Saturday, March 27, 2004

Why I Hate Computers 

I have a love/hate relationship with computers. I love them when they work and I hate them when they don't.

On Friday night my husband and I went on a “date” to the local computer store where we bought the necessary equipment to finally get him off dial-up and onto my fast DSL connection. This purchase wasn't planned -- we were there just to buy a cable, actually. But there happened to be a really knowledgeable Macintosh computer dude at the store for a change (he worked for Apple and not the store, which explains it) and once he painted the pretty picture of how it could all work, we decided to go for it.

After two hours, two beers, and one additional trip back to the computer store (why wouldn’t they include a cable with the Airport hub?), the entire network was operational! I celebrated with a Cosmopolitan and pajamas. My husband celebrated by setting up his iPod to download songs from the iTunes store.

Thus is the nature of dating in your forties.

However, all week there was something in my background processor troubling me. (My background processor is the part of my brain where I cogitate on things I don't really want to deal with head-on, like social security, perimenopause, and strange moles.) Upstairs, my husband's Mac was working fine. In my office my Mac was working fine, and so was my PC. But I couldn't get my portable PC to connect to the internet. (And yes, I know it sounds ridiculous but sometimes I actually NEED to have three computers on the Internet at once. I don't know how I ever managed to do business with only one computer back in the "old days," otherwise known as the 90’s.)

Sometime during the early part of this week I surmised that I must have a bad port in my hub because I could get the portable to connect if I used a different port. (A hub is the hardware thingie that lets me share my DSL with all of these computers; a port is the plug where the Ethernet cable gets stuck into.) So I ordered a new hub online. The new hub arrived yesterday and last night – one week exactly after we got the entire network working – I managed to totally annihilate my network.

I hate computers.

My husband was at work, so I decided to swap out my old hub with my new one. (That was my first mistake – I should have waited for him to do this with me since he would have actually forced me to read the instructions.) I thought it would be simple…just plug it in and move the cables from the old to the new, right?


At first, everything seemed to work OK downstairs, but I couldn’t get his computer functioning on the network. After trying a dozen different combinations of various settings, and wearing out my knees climbing the two flights of stairs, I decided to give up for the night.

All night long I tossed and turned to multi-colored cable-ridden nightmares where I inevitably ended up being electrocuted while standing naked on a cold and windy beach.

Even my subconscious mind hates computers.

This morning, bolstered by a very strong cup of cappuccino, I decided to give it another whirl. I’d been smart enough to draw a picture of what my network looked like before I made the change to the new hub, so I figured that I would just put everything back the way it was and everything would be fine. Then I would just return that new hub and release my mind from this self-induced torture.

And that’s when things got worse.

Not only could I not get my husband’s computer to access the Internet, but both of my office computers decided to shun the Internet as well.

Have I mentioned that I hate computers?

Nothing I did worked. I tried starting from scratch, unplugging stuff, turning stuff off and on, restarting various computers, changing settings, resetting settings, faking settings, having more cappuccino, and finally, in desperation, I called Apple and got Tiffany from Canada.

Tiffany was relaxed and knowledgeable. Just what my caffeine-rattled nerves needed.

Ninety minutes later it was determined that the Ethernet card in my Macintosh had picked that very week to go bad. Suspicious, but having been involved with computers long enough to know that anything is possible, I conceded that this was possible. Luckily, Tiffany had a workaround for me. Without getting into the technical details (if you want to know, just e-mail me), we got everything working again.

I love computers.
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