Monday, August 22, 2005

I Want to Technology to Work!!!!

Exercise or sleep, I don't know what does the body better. Before last week, I had normally taken an hour nap after work. Last week, I think that I only napped on Monday. Tuesday, the Girl and I went to get our new tuned up bikes from REI. Wednesday, I had my appointment with the career counsellor then stayed up until 3 AM setting up the home theater only to have it fail in its utter defectiveness. Thursday, I stayed up until midnight doing the same thing, playing with the settings on the receiver then trying to disconnect wires and reconnect them. Weekends generally have their own rules.

Today, the Girl and I drove to some stores to find a basket for my daily stuff (wallet, keys, Palm, change pouch, etc.) and some metal baskets for CDs. I got woozy from lack of food. After getting home, I had some chips and coffee then took a ride on my bike around the Charles River. The Girl has now commenced cleaning up the place to make ready for her visiting older Brother, which also counts as picking up the place after making it into a battle zone while trying to put together the home theater and as more activities to figure out what we need and don't need, divesting ourselves of the things that we don't need.

I honestly doubt readers have much interest in recountings of my day to day life. I probably wouldn't, either, but after the battle with the receiver and also an interesting weekend of adventure and comedy, I want my day-to-day life into order again. Something to the effect of the receiver happened before except that the problem didn't come from an inherent defect of a product, and I had a little more control over myself. I moderate my attempts to fix the problem until the end, the weekend. The story goes like this (I'll try to keep it short):

The wireless router for our house died, so I got a Linksys router. From what I've seen, Linksys pretty much comes as the best of the consumer brands. I hook it up to the cable modem and set them up next to each other. I try to initialization. The thing doesn't work! It's a Friday night, so I have time to try fixing the thing. it ges fixed, but even now, I don't know how I did it. Suffice to say, the fix only worked temporarily. About three weeks later, the thing goes on the fritz. It works on and off, after I do some stuff here and there, but it always stops working until it just stubbornly decides not to work.

It first acted completely stubborn on a Wednesday, so I decided not to give it attention, so as not to go on a bender of hyperfocus. The first two nights, I gave it only one or two hours, at the most. I don't let myself get worked up. I can't let this thing get control over my emotions and self control. Well, it does gain control of my by Friday night. I kept telling myself that I needed to get this thing fixed, and I wanted to get it fixed that night. I even contacted Comcast, my service provider, but they couldn't supply me with help, pretty much for liability reasons, but they could try to sell me a new service that would allow for wireless networking with some kind of Linksys device. Sure, fine and good, but it wouldn't fix my problem that night!

I did tons of research on the Internet, trying different keywords, going through forums and so on and so on, all pointing to a horrible compatibility problem between the router and the cable modem and nothing that can be done except to get a Linksys modem. . .but even then, things would stop working. After awhile, I could only find threads about this topic that just ended with "after awhile. . .it all just stopped working."

Frustrated, I got into a chat with Linksys tech support. They didn't help me. They either told me to do stuff that I had already done, knew wouldn't work or would cut me off from them because I would have to disconnect from the direct connection with the cable then hook into the wireless. Even worse, connecting and disconnecting wires all around the house, I noticed something: even when disconnected, the router and cable modem would go on the fritz. Go back and forth with multiple Linksys techs, trying this, trying that. . .I mentioned the fact, but they wouldn't take the evidence as anything worthwhile. Lo and behold, eventually, the Linksys techs couldn't help me, blaming the problem on the RCN cable modem (that wouldn't be a form of slander or libel, would it?), and that it couldn't get fixed unless I could get into the settings for the modem. Unfortunately, the most I could do after some research was check out some readings on the thing.

The time, probably around 12:30 or 1 or 1:30. I couldn't tell, I didn't care. I just needed to solve this problem, and I didn't have the information needed to solve it. I kept searching the Internet, knowing that I had worn out all my techie avenues. I kept on just Googling different combinations of words, just coming up with more and more frustrating leads, but I just kept on going, needing to get this whole situation fixed. I just have this stubborn attitude that technology should just work and make life easier and the way I expect. . .I guess maybe even like I want, kinda like Burger King (why, as a vegan. . .am I even linking there?). Seriously, though. . .don't these technology companies encourage us to think that technology should integrate into our lives seamlessly, kind of like in the Jetsons. Well, I guess sometimes, even for the Jetsons, technology didn't always work seamlessly. Nonetheless, I have this expectation that we've reached a time in our society/civilization that this information and media technology should really just. . .well. . .WORK without the consumer having to work hard. Doesn't work that way, though. . .half the time, the consumer ends up contacting the techie to fix the problem.

I almost considered calling out for one to visit my home, but they cost horrible amounts of money and, in my opinion, for someone like me, they pretty much do the work quicker that I could do just as good, maybe with more time, but at least, with the knowledge of how to do it again the next time. Either which way, the techies who support the specific product that I had introduced to my system didn't know how it mucked it up, so what help could I expect from someone coming from the outside.

Don't worry, my fair soul, as I did eventually figure out the problem. I had the evidence for figuring it out eventually, but I didn't have the knowledge to figure out the solution with the evidence provided. I needed to discover the solution through my Google hunch filled but intuitively logical search that formed sense to the evidence. The solution really trivializes the problem but fulfills the promise that the journey and search can become more important to the solution, in a sense. To cut a lot of fanfare short, seriously. . .the solution: move the dang router from one side of the room to the other and keep the router and modem far away from each other. The signal from the router pretty much shorted out the cable modem. What the. . .? So simple that a techie from the company that made the thing and only a few forums on the Internet could figure out didn't figure out the solution, thinking that the problem lied in the settings. . .. Grrrrrrr.

So, in triumph, I logged onto the Linksys techie site to tell them the problem. I wonder if they bothered to make note of it. Just in case and to save someone I saw in line at Best Buy the trouble, I told them to keep the cable modem and router far apart and complained about all the time I spent trying to figure out the answer to such a simple problem. He could totally relate, even though he had yet to even try hooking up the device.

I love this technology when it works. I hate it when it doesn't. I feel quite accomplished when I can fix something quickly. I hate the exhaustion when it takes forever to go through diagnostics to find a simple solution. Nonetheless, Robert Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance really touches upon something involving this topic. It would take me far too much time to expound on his ideas and take away the joy of reading the book, even though I'll probably touch upon them sometime in the future. I really do like the ones he addresses regarded technology, even if they seem kind of quaint and passe when he first mentions them. It somewhat goes along with what I've touched upon. . .just with much less of a wet and dry differentiation.

Read it.

For now, though, I must do some other work to try getting things more formed in my life.


John...+ 1970 220d said...

Read it. Decent book. Kinda strange how he mixes in his mental health problems with the mechanic tips and only barely reconciles them in the end.

Expounding about balance whilst spinning out of bounds.

The_Lex said...

It has also given me a bit of material for my thesis, especially a bunch of quips about the Greek philosophers and how they interpreted some ideas and such, including: virtue, values and Quality. . .but not so much the Quality part.

All the stuff about the craziness and the dealing with the mental health issues really surprised me and touched me, especially considering the beginning struck me as fairly stereotypical.