Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I never wanted to get a computer. I suspected it was not advancement at all, but a new "convenience" that would prove to be far more trouble than it was worth. But we wouldn't figure it out until we were so used to it that it was too late to get rid of it.
I was so right.
I have replaced sound cards, talked through geek sessions as some stranger across the country took control of my computer and tried to figure out why it hated me.
I've watched people link two computers together, switching back and forth as they transferred information from one to another.
I've watched my Handsome Significant Other, generally a sweet and gentle man, turn into a raving lunatic as the technology in his studio burps, rattles or wheezes and refuses to show him why.
And this week, I seriously considered tossing my computer out a second story window.
I woke and went to my office, prepared to go to work, and discovered that I couldn't get online. Not at all. I'm working at home temporarily, and my computer is on a network with HSO's downstairs. I don't like to mess with his stuff...he's a Mac guy and I've got a PC and I might get PC cooties on his cool computer. But he was fast asleep, having been working most of the night.
So I plowed ahead because without a computer and an online connection, I cannot work.
I don't get newspapers - I read them online. I type scripts, voice stories and do interviews all through my computer, then use the internet to feed them to the station's ftp site. It's all smoke, mirrors and remote magic. But there was no magic at my house and suddenly I was stopped cold.
First, I had to call my internet provider, Time Warner Cable. I have learned the secret of their automated operator....when she insists on calmly walking me through a repair instead of letting me talk to a human, I say "customer representative." Those two words are like "alakazam!"...they silence the recorded assistant and she meekly connects me. Or she used to.
Time Warner has caught on. Now when I said "customer representative!" her response was a placid, "Well, I realize you want to speak with a customer representative, but I think we should continue. I think we're on our way to solving your problem."
She THINKS? Really? Now THIS is innovation.
Well, I got past her with a second "CUSTOMER REPRESENTATIVE!" I don't know if it was what I said or how I said it. I know I wouldn't have wanted to talk to me anymore.
So I got a perfectly nice human, she told me to get on the floor, crawl behind the desk, pull out every plug I could find, run upstairs, turn off my computer, run back downstairs, turn the modem back on, then run around and cluck like a chicken until I ran out of breath. Okay. She didn't tell me to do that. But that's pretty much what I did.
And we determined, after 45 minutes, that the problem was the router.
That's the little box that enables us to both connect to the same internet cable. So I called work, explained what was going on, apologized profusely, and drove half an hour to the nearest store that carried such things.
Most of the ones they had were wireless. Apparently they don't want us to use wires anymore.
I'm not going for that one, thank you. You already roped me into this computer thing. That's enough for me.
I came home and had to wake up HSO. The new router had an installation CD and I couldn't figure out how to open up the CD disc tray on the Mac. I felt pretty awful waking him out of a sound sleep, but I was way late and I honestly didn't want to install a damned thing on his computer without him knowing about it.
He stumbled downstairs, looked at the wreckage that used to be his office, looked back at me and just said, "Really?" I apologized again.
So not only does it turn out that the Mac didn't need the CD...there's a key to open that tray right on the keyboard, though it's not marked in any way that I might recognize. Golly, those Macs are so darned intuitive.
So HSO got the new router up and running, we both were miraculously back on the internet, I thanked him profusely and ran upstairs to go back to work.
And then the printer went on the fritz.
That second story window is looking really good right now. Just don't know if it'll be the computer or me flying out of it.