Sunday, January 24, 2010

No Fruit, No Nuts, Just Networks

I must say from the start that this entire weekend has been a total marvel in technological failure and planning run amok. "Amok, amok, amok!" (Does anyone remember Hocus Pocus with Bette Midler? OK, so it's just that).

The office at Green Acres that supports our family's seismic oil and gas prospecting business was, well, having "technical difficulties" all week. No, I do not (TECHNICALLY!) work there anymore. However, no one left there can really do what I did, so the "deal" is that the phone is going to occasionally ring. It rang Wednesday while I was here at the Bunker (Attrition's house). That took about two hours and I thought it was a tough fix, but a solid one. Problem is, it wasn't really my fix to make and therein lies the REAL problem.

Green Acres is in the boonies. The thing with the boonies is that only just this month have we had more than one option for an Internet service provider. We've been a captive of the phone company (who I'd love to name, but won't) for years now and typically pay about $185/mo (or higher when we need other services) for a variable IP DSL service that's slow as Christmas. On top of that, no one at their Internet help desk really knows how to configure the service properly. In fact, they don't even attempt to keep access to their network configuration utilities secure...which is...well, stupid. I don't even think they know how to view your configuration w/o you knowing--they have you bring it up at home and read what's in the blanks to them. That's just bizarre!

So, the "fix" always starts with a phone call. During which I play very, very stupid. And I make sure their adminstrative login and password are the same and that the IP address is the same and I pay attention to anything else that they may have changed or seems to look different and try to ask well-directed, but stupid-sounding questions.

For some reason, no one at this particular telephone company ISP seems to understand that if my "Internet" is "down" but I can still navigate to THEIR server (which I am ONLY connected to via the Internet) to access the configuration applications using MY modem, then, in fact, it is a configuration problem and my modem is not broken. However, they conclude each five minute phone call with "Well, it sounds like your modem is broken. We'll send a new one out with a service person on Monday."


After the call, I'm on my own. More often than not, the problem is caused by an actual outage after which they bring service back online, but do so incorrectly, so the error could be anywhere and like any sort of scientifically methodical effort you can only alter one thing at a time if you are to solve the problem in any sort of sane manner.

So, in lieu of going to the plant sale on Saturday (Yes! I missed it!!!!), I dinked with someone else's network (just my little part in it). And eventually gave up. I have never given up before. Ever...

Attrition tried. He gave up. He never gives up. Ever...

We watched war movies, went to bed, couldn't fall asleep, both met on the porch, listened to weird noises and almost re-educated the idiot neighbor who decided to cross our land with a (very bouncy) flashlight at midnight (yes, he shined it in the living room), got up early, went to church, hauled tree parts to the fire, passed a very happy and ash-covered Squib to his grandparents for shuttling to his dad and finally dragged our aching bodies back into the office.

I said something colorful and plugged everything back in. We tried again. Someone at my favorite telephone company had reset SOMETHING again because one of the logical fixes that I tried yesterday actually worked today. Go figure. It's not my win, though, 'cause Attrition was actually the one at the keyboard. THAT is how it always works out...he is SO...something...

Wow, what a rant...



  1. Bummer. I looked for you but figured you had already come and gone by the time I got there.

    I guess I'll save the hug for you a bit longer.

  2. Sometimes duty day we shall meet!!