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HELP FILE: Verizon's missing system-status page; finding Dish's digital-TV DVR

By Rob Pegoraro
Sunday, July 18, 2010; G03

Q: Verizon DSL has been up and down for two weeks in the Springfield area. Is it just me, or is there some bigger issue going on here?

A: In this case -- as with a similar pattern of outages in Georgetown a former colleague complained about two weeks ago -- Verizon's problem only starts with spotty service. The company also doesn't give individual customers an easy way to see if it's just them suffering, their block or an entire neighborhood.

Unlike most Internet providers, Verizon no longer maintains a system-status page on its site that users could check -- presumably, with a smartphone or a borrowed computer elsewhere. But it hasn't taken down its former status page (http://verizon.net/systemstatus) either, leading customers who find it from a Web search to think that Verizon has "Nothing to report."

Spokesman Harry Mitchell wrote in an e-mail Friday afternoon that the company was "looking at reinstituting" a system-status page but didn't have any details on that. (As for the Springfield situation, he said Verizon had "nothing major" in the area but volunteered to contact the reader who had e-mailed earlier that day.)

I tried to buy the DTVPal DVR you reviewed last year, but Dish Network doesn't seem to sell it.

Here's another case of poor site maintenance -- the link for this digital video recorder on Dish Network's site goes nowhere. Dish spokesman Marc Lumpkin e-mailed that Kmart sells this device, which records over-the-air digital TV broadcasts in high-definition. (Sears once did also but no longer lists it online).

Meanwhile, another manufacturer, Channel Master, now sells its own version, the CM-7000PAL.

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or robp@washpost.com. Visit http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward for his Faster Forward blog.

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