I’ve got to admit it, I am loving my new job.  I’m a month and a bit into my job with a company in Jax that provides a pretty fine consultancy service to numerous clients.  We also provide both Wireless and Wireline technical solutions to client management staff as well as to their workforces, who are based all over the USA (basically I sit on a Help Desk, acting as the all knowing intermediary between clients and Carriers, taking care of things so that their time isn’t wasted ordering phones and accessories, amending data plans, troubleshooting devices, stepping people though activations and so on), and having successfully completed the technical training and customer service guidance part of things, I’ve now been unleashed onto the phones for about a month and a bit.

I can’t tell you how much fun I’m having.

Being a Brit in Florida is definitely going in my favour.  One client contact repeatedly asks me to talk about the Queen in a posh voice (and I’m naturally fairly well spoken, even if I do occasionally have a hint of worzel to my voice), another contact keeps putting me on loudspeaker so that his colleagues can listen to my accent for their entertainment (I’ve told him I’m not his dancing monkey, and he’ll get 1 more month of it before I put my foot down and refuse to play his games), and still another engages me in long chats about locations we have in common further to her work placement in London a few years ago.

Anyway, with the iPhone 5 recently being launched it has been all-hands-on-deck at work to manage the tsunami of Apple pre-orders from September 14th onwards, and now that the majority of our pre-orderers have now received their devices we’re handling a lot of activations and problem solving.  And of course there has been no end to troubleshooting the various glitches and issues plaguing such a new device.

Understand that I have zero wireless experience.  Zilch, nada, nought.  My first phone was a brick of a Nokia and for the longest time I stayed faithful to the Finnish company, but after a few years inevitably cheated on them with Sony Ericsson to whom I remained relatively loyal until moving to Florida, at which point The Hublet got me a Samsung Galaxy.

I pride myself on having been fairly self reliant with all my phones, finding that the standard IT response of, “Have you tried turning it off and on yet?” sorted out most of my issues.  I’ve never taken out insurance, never done any serious physical damage to my phones (apart from that one time the slide-out screen stopped working, but it was within warranty and rapidly resolved) and have not had to handle any complicated problems.

Now that I sit on a Help Desk dealing with tier 1 and 2 issues I’m expected to make miracles happen and personally be able to do a serious amount of troubleshooting long before we get the Carriers involved and start negotiating warranty replacements, upgrades and exchanges.

So it’s in my best interests to stay abreast of new devices and any issues pertaining to them.

I’ll be honest, I’m a Droid girl at heart, and although I’m not 100% ruling out the possibility of my owning an iPhone or Apple product in the future, I really can’t see this happening without the involvement of bribery, family members being held to ransom or family pets being kidnapped.  As a personal bias I view all iPhone owners – those who queue outside Apple stores for 3-days in order to be among the first to receive an over-hyped, over-priced product – as skinny-jean-wearing hipsters with their trendy non-prescription black framed glasses and grandad scarves.  Shame on them, pahtooie.

However, my job demands that I get to know all phones without bias, so the iPhone 5 has been a much researched topic for me as I acquaint myself with its accessories (fabulous, but unfathomably for the most part out of stock either due to Apple’s zero-day effect or long Apple certification processes), activation processes, software requirements and any subsequent issues and common problems that could occur, and even though it’s a relatively new release and there’s not a lot of info to find, I’m viewing it as an ongoing work in progress.

So today a particularly nice end user (who we shall refer to as Mavis) was having problems setting up her personal email on her iPhone 5.  The main problem was that Mavis was trying to get to the point where she could enter her password, however kept on seeing the error message ‘Verification timed out‘.  I got her to log onto the online http://www.appleid.apple.com site and once we confirmed that her Apple ID and password were correct I was stumped and had to conference in the Apple Support line.

Honestly, I swear the young man from Apple could smell the Droid love in me as, although undoubtedly polite, he spoke with a world weary sigh to his voice and I got the impression that we were keeping him from rummaging through a thrift store for tomorrow’s outfit, grooming his ‘stache or researching new bands that no-one else could possibly have heard of yet.

He kept on taking Mavis through what was effectively the same process: uninstalling and reinstalling the same 2 things and then reattempting the email set-up, and unfortunately we were consistently getting the same ‘verification timed out’ error message.

About 30-minutes or so in I was losing the will to live, as was Mavis, so I allowed Mr Apple Hipster to drone on while I started racking my brains because I recognised that deep, deep down in the primordial depths of my memory something was awakening, reaching out and trying to make contact.

Then EUREKA, it hit me.  If I had been taking Help Desk calls from my bath I would by now be running down the middle of the road in my birthday suit.

I took myself off mute and politely interrupted Mr Occupy This Starbucks to address Mavis.

Me: “Mavis, do you currently have Wi-Fi active on your phone?”
Mavis: “I’m not sure, hang on a minute.  Yes, yes I do.”
Me: “Mavis, could you please turn off Wi-Fi and reattempt the same action using the 4G network?”
Hipster Apple: “I’m not sure that will make a difference, so let’s try another uninstall to see if it’ll work this time…”
Mavis (cutting off Hipster Apple): “Ok, I’ve turned off my Wi-Fi.”
Me: “Ok Mavis, give it a while for the 4G to kick in then give it another try.”
Hipster Apple: “Mavis, let’s try to go back to that uninstall again.”
Mavis: “I’m retrying the procedure, give it a minute.”
Me: “Does it seem to be doing anything different this time Mavis?”
Mavis (with a joyful squeal): “YES! Yes, I didn’t get the error message, it’s now asking me for my password.”
Hipster Apple: *sigh*
Fast forward to Mavis resolving her issue and profusely thanking me for my help.
End scene
F      I      N      I

As it turns out, I remembered reading about this same issue somewhere before (although exactly where for the life of me I can’t quite recall), and at the time it concerned either the iPhone 4 or 4S.  Whatever, it worked for Mavis.  Boo ya, self high five.

So my closing words of wisdom are: seriously, before you call your phone Carrier for a particularly annoying issue, take some time out and do your internet research, because there’s a huge chance that a thousand people have experienced the same problem that you are and have problem-shared and problem-solved somewhere on the wide wide Web, and you could save yourself 20-minutes of ear-gouging hold’ muzzik’ and having to deal with a perky call centre minion who’s spent the last few years living on a steady diet of caffeine, Ritalin and sunshine and wants nothing more than to focus their 75k watt mood on you.

Ok, I’ve got to go to bed now, I need to get enough sleep to allow myself to function at an almost human level tomorrow.  Nighty night all.


1 Comment »

  1. Thank you thank you thank you!!! I was having the same issue only my Wifi was off… I turned it back on and it seemed to be the magical impetus it needed. Yay!

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