Sam called again! 11.00 am.
First, he talked me through doing "shutdown -a". This time he included the
all-important space! The command should abort an ongoing shutdown, I think this
was his way to cure my computer of its annoying reboots.
Then he sent me to ammyy.com, and hey, the computer didn't reboot! There's a
clear warning on that page, not to give unknown people access to your computer,
but I ignored that, and clicked on "Start working with Ammyy Admin (it's free)".
Or at least, that's what I told Sam. And it started downloading the software.
Or at least, that's what I told Sam. For a long time. He kept asking me if it
had finished downloading , and I kept saying "not yet". Then I asked him how
long it should take to download, and he said "a few minutes". So I told him I'd
wait a few minutes.
And we waited.
And waited. It was stuck on three minutes.
Then he talked me through trying to download it again, but it wouldn't do that because it was already downloading.
So he guessed that I have a loose connection to the internet, and asked me to check it. And I checked it by unplugging it, and then I told him that I had. So he told me to plug it in again.
Then he told me to type join.me.com into the run box, and silly me typed join.ne, and the browser couldn't find it. So he asked me to check if the power switches were all on. Heh. We did this before, let's do it again ... I turned them off.
Sam, I think, has had enough. He's passed me over to Flora Adams, a senior manager there. Hey, I've been escalated! And she told me to switch the switches back on again. So I did that. I should mention here, that these switches are quite a long way from my phone, so it's all taking a long time...
She asked me to make sure that I was connected to the internet. "How do I make sure?" I asked. "There's a white box near your computer, with green lights". So I went to have a look. "No white box here," I reported. "Can you see if something is blinking with green colours?" So I went and had another look. "Well, there's no white box, but there is a blue box. Is that the wrong box? Maybe that's why I'm having a problem?"
"Not a problem, it's OK, you don't need that". "I'll go and switch it off, then."
She got quite aeriated. "It doesn't matter the colour, it can be white, blue or yellow. You have to switch it on again." So I went back and switched it on again.
"You know that none of the lights are on? Except a red light? On the blue box?" Flora thought that this didn't matter, and talked me through going to join.me again. Which, of course, didn't work. And I reminded her that on the blue box, none of the lights were green.
The blue box, of course, is entirely fictitious.
So then she asked me if the internet was connected, and I said "How can I tell?" And she didn't have a suggestion, so I remembered that Sam had told me I could do that by checking my email.
When I got back from that, Flora had gone and Sam was back. So I said I wanted Flora, because, frankly, Sam, you've been trying to help me for a long time, and I know you're doing your best, but to be honest, you aren't making much progress, whereas I felt that Flora was getting somewhere ...
And I got Flora back. She's nice, I like Flora, she doesn't shout at me like Sam does sometimes. Although when she gets a frustrated, I can hear a bit of an edge in her voice.
So Flora asked me to make sure that all the wires were properly connected. And I suggested that the way to do that was to unplug them all and plug them back in again, and she agreed, so I did that.
"You've done a brilliant job," she said. "Thank you." "I think you're really intelligent," "Thank you." "What do you do for a living." "I'm a cook, No, I'm a chef. Well, I'm really a cook, but I like to call myself a chef." "What is your favourite dish?" And I cheekily said "Curry". And when she asked what recipe, I was caught in a trap of my own making, but fortunately she didn't pursue that and went straight to "How old is your computer?" "About 8 or ten years old". "That's really old" "Yes, but not as old as my typewriter." This fictitious typewriter is my alibi for all the typing noises that they can hear over the phone while my computer is supposedly rebooting or whatever. None of them have wondered why I would have a typewriter.
So she talked me through going to www.fastsupport.com. They give a warning "Be cautious if you receive unsolicited requests to access your computer.
Only join support sessions with people you recognize and trust." She reassured me about that, she works for Microsoft, and it's a Microsoft web site, so everything is fine.
Then she gave me a support number, so I typed in something else, clicked on "Continue" and got "invalid support key". So then she gave me another key, but I didn't erase the previous key when I typed it in, so I got "invalid support key" again. So she told me to erase the previous key and type in that second key, and again I got "invalid support key".
She passed me over to Sam. He gave me a third key, and that gave "invalid support key". And then we lost connection. Maybe Sam hung up on me, maybe they really do have comms problems.
Flora called back immediately, so maybe it is a comms problem they have. And she talked me through going to ammyy.com. And the computer rebooted.
So then she talked me through going to join.me. So I went to that web site (really, but using a Linux box) and she asked me what I saw, and I told her, and she asked me to click on the orange button "Start meeting." But there wasn't an orange button, just a green one "join meeting". "Click on that," she said, so I did, and up popped a box asking for a nine digit code.
"No," she said, "Click on the orange arrow." "There is no orange arrow" "Yes there is" "No, there isn't." This went on for a while, and then I said "Would you like me to send you a screen shot, because you obviously don't believe me." And, of course, she doesn't want a screen shot because that would mean she'd have to give an email address. So we riffed on that for a while, she being sure that there should be an orange arrow, and me pointing out that there's an orange box saying "Upcoming system maintenance", and offering to send a screen shot and she asks me "Why aren't you seeing the orange arrow," and me saying, "Well, it's your web site, how would I know what's going wrong?" because they've been claiming that all these remote support sites are actually theirs.
And then she suggested that she call me back later, and it's 12:22, and she and Sam between them have now spent more than an hour.
Oh, and now I'm going to report the three code numbers that they gave me, to the "fastsupport.com" people as being used by scammers.