Strange things happen, sometime they are welcome and make life just that
little more pleasant, it can be a simple gesture, something funny, a
misunderstanding or just about any event. I suppose a lot depends on the
circumstances at the time.
Other times these stange events can sort of spiral in an unexpected direction that leads to something maybe not so nice but usually not too serious.
Below are a few stories of weird things that happened to me (an ISP) that at the time probably didn't seem to funny but with 20/20 hindsight are now quite amusing.
No names, no insults, no accusations and certainly no intention to slander or defame anyone.
The articles are in no particular order.
The modems that bite...
Keeping up with modem technology is a must for any ISP. Users expect the
ISP to provide the latest technology AND to accept connections from a wide
variety of makes and models of user modem.
Since mid 1998 KC had already been offering V90 dial in modems via a Cisco as5200 modem server. The model of modem in the as5200 was manufactured by Microcom and was generally very stable and had about a 97% connection success.
Over the next two weeks I repeated the exercise with three others that
included one pcmcia modem.
I now had eight modems and decided to give them away to non-KC users and over a few weeks I noticed various people in the nz.wanted newsgroup enquiring about second-hand modems. I offered various people the modems as a free gift and soon all eight were gone. Each of the old modems was marked "KC" using an engraver on a blank section of the printed circuit board.
So far as I was concerned this modem business was over.
It was almost a month later, I received an email from a user on KC
about a modem problem - no connection. The name was familiar, it was one of
the people I had given a swapped-out modem. He was so impressed with the
free gift that he had decided to use KC as his ISP. What he was not
impressed with was that the modem I had given him would not connect to KC.
Rather than get into a difficult discussion I took back the modem and swapped it for yet another new one. This time I took a pair of shears to the modem card and disposed of it. One dud modem had cost me two new modems.
Two weeks after that incident another call from a business user on KC
that his new modem would not work on KC. He had just upgraded from a
v32 modem to a V90 56k modem and it would not connect at all. I quickly found
out that his modem was one of the non-connecting models so I suggested
he return it as incompatible and get one that would connect (I supplied
a list of working modem makes/models).
No good, he had purchased it second-hand and could not return it so again after some agonising I decided to replace it.
One very pleased user later I had another dud modem, however on inspecting it I was horrified to see there was an engraved KC on the circuit board. A phone call later and the story was that the modem was purchased from a for-sale-ad in the nz.wanted newsgroup.
This was not nice, I had given this modem to someone who had convinced me they could not afford a modem and could really use a free one from me.
A phone call and I was told that the person concerned had found it necessary to sell his computer to pay University fees and the modem card was also sold seperately for the same reason. Somewhat annoyed by this I realised there was little I could do.
Was I eventually going to see all eight modems returned to me?
Yet again the only action I could take was to replace the dud modem.
Another dud met the shears. Over the next month I was fully expecting more of these dud modems to bite me, then a firmware for the MICA modems was made available on CIsco's web site. I downloaded this and the same day updated the MICA modems.
Reading the notes with the firmware the two modems brands were now supported.
So not only had I purchased twelve new modems to replace ten dud modems
but I had also destroyed two modems that would now have worked and given
away eight others that would also have worked.
Some people actually think that ISPs make a profit :-)
The warm power cord... ...later
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