Ming the Mechanic:
Always On

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Always On2003-09-24 03:44
picture by Flemming Funch

Ah, DSL!! Always-on broadband Internet. With my own IP. I can breathe again. Not to mention, work. And staying more up on things.

One can certainly better appreciate that technology after being without it. Until they come up with cheap ubiquitous wireless access there's a considerable class difference between those who can connect and those who can't. And occasional great annoyance for those, like me, who's gotten so used to fast always-on Internet that everything grinds to a stop when it suddenly isn't there.

Now, my adventure in getting the DSL connection was also a good study in how to get things to happen here. In principle I should have been able to just pick up the modem in a store, and the line should have worked within a week. But various things stopped that from happening, like first that I didn't have a bank card, and then that the line came up as being unsuitable for DSL.

There's the approach that Polly Platt in her books calls "Persistent Personal Operating (PPO)". Which is particularly needed in France, but of course also in lots of other places and situations. The point is that you need to keep working your options, and you need to get others to help you, and get creative about getting around obstacles. The answer you get here when dealing with bureaucracies is frequently "No, that's impossible, good bye!" But that really just means that you need to try a different way, say it differently, charm them, or get somebody to help you. Specifically what seems to work very well is to actually lay out your whole problem for somebody who might help you. I.e. don't just expect they'll do what you say or want. They won't. But if you involve them in what is really going on for you, and why you need it, and what is in the way, people will sometimes go greatly out of the way to help you get there.

In this case, my saving angel was the lady at the France Telecom office where I actually signed up for the DSL account. I suppose she then was on vacation or something, as she didn't answer my phone calls and e-mails at first, and I therefore tried other things.

Wanadoo (France Telecom's ISP) had called me, saying that it was impossible to set up the account, and had sent me several letters that the account was now cancelled. I then called up several different departments, and they told me that it was impossible to get DSL. I was just too far from the central, so it was out of the question. Then I did a little research and managed to find the phone numbers of my neighbors, which I checked for DSL eligibility on the Wanadoo site. Hahah, it is available to all of them, and then of course they should be able to see that I can have it too. But, no, they then said that I was connected to a different central, and DSL wasn't possible. But I could maybe call France Telecom and ask them to switch me to a different central. I figured my French was going to be inadequate to do that negotiation, so a French friend offered to help by calling them. But they gave her the runaround too, and it was essentially impossible. One could maybe apply for such a change, but it might not go through, or might take months.

And then I guess my person came back from vacation on the same day. She called and said that she was very sorry, and it wasn't her fault, but the France Telecom bureaucracy. She made some phone calls, which I overheard, talking it over with her supervisor, calling various departments, pleading my case. I'm a nice man, I'm Danish, I don't speak much French, and I've been promised that DSL a month earlier. And she came back and said that it would be turned on the next morning. And she would send me some free soccer tickets, to alleviate a bit of my suffering. But, well, instead the line went down the next day. Which really seemed to be a unrelated coincidence. But another call to her got some new assurances from the technicians of getting all that fixed. And it took a bit longer than expected, but it came through. Because of finding the right somebody who's in a position to make it work, and who will see it through despite obstacles.

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24 Sep 2003 @ 04:02 by repsyche : tickets
did you get them?  

24 Sep 2003 @ 05:38 by ming : Soccer
Not yet. And I'm not much into soccer, really. But I'm always open to somebody doing something nice for me.  

24 Sep 2003 @ 06:36 by martha : well ming
I am laughing hard cause mark recently went through this long conveluted process to switch our dsl from pacbell to cable and it was a major, major hassle.I'll spare you the details except to say that he spent hours and hours on the phone trying to make the "smooth" transition. We still haven't gotten our long distance carrier changed properly. hahaha  

24 Sep 2003 @ 08:39 by Le Danois @ : Soccer
Ming, let me know if you get too many tickets (France Telecom have made mistakes before...), I'll be happy to help you use them :)  

25 Sep 2003 @ 00:22 by jeffolsen : Setting up the shot
My father was Danish. Vive le Behrens! I'm unsure why, but that comment "felt" right.  

25 Sep 2003 @ 14:50 by sindy @ : bottoms up
now thats cool to know that you are back on board mingling... DLS works fast and really with no delays.. especially for the sindy who wanna do several things at once on this net land hmm lol..  

26 Sep 2003 @ 09:37 by Andrius Kulikauskas @ : On the other hand...
Having tasted marginal access... Flemming, please check out, I have put up your short bio
and what we will be doing
Let me know if you have any questions or improvements! Peace.  

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Other stories in
2012-05-03 00:04: An evolving path
2012-01-02 13:52: 2011 Accomplishments and 2012 Aims
2011-11-17 02:20: Your inner piece
2011-02-01 00:05: Slow Mo Flow
2011-01-22 18:40: Recognition
2010-08-23 00:36: Where's Ming?
2010-07-20 14:24: Getting other people to do stuff
2010-06-22 00:27: Inventory
2010-06-19 23:10: Conversations
2009-10-28 12:31: Then a miracle occurs

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