Computer hassles

Trying to get my banking and stuff done before we go, so naturally my computer had to throw a wrench in it. Last night the ‘Network Cable unplugged’ flag popped up. No cats around to make that the literal truth, but all the blinky lights had gone out on my router. The little transformer had fried. Tried substitute power supply from junk box with the right voltage and the right plug but way less amperage, no joy. Tried universal power supply set to 4.5v (it doesn’t do 5.0v, how universal is that?) briefly loaded home page then quit. Cranked it up to 6.0v, frenzied activity from the blinky lights, no surf. Shut it all down. Today I cadged the right kind of power supply from Joe at Wilson’s, and when I say the right kind, I mean it was even a D-Link. Multi-meter confirmed 5v output, but router not impressed. Blinky lights dim, sad. Decided router fried by dying power supply last night. Reduced to slag by massive surge of seven or eight volts. Bought new router, fancy, wireless even, and brought it home. Not much in the mood for configuring a router tonight, so first tried the new unit’s power supply on the old router. Blinky lights strong, blinky lights filled with purpose. Surf’s up!

Well, that saved an hour or more, because the ‘quick-start guide’ for the new router begins by cheerfully suggesting that I pop the ‘software CD into an online computer’. Grit my teeth at that one. If I had a router, I’d be online. If I was online, I wouldn’t be buying a router. I know, I know, I’m supposed to bypass the router and patch straight into the modem and proceed as if this was my first router. Actually, it’s my third, I was an early adopter of broadband, and once paid over $400.00 for a ‘residential gateway’ that was basically a two-port router. I had to order it from Far Far Away. You configured it by patching it to a serial port and typing magical incantations on the keyboard. Think I killed it trying to give it a firmware upgrade from the twenty first century. Maybe it suddenly realized that Y2K had come and gone and threw itself under a bus on the information superhighway rather than face the future.

No, that turns out to be a pack of mis-spokenisms. It was August 2003 when I got it, and I hooked it up to a com port, not a serial port. First I had to re-enable a com port in the BIOS! I just checked my tech log, and I never lie to myself in there, except to gloss over how long it takes me to diagnose the obvious. Only thing I hate more than being stupid and obtuse for half the night is typing it out in painful detail until the sun comes up.

Anyway. The internet is fixed, so I emailed the bookmarks for this blog to Caroline’s laptop, which will be taking the trip. My computer, affectionately known as Mizar, will be sitting right here, where it’s considerable mass will discourage anyone from trying to steal my desk. Mizar is also the name of a complicated star system of three binary pairs. If they ever built a Stonehenge on a planet there, hauling rocks would have been the least of their problems. I named my computer after it because it had three pairs of hard drives at one time. Then I upgraded to two tiny solid-state drives and two large mechanical SATA drives, but I couldn’t find a double binary to name it after. The next iteration will be an oil-immersed computer, so I’ll rename it then. Since it will be in a small tank, maybe I’ll call it Sherman. Reminds me of Doctor Peabody’s sidekick from Rocky & Bullwinkle.

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