Friday, February 23, 2007

Turned On and Plugged In

I have spent the past 30-some hours without internet service. I know, that's hardly any time at all. It nearly killed me. I have gotten so used to having it, being able to connect anytime I want, that its absence was like a dark presence.

What was the problem, you ask? I have no idea. My first reaction yesterday morning was to turn everything off, wait a few minutes, then turn it all back on again. This didn't work. So I did it again. I still got a message that I had failed to connect to the server. Along with a cheerful blinking icon that said my signal strength was very good. Grrrr. Random hurried attempts to "configure an available network" were unsuccessful. Probably because I have no idea what I'm doing there.

I gave up and went to work, priorities being what they are, where the internet connection was just fine; not that I could use it for anything personal, but it was reassuring to know I was the only one having this problem. Really. Very reassuring.

When I got home last night I resumed my efforts by clicking a bunch of options in that "network connections" thing. Probably this was a Bad Idea. I'm convinced I launched three rockets into space from Nebraska and initiated a firing sequence on an aircraft carrier somewhere, but I still could not connect to the server.

It was time for drastic measures. Yes, I called customer service. The first thing they did was turn me over to Tier 2 support. I knew I was in real trouble. They told me to go to the Start menu, click on Control Panel and we then proceeded through several pages until the tech said, "Tell me what is on your screen."

I told her and she said, "Really? You're sure? That shouldn't be there. Are you sure you only clicked what I told you to click?"

I admitted that maybe I had clicked a few more times on a few more things. I was curious. I'd never seen some of these things and I wanted to know what they were.

"Ma'am, please do not make any changes to that page. That page is not where your problem is. Yet. Please click Cancel until you get back to the "whatsis" page." She called it something else. I don't remember.

Sigh. It went on like this for 45 minutes. It's a good thing I had her there to hold [read: slap] my hand and tell me what to do or I'd still be there three days later, lost and wandering, distracted by all the shiny clickable things. If you are very small and ever need a place to hide, I now know some great places to do it.

How did we solve the problem? We didn't. The efforts came to a screeching halt when she said my modem was fine and suggested I bypass the wireless router and hook the modem's Ethernet cord directly to the remote hard drive, first disabling the modem and rebooting it by--

I thanked her for her remarkable patience and said it sounded like that would take some time, especially since I had to lug the remote hard drive in from the other room after first crawling under my desk to unplug it, and that I'd go ahead and do all that in the morning when I wasn't so tired. I promised to call her back if it didn't work. She was highly skeptical and wanted to stay on the line, but I had written down all her instructions and knew I could do this on my own. Plus I figured she didn't need to increase her vocabulary by listening while I did. She made me read back to her the instructions. Then strongly suggested I add a few things I'd apparently missed. Sigh.

So about midmorning I was feeling sufficiently brave (I had taken today off work -- though not so I could mess with this, thank you) and was all set to unplug and lug and reboot and whatever. But first I decided to try it one more time, just in case. Because sometimes hope just won't be silenced by cold hard facts.

I reattached the modem and router cords that I'd unplugged last night and turned the computer on. And was immediately connected to the server. Of course, I now also seem to have my choice of five networks. And a rocket launcher.

I have learned an important lesson from all this. It is highly technical. You may want to write it down so you can use it yourself someday. Ready? Here it is:

Sometimes it isn't enough to simply turn everything off. Sometimes you also have to unplug things.

The rest of today is for writing. In fact, the entire weekend is for writing. I'm thinking I may have to unplug a few things first.

10 comments:

Jennifer Talty said...

I would die without internet access.

Margaret said...

Glad you're back with us!
Now go get busy. We want to hear more about E. W. ASAP!

dee said...

I hate it when I don't have internet. Our satellite goes out in storms, and I just feel so darn disconnected. I'm so glad that you are back!
As for the unpluging things - that's awesome advice, especially relating to writing. Sometimes I really feel like that's what I need to do in order to get a scene down - just UNPLUG. Unplug my iPod, my kids, my phone, my kids, my brain, my kids, and just write.
Keep going, BCB, I can hardly wait to read more of your story!

GatorPerson said...

BCB, I forgot to tell you to unplug stuff. REALLY! We used to joke about it, shaking the bad electrons out. Sometimes that was just what was needed. I want a rocket launcher.

Mary said...

Um, GP? You forgot that your instructions were actually a two step process.

Step 1. Unplug stuff
Step 2. Plug it back in again.

Never forget step 2.

Personally, I suspect that darn cat of yours has been surging the net while you weren't looking. One careless swipe of the tail and the price of catnip is suddenly wayyy down. Highly suspicious.

xqagq - a new vocabulary word in the computer customer service department

orangehands said...

you hadn't tried that before they called? huh.

i had to go without internet for the first two weeks at school. it was horrible. i communicate through email and CB land. i hate the phone.

rssasrb said...

Going without access is the pits of the pits because I can't chat with my friends. I've had trouble getting the server this weekend and finally DH unplugged everything and found low and behold--the boys had plugged things in the wrong slots.

Where's your ch 1 I keep hearing about? I'd love to read it

Jennifer Talty said...

What? The site map tells me I'm from Nebraska? Gee, when did I move?

btuda said...

BCB - thanks. I needed that laugh today. And don't forget step 3: If it's already broke, a few more slaps, slams and smacks will not hurt.

My sister is eagerly awaiting her brand new computer today (her first of her own). I told her to give me a call if she has any trouble hooking it up. *snort* Talk about the blind leading the blind. If worse comes to worse, I'll just crawl under my computer desk and ask the dust bunnies for their tech support.

multyfpv: multi-freakin' point of view - I think I read that book.

orangehands said...

so, when do we get the next post? or excerpt? i'm willing, either way.