computer woes

I’ve been having computer/Internet problems for the past week or so but finally seem to have worked it out. I’ve had this laptop system since August and had zero problems. Then last week, all of a sudden I was unable to get online. I have the old fashioned dial up communications and could listen in on the comm protocol to see if I could hear what was happening. Sure enough, my modem all of a sudden wasn’t dialing correctly. It was putting something on the line that caused an operator intercept and my error box indicated that we were getting no carrier from the far end modem- which was absolutely true. After exhausting all the thing I knew to do, over and over again, I gave up and figured that my modem itself had crashed. Bought another modem and had the exact same problem. I went back to the thoughts that it was a cockpit problem and took all the equipment to Tommy’s – the family IT dept. He did pretty much all the same things I did but guess what, it worked at his house. I then had him hook up the original modem and sure enough, it didn’t work. That pretty much confirmed that my diagnosis of a bad modem was correct. Brought the gear home, plugged it in and all was well with the world – for 3 days. Then back to the exact same problem. Has to be something in my house so I went over to my neighbor’s and hooked up to his telephone line. Same thing so my line isn’t the problem. Can’t imagine a problem that would allow a modem to work for a while and then stop, never again to work. Out of desperation, I called AOL suspecting somewhere along the line they had maybe changed software and I needed an upgrade. Turns out I might be on the right track and learned that the AOL software installed was for desktops not laptops and the problem I was having was exactly the symptom for that situation. So I suspect the original modem is just fine. They’re sending me the correct version of AOL or I could go to the library and download using wi-fi . That’s what I hate about these machines – they do things that are just weird and defy logic. Who would guess that something could work for months with the wrong software and then one day just decide it had had enough? That’s what the guys at Toyota are scratching their heads about.

Hold it, late breaking news – installed the new AOL software by downloading it at the library. Still doesn’t work. I’m right on the edge of throwing in the towel and going celibnet – no more internet. The only thing that has kept me wrestling with it has been my bride but at this point I’m ready to throw her under the bus with the laptop. The Carbone IT dept has flown the coop – I guess it’s just fair because I was probably on some business trip when he was having trouble with a math problem or something. Payback is a bitch. Nancy keeps suggesting I go to the Apple store where I’d be interfacing with somebody just past being a teenager who has no idea what a dialup modem is and suggest it would work just fine on DSL. My big hangup with that is a question in my mind whether I could hear that and not smash the laptop over his head. After reason has been exhausted it’s violence and that’s where I am.

Another chapter – decided to call the modem folks again and this time got a guy that really felt my pain and seemed to know all about the modem-Mac interface. I worked with this guy for nearly an hour at which time he announced that both of my modems were bad. I have to believe that the likelihood of me having two modems crater with the same failure mode is as close to zero as you can get. The fact that the modem guy didn’t think so bothers me just a bit. I think in my computer lifetime I never had a modem die and now to have two within such a short time………………………. So this story isn’t over and it may never have a happy ending. One big impact is that Nancy now wants to combine going to the library with having lunch or dinner out a couple times a week. So if this situation isn’t rectified in a few weeks, all of a sudden getting a satellite link starts to make economic sense. Talk about being backed into a corner.

These kind of happenings really make me nervous when I hear that the postal service is crashing as people leave traditional mail for electronic communications. I’m one of those guys that just know one day we are going to wake up and find that the world is down electronically through some scurrilous hacker activity or a natural phenomena that totally screws up the earth’s magnetic fields. Living in the woods, I’m halfway there all the time but the city folk will be jumping off the roofs of their high rises. If I just unhook now I can sit back and wait for the big event knowing I won’t be nearly as inconvenienced as the techy world.

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