Saturday, August 05, 2006

#%&*! Modem!!!

It was a dark and stormy night.

[ahem]

Anyhow, I was doing some writing off-line when it started to threaten to storm. I said "Gee, maybe I ought to pull the phone cable out of my modem." I said that because I fried the modem I brought here. Later, I fried the surge suppressor that came with my UPS. I decided at that time that keeping the modem unplugged most of the time would be prudent.

FLASH! BOOM!

There was less than half a second between the flash and the boom, which means that the lightening strike was within about 500 feet of us. I went ahead and unplugged the modem anyhow.

So, the next day, I couldn't get online. Big mystery, eh?

What gets me is that we have underground phone lines. How the heck is the current getting induced into lines that are four or five feet under the wet ground? I don't get it!

Can I rant now? I haven't done any really good rants on this blog.

You see, I really hate having to use a dial-up modem. It is pathetic, especially out here where a good connection is 26,400 bps. But what I hate even worse is the way that a modem takes over your computer. It just freezes the whole thing up when it feels like it. I'm sure that half of my freeze-ups are from the modem driver software.

My plan was to get a USB modem, but it turns out that they cost more. So, I got a nifty little internal modem from Wal-Mart.

I really fail to see how anyone who is boggled by technology can even keep a computer going. I mean really... these things are ornery! Of course, it seems to be my cross to bear that I have to goof with everything I get just to make it work. Heaven forbid that it work as advertised right out of the box.

So anyhow, I opened the package and found a modem, a driver installation CD, and two sheets of paper with instructions. Each sheet has a different set of instructions for each operating system. The first one I picked up says to start by installing the modem according to the other sheet. The other sheet says to install it, then read the other (or is it the first?) sheet.

First step: Open the computer and jam the card into a PCI slot (I am paraphrasing here).

Second step: Turn on the computer and tell it to cancel when it tells you that it found new hardware and tries to install the drivers.

Third step: Insert the CD (where??? I have a suggestion!) and navigate to the blah blah win98 blah blah directory and find the blah blah installation file and run it.

So, what's up with all that? It says that it's PNP (Plug N Pray) compatible, then it tells you to cancel the PNP thing and run the installation program manually.

I have to admit, though, that everything went according to instructions. It used a different com port (com 3) than the other one (com 4). Maybe that makes a difference, and maybe it doesn't. I half expected it to conflict with the mouse, but it didn't.

But anyhow, it went through the diagnostics as advertised. When I brought up Mozilla Thunderbird and tried to connect, it dialed out and everything.

But then, it couldn't connect to the POP3 server. [insert moderate grumbling here]

So, I tried again.

Then I turned the computer off, rebooted it, and tried again.

Then I looked all over the place to see if I could change the com port (I had had problems with that before).

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I got the BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death). (Gee, I love Microsoft. As soon as I get another computer, I'm going to try my hand at Linux)

Then, I pulled up Mozilla Firefox and went to google. It worked this time.

So I tried Thunderbird again, and I'm downloading three days' worth of mail as we speak... or at least, as I write. This could take a while at 21,600 bps.

Whatever happened to 26,600? I thought this nifty little dsp (digital signal processing) modem was going to work better than the old one. [insert more grumbling here].

But anyhow, It's downloading, I'm almost done typing, and Mary wants me to come to bed so we can spend some time together.

So I guess I'll do the spell check and upload thing now.

1 Comments:

Blogger Chickpea said...

Hee hee! I know the feeling very well. It's so frustrating when you can't get any work done because you spend half the day just wrangling the computer.

1:42 AM  

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