Instant obsolescence is pervasive in the world of high tech. As soon as an electronics device or piece of software is out the door, on the drawing board is yet another product that is scheduled to replace it in due course.
While I could be referring to the iPhone 6 or Apple’s next operating system for Macs, this post was actually triggered by the recent demise of my DSL modem manufactured by Motorola. Distributed by AT&T as part of its U-verse Internet service, Motorola’s modem (model no. NVG510) lasted just a little more than 2 years before succumbing to hardware failure. In comparison, the previous modem that I owned and used (an Alcatel 1000) ran continuously for 13 years. Whenever the Alcatel dropped an Internet signal, all I had to do was unplug and then replug the power cable and I was back online. Granted, its download and upload speeds were slow as molasses, but at least the equipment was reliable.
Because of the Motorola hardware failure, I have been offline at my office for the past week and have been forced to use public wi-fi spots to go online. This is a real nuisance, especially since I just started taking an 8-week training class that requires many hours watching videos and entering data on Facebook. Due to a current backlog, AT&T support staff mentioned that I would not be receiving a replacement modem for at least another day and possibly two. When I asked whether I could go out and buy a generic modem from an office supply store, the AT&T rep said that those modems would probably not work on the U-verse network. Because the Motorola modem was over a year old (which exceeds AT&T’s hardware warranty period), all AT&T could offer me for the extended delay was to provide credit for the $100 retail price of the replacement modem.
In the distant past before the original AT&T was forced by divestiture to break up into smaller units, the company was known as Ma Bell. There’s nothing motherly or helpful about the type of customer support that is being offered to me by this mega-corporation.