I had explained it so vaguely, and he had filled in the explanation with assumptions, that he thought that the modem on the system was one that talked to the NIC, and they didn't support something or other. I asked him whether or not they supported the Network Interface Card that had come with the computer. He said that yes, they did, and that they did not support the internet connection, however, and it sounded to him as if the LAN were the problem. I wanted to know where this was coming from. He told me that since I was getting out onto the internet fine, then the NIC was just fine, and it was the problem with the configuration of the LAN. I wanted to know where he was getting this. He told me that my internet was going through my NIC. I told him that this was not the case, very definitely. He made polite, but skeptical sounds. I grew annoyed, in the fashion of my paternal clan. I could tell that he was not about to believe me. I straightened him out, with the object lesson of unplugging and removing the NIC and surfing the internet. He could hear the tweedles as the card was ejected, I described what was in my spamtrap folder, and I described the error message I got from unplugging the card without asking.
Once he got it in his head that yes, I did know what I was talking about, I described our actual DSL modem (in mildly colorful language), where it plugged in and with what kind of cords, and then the LAN. Evidently this was more complex than what this poor tech support fellow had dealt with before. (I did get put on hold a few times, and since I now know that on hold is often for talking with one's supervisor or telling co-workers what an idiot this one is... heh. Poor guy.)
After we got that straightened out, we got into the actual business of checking error points on the actual network, to rule in or out actual NIC problems. He put me on hold after having me check for any visibly bent pins or any such (now we're cooking!) and I puttered around pinging and ponging and plugging and unplugging. I found that through some whackhappiness, now Sorcha could get on the 'net (hmm, maybe a bad port on the switch?) but Acknar was still having errors. I pinged from Acknar, Google and Yahoo, and found the aforementioned redirects.
The tech support guy got back on, and I clarified that yes, plugging and unplugging shit seemed to have cleared up shit for the one box, and the other roommate's box ... well ... it had some serious spyware bad mojo going on, so it didn't look like a NIC problem after all, thank you for your time and help sir.
So I sat down with marxdarx and Spybot S&D and we poked at things. We tweaked some things, and tworked some others, and then he stopped pinging entirely (just sat there, no pings). He restarted, then when he was still unable to connect, we went back in and tworked back the things we'd fixed that were not obviously bad. Lo and behold, connectivity.
Who's the alpha geek?