this is war: a cingular story

Alright. So I thought the problem I was having with my phone was fixed. This weekend, I find out that Vanessa and Stephanie both had this happen to them while attempting to call my phone.
I call Customer Care tonight, after leaving a voicemail with the engineer who called me after the December 11 phone call. The customer care said that my trouble ticket was still pending with tech and that, after consulting to tech, my problem could be fixed by transferring from the old AT&T network to the Cingular Orange network. She highlights what all that would entail: a slightly changed rate plan and new phones. The new rate plan is more or less what I have now. Currently, I have 400 anytime minutes plus 300 promotional minutes, plus unlimited night and weekends and unlimited mobile-to-moblie calling. The new plan would have only 450 anytime minutes, 5000 night and weekend minutes with unlimited mobile-to-mobile. While it is a great reduction in minutes, since having free mobile-to-mobile, I haven’t needed all 700 anytime minutes, or anything close to it. In short, I was willing to forget about those minutes since they aren’t that vital to me.
I wasn’t ready to make the switch as I wanted to do a little more research on my options. My thought is if I can get roughtly what I have now for the same price, I’ll undergo switching phones and whatnot to get myself in a working situation.
I call them back after deciding that I would go with it. I do have one question though: on the old AT&T network, it cost me $0.10 to SEND each text message and there is no charge to receive them. Is that the same on “Cingular Orange”?
No. It cost $0.10/event to send OR RECEIVE a text message.
But, as the Customer Care rep said in her very broken English, “you currently have a $4.99 text messaging plan that allows you to send 100 messages. With Cingular, for the same price, it will be 200 so it offsets.”
As I pointed out to her, it doesn’t offset. I limit myself to 100 sent messages but I am sent many many more messages than I send.
I don’t have a problem jumping through hoops to make my service better (or in other words, save their engineers the work of fixing my problem) as long as that is all it is. I don’t want to be charged for something that I get free now.
All of this while thinking that text messages are cheaper to send/receive for Cingular than one minute of voice traffic. Remember Hurricane Rita and how no one in Houston could actually talk on the phone but had no problem sending SMS messages? That is because a voice call has to create a dedicated digital channel for the call while a text message uses only one packet of the data stream. (I don’t really know the details so I might be using the wrong words, but more or less, that is the case).
I’ll be paying a visit to the Cingular store to speak with someone who hopefully can speak English and see what can happen.

the cell works again?

Update: I think the cell phone is fully functional again.
I was contacted directly by a tech to discuss the situation further and gave me his direct phone number, which I attempted and in fact rang directly to his desk, so if the problem continued, I could go directly past customer service.

cingular and customer service

I’m currently listening to the on-hold “music” for Cingular. It is informing of various services they offer and telling me how I can go online and do all these wonderful things.
I’m on hold with Cingular because I am still having problems with my phone. For those who don’t know, after I arrived in Austin following by trip to Chicago/South Bend, various Cingular customers, at various times, have not been able to call me. They have been greeted by a friendly little Cingular voice informing them that my phone number is not a working number.
The same people can text message me to tell me that my phone is not a working number, however.
I have called them multiple times, starting over the weekend of November 4th. That was the weekend of Lambda Omega Alpha’s 15th Anniversary Weekend. Yes, the weekend of a very large event for the fraternity of which I am the president. It is always great when issues like this occur before a time when you are needed and you can’t be contacted. Remember, I’m of the mindset, both technologically and financially, where I only need a cell phone. No landline for me, except my office phone.
Everyone was nice on that first call and promised everything would be taken care of by that Thursday. Some people could call me who couldn’t before, but some people still can’t. I call after that point. Everyone was nice and they promised it would be taken care of soon.
Now, it is almost 45 days since this started and one person, at least, has never been able to call since then and many cannot call at various times, including myself. Sometimes I’m told that my phone isn’t a working phone when I’m using my phone to check my voicemail.
Me: “Just to let you know, this is getting better. At first, almost no one with Cingular could call me. Now it’s a much smaller group of users and mostly at variable times.”
Customer Service (CS): “I understand sir. We will take care of it this time. That is why we are issuing a trouble ticket for this event.”
Me: “Of course. I just wanted the tech you’re conferring with that whatever they’re doing is making it better- this is the third or fourth trouble ticket issued related to this.”
CS: “Please hold while I give the tech this additional information”
This has been my life for the past hour. I will convey some important information to the CS agent, who then places me on hold to tell the tech. Why could the tech not talk to me directly? Are engineers not “people-people”?
I feel like this CS Agent is like Tom Smykowski in Office Space. You remember him, don’t you?
“Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the g** ***n customers so the engineers don’t have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?”
In her credit, she is good at dealing with people. When the tech called me for a “test call”, she seemed like she was good at dealing with people as well. Except for when she said, “now, I’m going to switch back to your CS agent and let her get back to you.” That wasn’t what I was hoping to hear. Maybe a “man, you’re having a dilly of a problem there sport, let me just get my hands dirty and help you myself.” Perhaps without that many cliches, but my point remains the same.
They have just informed me that if you have a Cingular phone and have had problems calling me, you should contact them. It might be a problem on your end. Yes, I know that you only have problems calling me, but it still might be your fault that you can’t call me.
If you cannot call me, call Cingular at 1-800-888-7600. After you enter your wireless phone number and the next prompt beings, press 0. When the prompt following starts, press 1. Tell them you’re a friend of mine, but refer to me by my wireless telephone number, since I am just a number to them. Please be sure to have written, word for word, the error message you have been hearing. When you tell them error code “3cx” or “3xc” or whatever it was, (It is 3CX right?), they won’t believe you, since that error only occurs when they are dealing with phone numbers that have switched providers, not native-Cingular/AT&T accounts.
For now, the midnight oil is running low and I have much more to do before lying down for a night of call-less sleep.

Found An Old Love

1998-11-11-art.jpgI found old Zip disks from high school during my packing tonight. Although I shouldn’t have, I went to the Welch lab and converted them over to a CD so I could access the files. After a time playing with formats (Mac-based graphics software from 1998 isn’t quite as compatable with Windows XP as I would like), I figured out how to open most of the files.

The artwork at the right is a piece I submitted to an art show at Midwestern State University in 1998. After a couple of months in the multimedia program, I had a little fun and threw this together. Since it was done on the computer, it was submitted under the “Commercial Art” category where it won 3rd place for that year.

I did all of this while studying for a multimedia major, part of Hirschi’s Magnet program. For the first two years of my studies, under Bill Mahoney, I expanded my artistic abilities. Mr. Mahoney retired and a new person took over the program. For the last two years of my studies, the focus was on more traditional graphics art- websites, web graphics, promotional material, etc.

Since heading off to college, I haven’t worked with graphics at all. I think that is a mistake on my part; the problem now is I need better equipment to run the software. Until I find a large sum of cash on my doorstep, I think I’ll see what the laptop can handle.