The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

An overheard technical support phone call conversation, including sound effects

Welcome to The Monopolistic Phone Company Technical Support. [They actually never said the company name—my bad. —Editor] Your call may be monitored for quality assurance. The expected hold time is currently 1 minute. Please wait for the next available—”

“Hello, this is Bob, how may—” click.

“Hello? Hello? Bob? Are you there Bob? Bob?”

Welcome to The Monopolistic Phone Company Technical Support. Your call may be monitored for quality assurance. The expecte—”

“Hello, this is Bob, how may I help you?”

“One of our clients is trying to send email to and your email servers are rejecting the traffic from our customer's machine. ”

“So you can't get your email?”

“No. One of our clients is trying to send email to one of your customers and the connection is being dropped. I checked from another one of our servers on a different block of IP addresses, and was able to send a message sucessfully. I then checked from a machine I have access to in Boston, and I was able to sucessfully send a message. But not from our client's machine.”

“So your client can't get his email?”

“No. Our client. Wants to. Send. Email. To one of. Your customers!” (cue FX of Star Trek fight music) “Your. Email server. Refusing. Connections.”

“Let me check something.” (cue FX of Girl from Ipanema) “Tell your customer to check his firewall or viral software configuration and have it pass through the traffic.”

“It's not a firewall or viral software because there isn't a firewall or viral software to check the configuration on, but if you like, I'll lie and say that I've already checked that and that's not the issue. The issue is that The Monopolistic Phone Company's mail servers are refusing the connection from our client's email server.”

“Hold on.” (cue FX of more Girl from Ipanema) “The Monopolistic Phone Company does not block any traffic of any of our clients—”

It's connections to your network!

“Oh. Um. Please hold.” (cue FX of 70s porn music) “Sir?”

“Yes, I'm here. We were discussing The Monopolistic Phone Company blocking network traffic.”

“The Monopolistic Phone Company does not block incoming network traffic.”


“And if your client is having troubles with email—”

“Could you please repeat back the problem then?”

“Um … ”

“Humor me. Please.”

“Your client cannot send email to our client.”

“Basically yes. I'm trying to find out if you have implemented anti-spam measures, one of which is blocking IP address, and if so, have our client's IP address removed from the anti-spam block.”

“Well, I just read that our company is starting to roll out such a feature so I'll have to investigate to see if it's in affect. So can I have your name?”

“Yes. It's Sean Conner. I work for The Company and our phone number is 515-555-1234. My email address is ‘’.”

“Thank you sir. We'll contact you in a few hours.”

“Can I get the ticket number for this?”

“The what?”

“Ticket number. So when I call back, I can say this is in reference to ticket number so-n-so.”

“When you call back, just say you talked to Bob at Dialup Support. I'm afraid we're using a new ticket system and I get the ticket number.”


“Oh wait … please hold.” (cue FX of theme from The God Father) “Sorry, here's the ticket number. In just. A. Second. It's TMPC000666000FU.”

“That's ‘tango mike papa charlie zero zero zero six six six zero zero zero foxtrot uniform,’ right?”


“Thank you.”

“I'll look into this and email you a report in a few hours. And thank you for calling The Monopolistic Phone Company Dialup Technical Support Line.”

“You're welcome.”


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