Thursday, January 26, 2006

But who's supporting tech support?

I was up all night. No reason, really; the old brain was just humming along and didn't feel tired, so I kept working. One of the things I was working on was my e-mail problem, which turns out to be a Pretty Big Deal. All of the mail sent to my various addresses is set up to be automatically forwarded to my "everyday" mailbox. But after several of you complained that your mail to me was being returned ("bouncing"), I looked into it and learned that I appear to have missed lots of e-mail. And not all of the messages are being returned to their senders. Apparently, some are being sucked into black holes.

Last night I sent myself ten test messages, numbering them 1-10 in the subject line. After three hours only four of the messages had been forwarded to me. I received no notification that my other messages had bounced.

At 2:30 this morning I phoned tech support at iPowerWeb, my domain host. When I explained the problem to a personable young man and told him about the test messages I'd sent, he was clearly baffled. "You should have received some bounce messages for those six undelivered e-mails," he said.

Well, I hadn't. And he couldn't imagine why I hadn't. He took a look behind the curtain at and returned to confess that he was stumped.

"Wow," I said, strangely elated as it dawned on me that I had a real problem and not some silly misunderstanding that he was going to laugh about with the other 19-year-olds in tech support as soon as he got me off the phone. "I don't believe I've ever stumped one of you techies before."

"Oh, I'm not really that much of a techie," he said.

Um, hello? Who are you, the janitor? Am I or am I not connected with tech support?

"Ah," I said, not knowing what else to say. He sounded like a really nice kid and I didn't want to hurt his feelings.

He asked some more questions, told me how clever I'd been to send numbered test messages (but should I have been flattered by that after learning that he wasn't a bona-fide techie?) and then promised he'd get somebody to go under the hood and jiggle a wire or slam a hammer against something. My e-mail problem should be resolved within 48 hours.

All this to say that if you have sent me e-mail and not received an answer, I'd be grateful if you'd pity me and resend.

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