Monday, February 21, 2011

Telephone troubles (sigh)

As if I didn't have enough crises to manage, I have trouble with my broadband connection again. I've noticed that the modem is dropping the connection every few minutes. I can hardly get anything done.

After a while, I realized that the modem was having serious trouble negotiating and synchronizing. Out of curiosity, I picked up the actual telephone (which I never use), and was surprised by a blast of white noise that was so loud that it drowned out the dial tone. Wow! No wonder the modem can't sync. This continued for a day or so. Then the noise was replaced by a sound like a machine gun that also drowned just about everything out. Then, the line was cut off entirely for a while, and when it came back, the noise on the telephone was gone, and the modem was holding sync … but the modem was now stuck at 2.4 Mbps, instead of the 8 Mbps I'm paying for. Clearly, noise is still affecting the line, at least at the ADSL frequencies. I don't have a tool to tell me which channels are being used, but I suspect that about half of them are down.

So, while still sniffling from the cold I got on the Métro, I called France Télécom, finally. I'm a bit reluctant because it's always a nightmare to get any service. The first technician I reached said it wasn't his problem, because he worked only on the voice line (even though the ADSL line is the same twisted pair—no pun intended). So I called other numbers, being bounced from one number to another, with ten-minute waits on each number, and one simple hang-up. Finally I reached another technician, who said that I had a TLM—a “little robot” (petit robot) in her terms—that was testing my line until this coming Thursday. She said that someone would call me on Thursday to confirm the results and see if the line is fixed. Unfortunately, the only slot for the call that she could give me was between 3 PM and 4 PM, during which I'll be in class; but I really need to take this call.

In other news, I was trying to create video clips of my flight simulation, and someone recommended a “prosumer” video-editing product to me. I downloaded the trial version (which took 2 hours, thanks to my ADSL line problem and the incredibly huge size of the download). It works pretty well, although the learning curve is steep. The thing is, I don't have a video camera. I do have a small digital camera that can take brief video clips in high definition, so maybe I'll use that to experiment. The trial lasts for 30 days … which, for someone in my precarious position, is practically eternity. If I manage to create some interesting videos, maybe I'll post them here. Nobody reads this blog, anyway, so I don't risk boring anyone.

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