CC3000 Wifi shielf - no wifi module found

Hey guys.

I'm pulling out what little hair i have left.

UNO R3.
cc3000 wifi shield.

both attached, usb tether and an external power source.

I have tried every example. tried every tutorial and yet to no avail - "Wifi module not present."

i even went and purchased a esp8266 and i'm having the exact same issue. - i have added in the resistors as well. nothing. nada zip zilch.

I don't know if i can update the firmware on the cc3000 as A; no connection and B: no micro/mini usb connection.

Please can someone help as i am ready to just jack this whole thing in. 3 weeks is enough screwing around on what should be a simple connection.