I'm still reeling from the sheer amount of technological catastrophe that decided to visit Chez Genji this past couple of weeks, which apart from work is a big reason why I haven't posted anything.
This wasn't some simple fender-bender or a paint-scrape, mind you. This was a ten-car pileup on a hillside with the victims rolling down and drifting backwards into the bay. (At this point humor is about the only weapon I have left, and while a Bill Cosby reference may not be a BFG-9000 it's better than nothing.)
See if you can follow this. A scorecard may be required.
A couple of weeks ago, my Internet connection began to flake out badly enough that everything from NetFlix streams to simple downloads all timed out within seconds of being initiated. I did some basic troubleshooting and narrowed it down to the router: when the computer talked directly to ye olde cablemodeme, everything ran slick as greased pigs. Plug the router back in, and suddenly OH MY GOD, INTERNET? WHAT'S THAT? I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT IS ANYMORE. I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T BOOT UP.
So what specifically about the router was piriform? This router was a Linksys T-Mobile @Home job, supplied to me by them by when I got their VOIP service (which, unfortunately, they don't provide anymore). I poked around and, aha!, found a firmware upgrade — funny how they hadn't had one for what felt like years on end, and then suddenly one came out late last year which I'd somehow overlooked — applied that, reset everything, and ... still no dice.
On a whim, I took the SIM card out of the router. I could afford to not have a phone connection for a little bit, if it led me that much closer to a solution. To the astonishment of everyone else in the room except me, service was restored in a timely fashion and my wife's streams of Law and Order: SVU were suddenly alive and well again.
That was number one.
I opened a (now working) browser and ordered Vonage. I'm still using T-Mo for my cell phone service, at least until AT&T eats them alive and spits out the pits, but I'd been deciding for a while to move my regular landline service to Vonage — especially after hearing fine things about Vo' from all and sundry.
At around the same time, I called in a favor with a friend, and he ordered me up a Buffalo-brand DD-WRT-powered router from NewEgg. The two arrived at around the same time, and I spent most of a day rewiring everything and making sure all the network-attached hardware like the printer/scanner/fax combo, the notebooks and the phone were all working. My landline number was transferred a few days later, and I celebrated its commemoration by getting two wrong numbers in a row.
That was number two.
For a few months now, my main monitor (there's two on this PC) had been showing its age. For something built in April 2007, it seemed to be showing its age awfully fast. On startup it would flicker furiously for minutes on end, as if it was doing a bad imitation of the nuclear-war simulation screens in NORAD at the climax of WarGames. Minutes eventually became an hour and change, so much so that I had to set the machine to auto-wake a good hour or more before I was up, so I wouldn't have to feel like I was watching the Pokémon (so-called) seizure episode out of one eye while getting actual work done with the other.
Earlier this week, I woke up and found my main monitor had turned into a giant fluorescent lighting panel. No images, just one continuous wash of unbroken white. I tried various bits of machine age voodoo (thank you, SPK, for that little turn of phrase; it's more horribly relevant now than ever), gave up, arrggh'd a bit, invoked a few Elder Gods for good measure, pulled the damn thing off my desk and set up monitor #2 as my main monitor. It's smaller, but it works, and right now I could care less about experiencing full-resolution 1080p playback. I fully expect it, too, to drop dead without warning sometime in the middle of my next major assignment.
That was number three.
The Blu-ray drive in this machine also appears to be tanking. It loads a BD about one time out of every twenty. DVDs play fine, but who knows how long that will last. Given that one of my other paying gigs involves watching movies, many of them on BD, this isn't a frivolity. There's another BD player in my notebook — although if its track record is anything like the last one, it too will die immediately after the parts-and-labor warranty is kaputt.
That's number four.
Oh, and my phone still crashes whenever I do anything insane and risky like, oh, turn the Bluetooth radio off.
That's number five.
I plan to do something about all this, but right now I still need to eat on days ending in Y, so I'll just have to limp along until then.
The first person to tell me to buy a Mac gets a free, all-expenses-paid punch in the snoot.