Dear Verizon, you suck.

Over the past month I’ve had two client sites have problems with Verizon service.  The number of hoops they make you jump through in order to try to solve a problem are incredible.

In the most recent instance, the client called to say that no one there can get onto the Internet.  I walked them through the usual resetting of the DSL modem and router device (a Linksys in this case).  After that, they still were not working.

I attempted to use the Verizon web site to contact tech support.  First, I tried to find a phone number to call, but had no luck finding one.  Finally I had to resort to using the online chat function.  After I entered all of the relevant information (including problem, description, DSL phone number and my name), I was connected to a rep.  He then promptly asked me for the DSL phone number and name. <sigh>.  After that, he needed a description of the problem <sigh>^2.  Finally he asked me for the model of the DSL modem.  I informed him that I wasn’t in front of it.  Big mistake.  At that point, all he could say was that I had to be at the client site in order to help me.  Which is funny, because the client site doesn’t have Internet access!  No matter how many different ways I tried to get him to just check the darn line, he refused to help.  Apparently they are incapable of checking into anything without the DSL modem model.  Oh yeah, and it was very important to know what my operating system was, which of course has nothing to do with the problem as all computers were unable to connect, AND THE INTERNET LIGHT WAS OFF ON THE MODEM!!!

So, long story (1 hour 20 minutes) short, after going on site, I called the Verizon support number (which was the one good thing to come from the earlier chat) and when I tried to access tech support the system checked the line and claimed that nothing was wrong, and then proceeded to give me two options: 1) Go back to the main menu and 2) Hang up.

There was NO option to talk to, oh, I dunno, a human being!  After trying all forms of getting in touch with someone through the tech support line (screaming Agent and Operator and various profanities into the phone got me nowhere), I finally connected to billing, spoke to some poor guy there who finally transferred me to a support line where I could get in a queue to talk to someone.  Now here’s the best part, I’ve been working on this for over an hour and I finally get to talk to someone.  The first thing she checked (after getting the DSL number yet again) was whether there was an outage in the area.  Well guess what – there was.  Certain users in the Tampa area were having problems due to a piece of broken equipment in the central office.  It took all of 2 minutes for her to get this info.

Now, which part of that information required me to either be on site, or needed the DSL modem model number?  That’s right kids, none!

Anyway, if you ever need to get in touch with Verizon tech support, call (800) 569-6789.  If you want to find out if there are any outages in the Verizon DSL network, go to and there you will find out what’s going on.

Summary: Die, Verizon, Die!

Why are applications still stealing focus?

Grrr, for about the 40th time today an application that was supposed to be doing something in the background stole focus.

In this latest instance, I was loading QuickBooks in the background while working with Outlook.  As soon as QuickBooks prompted for a password, the password window stole the focus from Outlook!

A while ago Microsoft added the feature to Windows that caused a background window to flash in the Taskbar when it needed attention, rather than stealing focus.  It’s been at least five years since that was first brought to market.  Why are there still applications out there that screw with the user experience, and why does Windows allow it?