Despite my Catholic school upbringing (think Sister Mary Stigmata wailing away with that yardstick on Jake & Elwood) and my mother’s undying wish for me to still be Pope some day (despite the three kids, two marriages, and one divorce, but that’s a story for another day) I still have days when I’m less than saintly.
I have a well document penchant for baiting, harassing, and tormenting robodialing sales scammers. For the record, I have zero problems with that. They deserve every bit of badgering that I can give them. I don’t call them, they call me. They started it. (No, I’m not five, you’re five!)
I’m referring to how I sometimes lose my patience when dealing with innocent tech support folks. Sometimes it’s customer support, but it’s worse with tech support. With customer support I know that it’s quite likely that I’m the cause of the problem and I’m asking for help, or at best it’s a 50/50 thing. With tech support, I foolishly expect actual knowledgeable tech support rather than some kid reading a script by rote after they didn’t make it through the ITT Tech Trade School.
Last week I had a problem at work with one of the online services at a humongous American mega-bank. While I could log on, see my account balances and activity, make transfers, and so on, when I went to the Remote Check Deposit (RCD) system, it would crash every time. The error message from Hell in this case was something along the lines of, “Your current .NET Framework security settings do not allow this procedure.”
It had been working fine, even after we upgraded to Windows 10. That had been a critical test of Win10 since I use that banking function nearly daily. Then, soon after I got back from my New York City trip, it just didn’t work. I hadn’t changed anything, I hadn’t upgraded, I hadn’t changed any settings, I hadn’t deleted anything – it just stopped working.
So I called customer support, who put me through to tech support, who walked me through the fifteen steps I had already taken to try to resolve it, threw in a couple of new things for me to try, all to no avail. Same error message, over and over and over.
They said they would bring in the heavy-duty outside consultant tech guys the next morning – but never called back. I had to call back two days later and go through the whole mess again, only to be told that they would bring in the heavy-duty outside consultant tech guys the next morning. I said no, thank you, we’ve already done that joke and we will fix this tonight. We eventually did after we got some dude to remote into my system, do lightning fast editing of the registry, and make the magic happen.
Fast forward to last week, when it starts doing the exact same thing.
This time I’ve got what I believe to be a smoking gun. It’s all Microsoft’s fault. When I turned on my system that morning there had been a Windows 10 involuntary update. The first clue I had about the update was that Internet Explorer was gone from the task bar and gone from the Start Menu as well. I had to go hunt it down, create a new shortcut/icon, and put it back.
Yes, Internet Explorer. Have I mentioned that about 99% of all of the super duper secure banking things out there require you to use IE?
So Microsoft tried to assassinate my copy of IE, or at least send it off to Devil’s Island to rot, but when I found it and fired it up anyway it has also stopped working.
Coincidence? Are you freakin’ kidding me?
I tried to fix it myself, of course. I had taken notes the first time, as well as taken a video of the “magic” happening onscreen. (I’ll bet you Steve Jobs never foresaw that use of the iPhone when he dreamed it up!) I was pretty sure that I could reproduce what they had done three weeks ago. And I did.
No joy. “Your current .NET Framework security settings…” Once again back to MegaBank Customer Service.
Megan was a vision of patience. She either listened or did a good job of faking it while I went through the whole series of troubleshooting steps I had already taken. Then she started by asking me if the computer and the check scanner were both plugged in.
**SIGH** Okay, let’s do it the hard way. Yes, it’s plugged in. Yes, I checked the cables. Yes, I had tried turning it off and turning it back on again. Yes, we can spend fifteen minutes going through all of the setup steps from the manual one more time. Then…
“Are you using Internet Explorer?” (Megan, if I wasn’t, how could I have just gone through about twenty different setting confirmations for you? Don’t you, or the people who wrote this idiotic script, realize that all of the different browsers all have completely different methods of changing the settings?)
“Yes, Megan, I am using Internet Explorer.”
“Are you sure? There might be two icons that look like big blue letter E’s. Make sure you’re not using the darker blue one. It has to be the light blue one with the yellow swoosh around it.”
I swear to god, I’m not a good enough writer to make this shit up. Megan had stunned me into silence as I tried desperately to formulate an answer that wouldn’t make me sound like a complete douchebag.
“Hello, Mister Willett? Are you still there?”
“Yes, Megan, I’m here. Going forward, can we assume that I was LITERALLY building computers from scratch and programming them before you were born, and thus I’m GUARANTEED to know the difference between Internet Explorer and Edge?”
I’m not proud that I went there. On the other hand, if I hadn’t, my head would have exploded like some poor bystander in a David Croneberg film.
Megan didn’t seem to take it personally, although I suspect she went home and told her significant other, “You would not believe the sanctimonious old codger asshole I had to deal with today!”
But she started it!