Thursday, April 14, 2016

Another Adventure in Tech Support

“I haven’t heard from Betty all day; I’m disappointed.”

As I reported earlier,  our year has gotten off to a rocky start and Ellie has recently been texting her California sister quite regularly about what’s going on.

Most recently, they had spoken on the phone about a facility for their brother. This was the subject of some controversy, our visit to the facility changed our minds about the controversy and we shared our new thoughts with Betty in California.  Ellie had expected to hear from Betty the next day, after Betty had had some time to digest our input. But the day came and went without a word.
“I haven’t heard from Betty all day; I’m disappointed, Ellie said.
Ellie and Betty were playing the smartphone game Words with Friends, which has a chat capability; Betty sent a message over the line. “So, did I say something to offend you? I’ve texted you half a dozen, a dozen times and you’re not responding.” Ellie read this aloud.

“What the heck?” Ellie asked, as if I’d know something.

“I dunno.”

Ellie phoned Betty. Betty had been texting Ellie throughout the day and was perplexed that Ellie was not responding. Ellie had gotten none of the texts.

Betty was able to text me; Ellie was able to text her. Betty’s husband’s phone could text Ellie. It was only Betty’s phone that was not getting through to Ellie’s.

After Mass the next day, we visited our carrier’s local store. The young woman thought perhaps providing a new SIM card would do the trick. Nope; made no difference. She then got very busy with fingers flying all over in Settings, she said something about “blocking,” and said that a full phone reset was the next step. As we didn’t have a memory card, the flying fingers started a backup of all Ellie’s photos ( of which there are many ) to Photos in the cloud. “That will take a while because you have not done that and you have a lot of photos,” she said. “When the synching is complete, perform a reset. Or come back and we can do it for you.”

While a full reset was unappealing in the extreme, being without texting during this time was even less appealing. So, returning home, I called our carrier’s tech support. She had me turn Ellie’s phone off, she disconnected it from its cell tower, and had me turn the phone on again. This reconnected the phone, but had no impact on the phone’s ability to receive text messages from Betty. She connected me to their tech people.

I told the story. “I think I know what’s happening,” he said, with little hesitation. I followed his instructions. "Please open Messaging, make sure you’re on the main Messaging window, tap the Menu, tap Settings, tap Spam Filter. Is it ON?”

“Yes, it is,” I said.

“Tap it. Tap Add to Spam Numbers.” There is was, big as life:

Somehow, after the last message Friday, Ellie had identified Betty’s phone number as a source of spam, blocking text messages from that number. I deleted Betty’s number, called her to send a test text, and it came right away. Problem solved.

I told the tech on the phone that I felt a little like the guy who couldn’t get his computer to start and then realized it was not plugged in. He said this is very common, very easy to accidentally do, he’s done it, not to feel bad. I thanked him and hung up. Betty’s subsequent barrage of smiley faces told me she was laughing at me/us harder than the tech guy.

Then I realized how foolish it is to be able to so easily, inadvertently and unknowingly block a text message sender. I also realized how foolish it is that I had to contact our carrier three times to get this simple problem resolved. No way I should have had to make three calls for such a simple item.

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