Internet Hell

I don’t like to wax political, seriously religious or hideously negative in public, especially not on my blog where everyone wants and deserves a cheerful message from me. In this case, however, I’m making an exception–not because I’m full of venom (I am), but in the sincere hope that no one else suffers what I have gone through with my ISP over the last month and in particular the last five days. Here’s my story:

About a month ago it seemed to me that my outgoing email was not working very well. I could not pin anything down, but it seemed I was not receiving replies from those I had emailed. Being busy with the impending holidays and family arrivals from abroad, I had little time to investigate, so I let things slide.

With the holidays past, I suddenly realized that really NONE of my emails had been sent. Neither had they been stored as drafts or in my outbox. Those emails simply disappeared!

Last Thursday (this is Tuesday following), I began taking the matter seriously and launched a set of phone calls to the Customer Service for my ISP, SafariCom. I got through on a couple of calls and was sent settings for the Internet that helped not at all. I received those on Friday morning, and when I tried to call back to ask whether there was anything else Customer Service could recommend, I found the lines busy.  I called every half hour the rest of the day on Friday and all day on Saturday, only to receive a tape-recorded message that “all our agents are busy, please call again later, goodbye!” Not very helpful, wouldn’t you say?

In the meantime, my stepdaughter, who is usually pretty clue’d up about such matters, rang up on another matter and I asked her what she knew about what was going on with SafariCom. She said she’d heard they were performing a major upgrade. How she finds out such tidbits of useful information is something she’ll never tell me, but she must have been correct. That explains why I could not get through to Customer Service for the following three days–everybody else in the country was seeking help as well!

By Sunday morning I had given up trying to get any help from SafariCom’s Customer Service. They probably don’t work on Sundays anyway!

On Monday, I contacted my web host, Derry Thompson of Gloderworks. Derry worked personally with me for about three hours yesterday, even accessing my computer remotely via TeamViewer (too cool!) to see what was going on behind the scenes. Everything suggested something sinister: that some mysterious third party was snatching my outgoing email and diverting it elsewhere, for who knew what malicious and threatening purposes!

When Derry and I exhausted all the possibilities with no joy, and I was on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown over this affair, the “third party” idea stuck with me and I began to inventory what there was about my computer that might behave in such a manner.

Finally, I thought to disconnect from iCloud. With a Mac and an iPad, I always thought I needed iCloud as well.  More fool, me! Never believe everything you hear; some people just want to control you and sell you more stuff!

The results:

  • My outgoing emails have not been sent for the last month. Can you imagine the mess that has made of my life?!
  • I have accomplished no real work for the last five days spent grappling with all the possible causes of this email failure.
  • Derry lost three hours of his time trying to help me.
  • SafariCom doesn’t want to know about it.


Now, however, my computer and my email and my ISP are all working together beautifully, enabling me to bring you this important message:

  • If you live in Kenya and use SafariCom as your ISP, expect never to be told in advance of any changes SafariCom makes in their systems. They do this work, necessary and expected though it is, without informing their subscribers to anticipate any difficulties with their equipment. If you live anywhere else in the world, the situation is probably the same for you. Change is happening all around us all the time; get used to it and learn to love not knowing in advance when change is about to affect your Internet Service.
  • If you have made no changes to settings on your devices that would account for any problems you are experiencing, chances are really good that whatever is happening is not your fault. You have done nothing differently to make your device misbehave, therefore the root of the problem must lie elsewhere.
  • Do not waste your time trying to get help from your ISP Customer Service, especially if your ISP is SafariCom. Most of the time they are worse than useless, serving only to waste even more of your time and buffering you from receiving information from anyone at SafariCom who would actually know what they are talking about. Besides, they will waste much more of your time with their “all our agents are busy, please call again later, goodbye!” messages.

Now, here’s what you should do to remedy the situation:

  • Assume settings over which you have no control have been changed and act accordingly.
  • Make screen shots or take copious notes about all the settings that are presently on your devices. They are probably useless now because it seems most devices receive their settings from the ISPs automatically, but you never know, you might actually need to restore those existing settings.
  • Strip your devices of any Internet settings that might presently be active. That’s right, take yourself right off the Internet. Clean it all up, shut it all down and sleep on it. For me working on a Mac, that meant going to System Preferences and deleting all the possible Network connections and signing out of iCloud. Similarly, I stripped all the settings off the Android phone I use to make a tethered connection via wi-fi to my Mac. I reset the phone to its factory settings and sacrificed all my loaded apps to do it. I’ll have to waste more time reloading some of those apps, but hey! everyplace deserves a good housecleaning from time to time, right?!
  • Get up the next morning and turn on all your devices. They will ask you for any information they need, which as I say is not much as they get most of it off the Internet but you may have to enter security codes and passwords–not a big deal.

If none of this works for you, and after having done all this your computer or tablet or whatever doesn’t work on the Internet, ring up your supplier and ask whether your device has suddenly become obsolete. That happened with my old eMac. We woke up one morning to find that it no longer spoke Internet and could never again be used, despite its being a perfectly good computer in excellent working order. Maybe it’s because that computer did not have the Intel chip, but who knows?! The point is that when ALL else fails, your supplier will be delighted to sell you a new device.

Try to find a way to recycle the old one, won’t you?!


Note: I make no warranties about the advice I give you here. When it comes to the Internet, ISPs and device sellers, clearly, you’re on your own!!


Filed under People

10 Responses to Internet Hell

  1. Dena, what a nightmare! Sorry you’ve been so inundated with these problems. Makes living in the South (The South to us in the US) an even sweeter deal. Good luck for things to run more smoothly. Go and stitch some strips together–it will make you feel much better. Rayna Gillman calls it “therapy sewing.”
    Martha Ginn

    • Thanks, Martha! That’s the best advice I’ve had in the last month! Problem is, I can’t do it cause I’m too busy getting my new site launched. I’m editing and improving all of my online classes to make them the best ever, and it’s a bigger job than I expected! I think it will be worth it in the long run, though, and I’m totally committed! Cheers!

  2. As I work for a small internet company in Cheyenne, Wyoming, I can understand your plight. but I have root access to our mail server so I can fix stuff!! sounds like you have a badly run ISP, and you should make plans to change it, if you can. Customer service? surely you jest!! Bob in India is a national , not very kind joke, in the US… but then, our clients think I am from India too and I have to let them talk to my boss and he tells them it is OK to speak to me, that I am from the OTHER Indies!! (Jamaica!) for the Cloud thing?? trust but verify, as Ronald Reagan used to say.

    • Hi, Phillippa! Thanks for your sympathy, but I’m working with what is probably the best ISP in Kenya! And the outsourcing for Customer Service is to a local company. They have agents on the ground here to deal with customers on a face-to-face basis. The problem is, I think, that they are all young people who are not well paid and who become discouraged listening to people like me complain all the time! The turnover is probably high, the training minimal, and the attitudes of upper management insensitive to the plights of customers. I suppose it all comes down to a question of money . . .

  3. Make friends with one of the technicians in the nearest office of your ISP and give him regular gifts of mango ice-cream. Present him with your phone or computer whenever things are out of sync. Hey, it works for me.

    • Thanks, Dawn–I love your comments! Unfortunately for me, my nearest functional ISP office is in Nakuru, a two-hour drive over dismal roads, away! And I’m not at all certain they have any technicians in that office. I’ll find out, though, and give your idea a try.

      You know, the sad thing is that SafariCom is actually pretty good. They do keep us connected most of the time and I’m sure through some very difficult experiences they must have on their end. My complaint is, as always, with their Customer Service. It’s outsourced, I believe, to people whose primary function seems to be keeping customers from getting the help they really need! Especially when they don’t keep enough agents and telephone lines operating to handle all their telephone traffic. You’d think, working for a mobile phone company, they could manage a little better!

      Anyway, great to hear from the folks in Watamu! Been nearly a year since I was last there, but I remember it fondly!! Lovely place for a holiday!!

  4. Leigh-Anne

    Same in South Africa….. :( I’m so used to trouble shooting issues myself

  5. Sally Heron

    Thanks for the tips and sorry to hear about your internet stress. Coincidentally, this very day I signed out of iCloud after syncing problems obliterated all my reminders. I don’t intend to reopen it EVER!

    • I certainly do sympathize, Sally. It seems like iCloud should be a very good thing, enabling us to work from anywhere we happen to be and always keeping everything we’re doing synchronized across devices. It probably will be fabulous in another ten years or so, but for those of us on dodgy Internet connections, it may well be worthwhile to avoid it if possible.

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