I got arround it by loading 95 on a spare hard disk..the old guy came out to do the install and nearly crapped his pants when he saw the computer room... (I don't have any cases on, it impedes proper cooling :) I let him do his thing, call the MAC address, tore my walls up, wired stuff in etc.. then when he left I pulled the 10 mbit isa 3com card and 500 mb ide hard drive and put my netgear 10/100 and UWSCSI/Linux back in the machine... I had already set an old 486 up as a "router" with a coupple of NICS and Caldera linux.. I use a piece of .c code off of called changemac.c to change the internet-side card's mac address to the one that the ATM/ADSL bridge was looking for and set up the DHCP client (had to get/compile the latest to support a dual homed system). Everything works GREAT.

    Just remember, these guys are mostly idiots. They don't want to do any more work than they have to. They don't want to get mired in any fiascos. I understand the need to have liunx and MAC OS and BE officially supported, but it's realiztically not going to happen anytime soon. The only thing we can do is to fight when it makes sense to fight, and bend like a reid in the wind when fighting will do no good. The phone factory is the only place more beaurocratic than the military, and they lack the command structure that the military has.
  • While it seems like a bit of a stretch, this is a legitamate way for a company to operate. They have no problem with you using whatever kind of system you want; they will only support the "common" systems, though.

    If you are running Linux (or MacOS, or DOS 2.0), I hope that you would be savvy enough to figure out your own IP information. If not...

  • My arrangement is a US West DSL to my XMission
    account here in Salt Lake City. It took US West
    several months to get it running, and they said
    they had to do some work on the grounding of the
    cables in my neighborhood, but now everything
    works great. I pay US West $40.35/month over
    and above my regular phone service, and I pay
    XMission for the account. I get one static IP
    address and an Ethernet port, which is plugged
    into my 10BaseT hub. There was a funny conversation
    when I placed the order about "what
    kind of PC do you have?" "Sun SPARCstation" etc.
    and the order taker ended up checking "other"
    on all the boxes.
  • I'm using Linux with BellAtlantic ADSL right now.

    They claim to support only Windows, but they don't use DHCP or anything goofy like that. All that it *really* means is that their techs will only know how to make it work for Windows.

    During the install, while debugging problems, we even used Linux to debug problems that were hard to figure out under Windows (like whether a particular ethernet problem was a hardware problem or a Windows driver problem).
  • Well, you know, them "Macintoshes" are pretty weird, compared to PCs. They probably had to wait until Apple made a cute and cuddly-looking one (the iMac) so the trained tech chimps wouldn't get scared and fling their feces at it.

    *rolls eyes*

    Maybe someone should buy a "lime" iMac, and give it great big googly eyes and sharp teeth sticking out of the CD-ROM drive. That'll teach 'em...

    Jay (=
  • I have heard that most versions of MacOS and Open Transport do not implement DHCP in the standard way. I was given the example that MacOS, when shut down and restarted, attempts to grab the address it had during the previous session. And I have heard that it does numerous other sloppy and un-standard things that make DHCP servers unhappy and can lead to address conflicts.

    This all was related to me by a M$ guru at my place of employ. (I know that is an oxymoron)

    But I tend to believe what he says because of several corporate networks I know of that still assign all Macs static IP addresses, even though they are capable of using DHCP.

    This *could* be a reason Bell Atlantic is not supporting Macs other than the iMac. They know that the iMac will be running at least System 8, and a modern implementation of Open Transport.

    I'd suggest to the poor guy that he buy the ADSL service from the Telco and get his Internet from another ISP.

    - Jon

    PS. I love Macs. I've owned several.
  • This is all the fault of a higher-up decision. Yes, getting the address is easy - if you know what you're doing. The 'techs' barely knew what a Mac was; nobody bothered to train them on anything other than PCs. BA wasn't about to assume the liability of sending them out into the field and make a real mess of things. The solution: lie. Tell them what they want to hear. The author could quite evidently set this thing up himself. Assure the installer onsite that it'll be your secret, you'll assume full responsibility, etc. He gets paid either way, and remind him of that. Of course, this assumes that *you* know what you're doing... :)
  • Not only was his service bad, but the prices for BA aDSL seem shitty too.

    At least in US West land you can order aDSL with a "self install" option. No telephone person will mess with your computer or even ask what it is. They didn't care that I have multiple Linux machines going through my connection.

  • I believe that they charge about $40 for the circuit and another $20 for the service. This puts it somewhat on par with outside offerings if you consider the ADSL line like a second phone line.
  • This is the best suggestion yet. Who could doubt that the Jedi mind trick would work on a phone tech? In fact, if Steve's forceful enough, the tech will probably refuse service on future iMacs because they don't look like the iMac he serviced this morning.
  • You have to be kidding me.. Around here (omaha) when nightfall hits and it's net primetime, I'd LOVE to see a single cable modem subscriber get even 20k/sec.

    1) With DSL, you don't share bandwidth with your neighbor. You share a pipe at your ISP.

    2) With DSL, you don't have to worry about your neighbor running promiscious (sp) and grabbing all your emails and outgoing port 80 request, etc.

    Serious, I'd pay twice as much for ADSL than cable.. Even 128k..

  • The point is you shouldn't have to go through this song and dance. You should just be able to have them come out and install the thing. Sure they can tell you that they only support iMacs or 'doze machines, BUT if you want to run your own combination of hardware/os you can, but if something breaks, it's your problem, not theirs. Not a huge problem since most Linux geeks know enough to fix a problem themselves, and the whole mac issue is just plain stupid. "Your computer isn't fast enough even though it has 2x the cpu 11x the memory and god only knows what x the disk space of the supported computer" BA get a clue. What shocks me is my cable company (adelphia) actually has a linux driver for their internal cable-modem / pots-modem hybrid setup. It's nice to see that even though they are complete morons they atleast know that 'doze isn't the only OS on the planet.
  • GTE basically supports MS, but they show you the options. On their DSL web page [], they list particpating ISPs.

    Choose one that support the Macintosh.

  • Principal: Don't ask if the answer may complicate your life!

    If you don't use an Intel machine you are stuffed. If you do use one, but don't use Windows, there may be no problem. If you have one of those 95/98 disks the supplier won't refund you just tell the ADSL operator:
    Yes, I have a Pentium
    Yes, I have lots of RAM, and disk
    Yes, I have a LAN card
    Yes, I have Windoze 95
    Just don't tell them that these are not all used together.

    When the installer arrives tell them any LAN card details they need. Then tell them which shelf to stand the modem on, and to clear off. Then you just set up the networking yourself. Setting up is a procedure you would need to know, even if you are using Windows. After all, you will need to set it up after each Windows re-install.
  • When the ISP adds more users they add more capacity? Wow, I want an ISP like that. Most just let things slow down, until the subscribers start quitting.

    Its easy to add capacity in the backbone - you just add $$$. Adding capacity in the cable tree is much messier, and can require major time-consuming rewiring - i.e. it doesn't get done.

    "Guaranteed" quality of service agreements normally have words about "best efforts" and such like - i.e. they are no guarantee of anything. You can't guarantee megabits per second, 24 hours a day for $60 a month, unless you are a very rich charity.
  • Support hotline:

    A form of telephone service where those answering the phone have read one more page of the relevant documentation that those who call. See also "unhelpful", "pointless", "frustrating", "desparate", "last resort".
  • This is true in atlanta too where Bellsouth offers ADSL service. They support only intel machines with Windoze or macs with macos. They refused to give me service when I said I ran Linux.

    Back to dual boot.... :)
  • Plus, the BA rep told him that if he lied about what kind of machine he had, when the tech showed up to install, the tech wouldn't touch it & he'd get charged for the visit.

    "If you have a Pentium machine that you want to put DSL on than we can proceed with the order. I just want you to know that if you say that's why you have, but when the tech comes out and you have a Power Mac he will not install the equipment, but you will be charged for the visit."

    Remember that? Sure the same thing would have happened if he lied about having an iMac, because it goes against "policy".

    - - - - - -
    Member in Good Standing,

  • That's pigs you're thinking about. And singing.

    Never try to teach a pig to sing: it only wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    BTW: I've never had any problems teaching cows to dance. In fact, not only are they fast learners, but they're actually really good at it.

    - - - - - -
    Member in Good Standing,

  • This is hardly unusual and is a perfect thesis of the neolithic corporate philosophy of the RBOCs. I've known RBOC personnel pretty well and the notion of change of any sort of entrenched corporate policy is embedded in layers of management hierarchy that inherently prevents swift customer service resolution issues. On the front lines, CSRs are just as easily plucked from any sampling of people waiting at a bus stop. "Training" is limited to CSR manuals that are not easily digested; in any case, proficient CSRs are very very hard to come by in any organization.

    The frustrated BA customer here is going to have move much further up the managerial food chain than a front-line supervisor to get any real action. Having done tech. support, it *is* impossible to support every variety of hardware out there, but a pure 10Base-T connection eliminates the need to exclude any platform. Management that's still clueless about this formed the policy and it must be altered at a higher, more clueful strata. Give customers the right to accept a policy that their platform *can't* be supported, but that they can still get the service and will deal with support issues themselves.
  • Amazingly enough, since I generally detest the company we love to call US Worst, the Megabit offer is a good deal. I keep waiting for them to wake up and kill it off. (Just kidding, it's a tariffed service and they can't do that.)

    What is interesting is that they started offering this *after* snuffing out any possibility of colocation by CLECs in their COs (remember that picture of the empty cage at a US West facility on the front cover of DataComm a while back?!), and then several false starts. "No really, this time we *really* mean it!" And then amazingly enough, the systemwide rollout actually seems to be happening.

    I ordered in early December. I called the op center and they checked my line quality while I waited. It passed (it better, I'm five blocks from the downtown Portland switch and the US West business office is right across the street from mine). They scheduled me for service on January 4.

    I received a box with the current offer -- the free Cisco 675 and a 3c590 (which I promptly gave to a friend, I think the 590s are dogs). The 675 is a relabeled Netrunner 204 with supposedly a better power supply. I hooked everything up.

    The installer showed up exactly as promised on January 4. That alone is a close enough to a miracle. He didn't have much to do, though he checked the line quality again. Mostly I wanted to pump him for information about technical issues at the switch. I didn't learn much, just that the voice band is stripped off and put into the usual POTS side at the switch, and the data stuff goes off into an ATM cloud.

    I have the 675 plugged into a Linksys 4 port hub, with my three systems connected to Linksys Fast Ethernet cards (use the Tulip driver for Linux).

    It all Just Works. Life is good.

    I'm even willing to grant US Worst a little slack now. But just a little, since at the same time they are pushing a really nasty plan in the Oregon legislature to reverse a regulatory judgment requiring $150 million in consumer refunds in exchange for about $10 million in rural capacity expansion.

    You certainly learn how fast the Web *really* goes when you're on a 256K line. Local sites and ones close to the big pipes max out my line, but the average is much lower, particularly on peak which goes from about 5 to 11 pm.

    The slow sites have the usual signs of lossage due to the usual poor choices of OS and web server. /. of course is quite speedy.

    PacBell's finally thrown in the towel and their current offer is about the same as US West. Frankly, I can't justify the extra $40 a month for home use, but it doesn't make sense *not* to do it for my office.

  • According to Bell A, I was supposed to be cruising
    at 640k/s in early fall 98, then late fall 98, now
    "possibly" this month or next. What the hell?
    They're such a bunch of jokers....
  • If Bell Atlantic is anything like PacBell, ther differences between cable modem for $40/month and DSL for $60/month are this:

    1. DSL service agreement does not prohibit the running of servers. AtHome, MediaOne, and RoadRunner (not sure about RR) strictly prohibit the running of servers (httpd, ftpd, BIND, smtp, etc.).

    2. DSL service ususally comes with a static IP address. AtHome and MediaOne use DHCP.

  • maybe it is a plot to get people to install Windows and prevent any license refund
  • ADSL here in Edmonton, Alberta costs $49.95 CDN a month and it's currently 1.5MB downstream and 640K up. I just can't believe the pricing on that page
  • With BellSouth, if you want to switch machines, you just call'em up and give'em the new MAC addy. They'll switch it. Pal in my building initially had his hooked up to a Mac, then once he was satisfied it was working ok and had a Linux box set up with dual ethernet cards and IP masquerading going, called'em up and gave'em a diff addy - and he's good to go.

    Here they also supposedly cycle IPs every 12 hours, though they haven't done it on that schedule yet to my knowledge... we've had IPs last days at least before. Reasoning is to keep folks from running permanent servers... too bad killed that handy little service of theirs.
  • It *is* frustrating that there is no official way to read a macintosh motherboard ethernet's MAC address without having the machine already on a network. On many Windows machine, that isn't an issue.

    Granted, you can connect the mac up to a hub, and then read the MAC address from the either the Appletalk or TCP/IP control panels. But you've got to have that hub first.

    Apple even has a program called "Apple LAN Utility 1.0b4" which supposedly can read the MAC address on macs that aren't connect to an ethernet network. The problem is that it doesn't support all models, and hangs the machine more than half the time. They need to update that utility. Apple could remedy this.

    I don't like BA's approach (customer service, as well as 'one computer' per ADSL connection), but they have a point about non-iMacs being somewhat harder to support when it comes to the MAC address. I doubt they would issue hubs to all the service techs doing installs just to take care of this problem.

    Of course, if you already know the MAC address of your mac, or you have a hub, they shouldn't just leave and charge you for the visit either.

  • That's a sage and sensible policy, until somebody comes along and craters their subnet by running a WhineDoze NT DHCP server on it. Happened to my cable modem service once for about a day and a half!
    They gave me my Static IP to use until they resolved it. When they found the guy, they basically told him not to do it again, and that he'd get permanently bounced if he did.
  • Hmm, I'm not sure I'd bother getting a POTS line just to test for ADSL. I talked to a software techie from BellSouth today (I can't personally vouch for his being a techie, but one of my coworkers referred me to him, so I think he is, he talked a good game anyway), to ask him why they say I can't have ADSL and when I might be able to get it.

    He said that the issue is that BellSouth's current ADSL scheme relies on the presence of copper from wall jack to switch. If fiber intervenes (i.e., if some portion of the line has been upgraded recently), it won't work. It seems unlikely to me that by getting a new POTS jack installed, they'll install fiber that wasn't there before. But, then again, what do I know about telephones?

    The good news is that he claimed they were working on a new type of service and they'd have ADSL service for all customers, even those "served by fiber" (his words) by late Q2.

    I know nothing about telephone hardware and switching, and for all I know he was BS'ing me the whole way, but he sounded like a good guy. :)
  • While actual user policies apparently vary by location, my area (BA, NY) doesn't allow hubs. The web page says single machine only (at least it did last time I checked a few weeks ago). This in contrast to their ISDN pages which tout its use for a home network.

    BTW, the clueless level of BA was just as bad with my recent ISDN install. Not only did they not know anything, but actually gave out wrong information. This across the board; everyone i talked to, and I talked to a lot. Fortunately isdn has one of the highest signal-to-noise ratio newsgroups out there on usenet that I've found.

    DOVBS finally worked for me (trunk issues over which I had no control finally got cleared up), so ISDN is now at least affordable (no per minute charges for DOVBS). But while DOVBS was not working, I was wondering if I'd make the jump to DSL when it became available here. The trick would be just to have them install it in an old 486, then later plop another NIC in there, reboot into linux, and use it as a router for your home LAN. You might want to do that for security reasons anyway (rather than having the DSL feed into your main machine), setting up some firewalling measures. You can get an old 486 for just about nothing now, (no monitor required). Hell, the second NIC may cost you more!
  • Maybe I'm not following loujo's comment, not meaning to flame anybody (yeah, so I'm not in the spirit of the net I guess) but a phone companies a phone company and a large souless beuracracy by any other name would still be a phone company.

    My original reaction to the article, wich seems to be born out by many of the comments is; what was the guy expecting? The appropriate answer when asked by a phone company beuracrat "would you like service with that?" is "NO, thank you nice beuracrat." Support like that nobody needs.
  • I beg to differ. Cox Cable (@Home) here in Omaha has been fantastic to deal with. While their normal "support" channels only cater to Win* & Mac users (and the clueless ones at that :-), they were more than happy to provide me with the info needed to connect my Debian box (and as one of their tech heads explained it: "most Linux/Unix users don't want us messing with their machines anyway and are usually much more competent than the installer"). Bandwidth has been fantastic, and I've had exactly 2 outages over the last year - both took out the TV too (i.e., it was a cable problem, not routers or networking hardware), and both were resolved in under an hour. Hell, they even had a picknic (catered REAL food) at one of the local parks for all of their initial customers (several thousand of us) - All of my past experiences indicate that ALL of the "baby Bells" still suffer from a severe post monopoly arrogance ("you should be happy we're doing you the favor of connecting you to the internet") - so I agree with you on that point. U.S. Jest is almost as big a PITA as Bell Titanic :-)
  • Bell Atlantic cannot refuse service, period. The telco's like to think they're god, but mention the FCC or the FTC and filing a complaint, and they'll shut up and process your order.
  • I don't mean to be rude, but that's the general jist of the situation he put himself in. First of all, the Mac is Dead. The iMac made sure of that. What a piece of degenerate crap. Secondly, why is the author dicking around with a tech guy or a supervisor when he wants to revamp Company policy? What the fuck is he doing? Does he think these people have ever met the CEO of Bell? Damn, clueless twit. Thirdly, if this Mac degenerate had a clue, he wouldn't be using a Mac.. And if he ever worked as a tech, he would have long ago killed himself trying to tell Mac users why their computer has a "Frowny" face. That's the level where most Mac people start off. People bought the iMac, because it was being sold as easier to use than windows.. hehe.. Shit. I didn't know there were negative Intelligence Quotients. I don't mean to be overly hostile towards this person, it's just that he is acting from ignorance of computers, company command, and capitolism in general. That's why he got no results. That's also why the Mac is Dead.
  • Just to be fair I should recount my good fortune with Bellatlantic and Infospeed DSL. I live in Pittshurgh and we must just have good local reps or something. I myself filled out their webpage back when it said it was currently being rolled out. One day, unexpectedly, long after I had forgot all about it, I recieved mail from Candice saying that it was available and I could call her and order it. I called, she told me the pricing, I told her what I wanted. I said I used an intel based machine, I ran Linux, I had an ethernet card and asked her what free ones they gave out, she told me 3COM brand ISA or PCI my choice, so I said I'd take a 7.1 connection and ethernet card. She took the order then transferred me over to the ISP. They set me up an account, gave me my IP address, and told me the tech guy would be out in exactly one week to install the hardware. The modem came in the mail, the tech guy showed up bright and early, attached the filter to my phoneline, hooked up the modem, and gave me my ethernet card. I decided to hold off on putting in the 3COM, so I did an ifconfig to get him my current MAC address, he called it in, we connected it, he gave me my books, we sat and drank some mt dew and BSed about ADSL for a little bit and then he took off. I've been enjoying DSL ever since along with 4 other Linux users in my area that I know.
  • I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but is it true that ADSL will only work over a copper line and if your phone is hooked up over a fiber optic line it won't work?
  • Mediaone claims that for their cable modem service, only 95/98 will be supported or installed on. When the guy came, I booted up a base 95 install and let the guy seem pleased. Their reasoning was that if they allow NT or other server based products, you can acheive the ability to mess around with their equipment. They really can't control it. I'm running Linuxes and NTs all over their network and not only that, I CAN screw with their network if I want to.

  • I had a similar experience with Mediaone. At the time of my installation they only supported Win95 and no not support networks. Like you or your friend who dealt with Bell Atlantic - I to argued with them and got no where.

    After consulting a sysadm who has a network and home and mediaone, I was told to just let them think what they want. When the techs comeout to your site, you can probably get what you want if you don't argue with them. Remember, the techs think that management sticks also. However their job is at stake.

    They arrived to find my system on a LAN and not running Win95. We talked a while and then I proceeded to do all the setup up myself. I moved the network cable to my transceiver to the cable modem (hence no LAN!) and after switching to their DHCP server I was on-line. Soon they went away.

    As soon as the door closed, I rewired the network, only to find that all the additional IPs I needed were already taken. Since I had to have a LAN - I thought - maybe I can put 2 network cards in the stupid machine.

    My neighborhood Cantonese computer store sold me a NE2000 card for $2 to $7 - don't recall. But it was a steal.

    I installed the 2nd card, using 10.0.0.x for my LAN card and within a few minutes was up and running. Later I installed ip-masqurading and now all my internal machines have net access without any special config.

    Since that time, all has been well with my setups. The only problems have been with their DHCP server. Sometimes it randomly changes my IP address - while I'm using it. After this your assigned IP is no longer matches your host name (I waited a week once). After numerous calls to tech support - I've given up and just started using a static IP. Its been months without any problems. I guess if I get messages about another machine using my IP address I'll consult the DHCP server and get a new IP.

    I guess in summary -

    * Don't argue or try and reason with corporate idiots. Subconsciously they already know they are idiots - but all day they have to act like they know what they're doing - else their wives will leave them and not see their kids anymore. If its a woman - she knows she'll lose her job and then be dependant on a man.

    * When the techs arrive talk with them. Let them know you are fully knowledgeable, but let them think they know a little more than you. Be friendly and get to know all about the system. You'll need this info later!

    * When they leave - set the system up like you want.

    * When they say a system isn't support - they only mean - we don't know anything about it. IF you do - your one your own. Some cooperates think this means - do it and your off the network.

  • I live in Cambridge, and I finally signed up for M1 last week, after watching them work their way in from the outer suburbs over the last couple years, and waiting for the customer service problems to work themselves out. I have to give them some credit regarding home LANs and alternative OSes. IIRC, they used to charge money for additional IP addresses, (maybe $5 /month), so the whole idea of IP masqing clearly needed to be executed in an underground fashion. Plus it used to be "No Win32 or MacOS when we show up? No install!"

    Nowadays, they at least acknowledge Linux with a private newsgroup, they have a Q&A section on their support site regarding multiple computers and home LANs, and I think even have a separate newsgroup for IP masqing/proxy serving, etc. Though there is still some legacy info implying that their system of keeping track of the MAC address is incompatible w/ home LANs (??), and though they still threaten to disconnect a home LAN that's causing problems, they clearly tolerate them. So though I have a dual boot NT Workstation/Linux Intel box, I'm not going to bother hiding my ethernet hub (already have IP masqing running...), or explaining the presence of the 2nd NIC which I put in over the weekend.

    The proof is in the pudding, but I'm excited about Mediaone. ADSL is a more elegant and flexible solution, IMO (dedicated bandwidth, regardless of the # of users, choose yer own ISP, etc.) not to mention cooler (all that over POTS copper??). But the millstone of Nynex's poor reputation still hangs around Bell Atlantic's neck, so the less involvement I have with them the better. Plus ADSL (currently vaporware in MA) is gonna be more expensive for less (theoretical) bandwidth. Finally, any company involved causing a runaround as asinine as this iMac thing should be banned from doing business.

    Just my $.02.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal