Isn’t this a Lovely Day – Does Anyone Know a Good Plasterer?!

There’s an old song by Irving Berlin –  it starts ‘The weather is frightening, the thunder and lightning seem to be having their way’.  Well if the weather has been a washout so far in 2013, here at Events With The Edge we’ve also had flood, fire and pestilence on the technology front!

At the beginning of January our computers were on a go slow so we decided to upgrade to fibre optic and replace our aging phones at the same time.  I have a very few shares in British Telecom which entitles you to a special rate so it seemed sensible to choose them to provide the service.  I couldn’t wait – unfortunately the anticipation didn’t quite meet up to the reality.  Did I actually say ‘quite’?

Ten days later the engineer arrived at the appointed time and spent four hours setting up the hub.  During this time he visited a green box down the road and not satisfied with that, even went to the exchange in Stourbridge as well.  “Will it talk to our computers?”  I kept asking him.  I even showed him the computers – several times in fact – but he didn’t seem that interested.  I wasn’t entirely confident that he knew what he was doing (I have a sixth sense like that!) and when he got his mate to come all the way from Tipton it seemed my fears were not without foundation.  The mate was reluctant to enter the property and stood by the front door for an hour and drank tea.  He didn’t want to look at the computers either.  I was surprised but then I’m not a telecom engineer – what do I know? 

Eventually they both left giving assurances that it would be up and running between 1700 and midnight that day, the computers would be able to talk to the worldwide web.  “Are you sure about that” I asked.  Not a problem we were told.

At 5.00pm I tried – nothing.  I waited.  At midnight I tried again but there was still no response.  No web, no e-mails, no business. 

The following morning there was absolutely nothing happening in the ether at 32 Joyberry Drive.  Never mind worldwide, at this point I would have been happy to get England!  By lunchtime I decided to contact the helpline.  To be honest, I wasn’t hopeful, but I was pleasantly surprised that the lady in India knew exactly what she was talking about and when she came up against a problem she couldn’t solve, said her supervisor would call me back.  Likely I thought.    Amazingly he did.  After four or five hours and lots of phone calls between us I was told it wouldn’t work, it couldn’t work and it was impossible to make it work. I’d already explained it was vital, that it was our business and it was essential that I could get our e-mails and he understood.  He said he was going to send something in the post which would fix it.  I didn’t believe him – oh yea of little faith!

Lo and behold the next morning a parcel arrived and the supervisor rang up, told us what to do to fix it temporarily and the internet was working, our e-mails came flooding in and I was thrilled.

A few days later the doorbell rang.  Completely unsolicited standing there was a lady supervisor from BT OpenReach with a man in tow.  She said “I understand from our helpline that you’ve been having a lot of trouble with your new fibre-optic broadband.  This is Eric and he’s not going to leave until it’s all fixed.”  And he didn’t.  It was a miracle.  We love Eric.

I was so excited I decided it was also a suitable time to upgrade our software. Why oh why did it seem like a good idea?  I won’t bore you but Laura couldn’t print, our computers wouldn’t talk to each other and my software had a bug.  (I had a headache as well but that was from banging my head on the wall!)  Everything on my computer was in jibberish, a language I was becoming familiar with as I was now a jibbering wreck and my headache was turning to a migraine. 

After a couple of days a very nice man called Leigh came and sorted it out.  We were now into week three of technology mayhem.  Perhaps we’d turned a corner. But neither the weather outside or in our offices had improved because next the phones stopped working.  Oh joy!

The e-mail from BT said it was the exchange where there was a problem but it would take five days.  By now the plaster on the wall was becoming loose.  I rang the nice helpline .  Again the man in India said he’d see what he could do.  Fantastic, they were working again within 24 hours.  I was getting excited again – too soon, too soon I hear you shout – you were right!

I checked the website.  It had disappeared.  I felt like Victor Meldrew.  I DON’T BELIEVE IT!  Our service provider said 48 hours.  After 48 hours we rang.  Sorry, it would be tomorrow.  And tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow……….. (Are you getting the picture?) 

Eventually we were told something major had gone wrong. (You don’t say?)  They were trying to sort it out but weren’t getting on very well and they weren’t confident.   The whole site had been corrupted and would have to be re-built.  Not only that, the backup system they held was also corrupt.  We’d lost the content, the pictures, everything.  The migraine was being replaced by thoughts of suicide and now all the walls had loose plaster.  The weeks were passing, it was late March and there wasn’t an end in sight.

We then talked to the lovely Dave Hadley and Aman Chana of CSCM.  They chased our previous service provider who finally sent over the files and Aman was able to retrieve a lot of the information we thought was lost.  He re-built the site within a couple of days and Dave called us regularly to let us know how things were going.  The website is now up and running.  If we loved Eric, we absolutely adore Aman and Dave.

Seriously, I am eternally grateful to CSCM, for the time they have spent and the patience they have shown.  I can’t recommend them highly enough.  The re-build has included an upgrade of the site and everything is now working.  Thank you CSCM.

Now we only have to wait for the sun to shine and 2013 will be perfect but, as it says in the song ‘As far as I’m concerned, it’s a lovely day!’  

My headache has miraculously disappeared!