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by Henrik

Automated phone service

September 25, 2007 in Broadband

I am having a pet peeve when it comes to automated phone services that don’t take their users into consideration. Today I experienced it once again. This time it was Comcast, but this is not something that only they do. A lot of companies do this. And it’s all bout the human interface design.

What happened when I called today (my connections just dropped) was that after I called the Comcast customer service number, 1-866-COMCAST, I was asked to enter my ten digit phone number, followed by a "1" for English. Once that had happened I was told that my call was being routed to the correct call center (or something along those lines). I then was asked to enter a "1" for English and then to enter my ten digit phone number. So after having entered the phone number twice, I still had to give them my name and address when I got through.

Now, my gripe is that if they use the first number only to get it to the right region, then they should either ask me to enter my area code and then just transfer me, alternatively get my area code from the incoming caller ID and ask me if that is the area I want to use. Alternatively, they should send my ten digit phone number and language preference as part of the transfer request, so that the receiving PBX knows who I am and can handle the call appropriately.

Profile photo of Henrik

by Henrik

Comcast Home Networking

June 7, 2007 in Broadband

I recently upgraded some of my computer equipment and connected it to my home network. Suddenly I started getting all kind of strange networking problems with 2 computers trying to use the same IP address, etc.

After looking at my Comcast (yes I have Comcast) settings it turned out that I only had 5 addresses in my DHCP range, so occasionally I wouldn’t get an IP address, or the computers would fight over a lease.

I tried setting one computer outside of the DHCP IP range and it quickly turned out that the routing table in the Comcast branded Linksys router was set up only to allow the 5 IP addresses in the DHCP range. I asked Comcast if there was a way to increase the number of computers allowed, and they informed me that I would have to upgrade to a business account for that.

Although I understand why this rule exists in Comcast’s Home Networking Terms of Service, they simply don’t want people to share out their network to neighbors and other people, I do see this as a big problem. Look at a high-tech family with 2 adults and 2 school children. What will this look like? Two professionals that have laptops from their employers, a media center computer, a game console and a wireless printer. Oops that is 5 computers already. Then we have the two children and their computers for doing homework, the Wi-Fi enabled PDA or cell phone, maybe yet another game console and so on. And this is even before things like surveillance cameras, networked fridges, NAS, etc. As you can see I can easily get the number up to 10 and soon to possibly 15 devices that need internet access. OK, I could probably get away with the printer not having Internet access, but I still want it to be able to use DHCP.

I know that cable and telco companies are not generally on the forefront. It wasn’t that long ago that you were only allowed one computer connected to broadband for home use, and some companies had special task forces tracking down people who were using a NAT router to share the connection. Now Comcast allows 5 devices, and their TOS is very clear on that you are not allowed to connect more computers. What is a person to do?

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