H…how did you know?

…Because they give shitty basement apartments letters instead of numbers.

The new digs are noticeably larger (approximately the same floor space, but with fewer rooms), but the entire place has an unreasonable funk. There was mildew growing on the sweaty refrigerator, there’s a large black clump of mold growing in the air conditioner, and the kitchen cabinets all have freshly-applied plywood to the bottom.

It has “severe water damage” written all over it, though I had no choice. I had to take the day off a couple Mondays ago to go apartment shopping, and it was one of three available on such short notice (the rest taken by college students).

Creepily, while moving out of my old place, a Comcast “home installation representative” stopped by to pick up my cable modem. I didn’t call for any such “representative,” nor did I inform Comcast that I was moving out. I gave him my old-old cable modem, which the last technician forgot to take with him months earlier, and kept the newer-old modem to give to the Comcast people.

When I had first moved in, I got the new modem hooked up and everything worked fine, without even having to go through Comcast’s bullshit proxy registration thing. So this points me towards one of four narratives:

  1. Paranoiac The FBI has me under close scrutiny and was afraid I would discover their hardware on my cable modem. The man was an agent sent to recover their equipment.
  2. Suspicious Comcast screwed up the proxy setup (aka “break the network so you have to pay to unbreak it”) with the particular firmware revision on the cable modem in question. This particular fuck-up slipped past their QA procedures, and it was determined that it would be cheaper to simply disable the authentication proxy for those models than perform a recall and send their union technicians back around to every home which has a cable modem with the offending firmware—which also risks people discovering such a flaw and exploiting it for free broadband.
  3. Smirking The man was a con artist attempting to collect rewards offered by Comcast for the return of missing cable modems.
  4. Naive Comcast has helpful representatives who cruise the neighborhoods looking for people who are moving out, so they can get their cable modems back and we don’t get fined.

Unfortunately, because I’d been moving myself and two friends, I didn’t think to try the old cable modem at the new place (just in case it was #2) before I turned it in. The woman at Comcast attempted a “transfer” of the old equipment first, but could not get it to go through because I had the newer-old modem for less than three months. I asked if I could just keep the modem at the new place and try the transfer again in a week (which would have been two days ago), but she wouldn’t give it “back” once she had started the turn-in form on her computer. By handing her my newer old modem, I was condemning myself to waiting until next Saturday for their (overworked) installers to come by my new place.

I realize now that we have all become mechanized. Yeah, rants about bureaucracy are clichéd now, but that does not rob them of their accuracy.

2 thoughts on “H…how did you know?

  1. Many years ago (back when I was in high school… about seven or eight years ago) we had Excite@Home service. We went out shopping for a DOCSIS 1.1 modem because, in time, it would pay itself off as long as the network didn’t upgrade and we kept the service. We took that gamble and saved a few bucks each month on rental. That lasted for about 12 hours before the service went down for a couple of weeks — that company (@HOME) was in turmoil and the shareholders finally pushed the corporation to shut down its operations (including my service) to stop the hemmoraging of remaining assets. It was then sold to AT&T Broadband, who were much better at mangaging that operation. Then it became what we know now as Comcast. Anyway, history lesson aside, somewhere in the gulag of customer databases, my modem became a ghost. When my dad cancelled the service because he didn’t use it, he kept digital cable tv and it turns out that there must’ve been some kind of small band on which the modem was still able to communicate (maybe it shared with the data stream that went tot he box?). It provided about 15KB/s up and down, which, though painful, was very acceptable for free. Evidently, they didn’t run a report on customers who had their own modems/MACs provisioned through the network and it was overlooked. It operated all through the summer until the next summer. Damn.

    Just another in the pile of stories about cable piracy and the disorganized company that provides it. I like your paranoid theories about the “rep” that showed up. I’ve seen a lot of outside contractors for Comcast driving around this fall to do installations and with as bad as Comcast’s customer service is already I sure as hell wouldn’t want to have one of them in my home… just IMAGINE what you’d have to go through to get somethign done about some nefarious shit that might happen during the install.

  2. Huh. I’ve never even heard of these guys before, let alone had one interrupt me while I’m wheeling some boxes to the rental van.

    I suppose my cynicism wasn’t quite as far in the red as it should’ve been; I didn’t even consider that they would have a three week installation backlog while their employees are cruising around for moving vans lest some modems go missing.

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