Jan 242015

My printer wouldn’t work tonight.

After some unproductive fiddling around, I finally figured out it was because my router had wiped its own brain. Tabula rasa, baybee. Its SSID was linksys again, and wide open. So my printer was trying to get on the network with credentials that no longer existed. (Remarkably, no one had tried to use the wireless network and reported failure in the meantime.)

A cursory Binging reveals that routers sometimes do this with erratic power. My UPS needs a battery, and we’ve had some intermittent outages, so that fits.

I mess with networking just infrequently enough for it to piss me off to have to think about it. It’s pretty reliable day to day, right? So it just fades into the landscape, right? Once in a while you need to kill power to the router and modem for a minute, but when you plug them back in it’s all good, right?

So I managed to get to the router settings, and made Big Mistake #1:  failure to realize that I could simply copy the old security key from one of the connecting devices back into the router, and everything would just work again. No, I generated a new one and then set about putting it into tablets, game consoles, streaming boxes, laptops, phones…sigh.

If you’re at all nerdy, I could ask you to estimate the number of devices hitting your Wi-Fi, and you’d underestimate it by half.

I’d fought with the printer already enough to be frustrated, and some time before I realized it, made Big Mistake #2:  resetting the printer’s network configuration. It occurred to me after I’d already propagated the new key to several devices that I could put the old key back in the router. Hey, the printer would work again. Ha! I’d already mucked with it too much. The printer didn’t know the old key anymore. I’d have loved to have the printer working and have to put the old key back into everything I’d already reconfigured. But, nope.

So, fix it. Perhaps counterintuitively, the printer needs a USB connection to the computer to enable a wireless connection. I need a male-male Type A USB cable for this. My stash contains every USB cable in the universe but that one.

And so I made Big Mistake #3: leaving the house at 11 pm thinking I’d be able to purchase such a cable. I’m embarrassed at how long I was gone so I’m not going to get too far into the narrative, but I’ll admit for your perverse pleasure that I went in two different locations of one of my least favorite places in the world. (Hatred recharged.)

I get uniquely unsettled when my tech isn’t working. I mean, I’m bothered. I can’t turn loose of it as long as I think I can recover. I should have been horizontal two hours ago. But I kept thinking I could get it back before I went to bed.

And then I spent 30 more minutes writing this post. That’s probably Big Mistake #4.

 Posted by at 3:15 am
Jan 222015
  • Rolex 24 at Daytona is this weekend! Bring on the motorsports. I didn’t care for how the football ended.
  • I read today that European folklore often depicts vampires as having arithmomania—a strong urge to count things. It’s an expression of OCD. You scattered a lot of seeds on either side of a suspected vampire’s grave, so that when s/he got out to feed, s/he would get distracted counting them. (And hey, who knew I’d learn at 43 that Count von Count on Sesame Street had a dual meaning?)
  • IndyCar Series 2005 has arrived, for all of $8! It’s fun. It’s another reason I’m pleased to have my original Xbox deployed.
  • Taylorwho ordered the double cheese and sausage?Negron died a couple of weeks ago. Also loved him in The Last Boy Scout. RIP.
  • Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to current Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users. Good news indeed.
  • There’s a 2012 Mel Gibson movie called Get the Gringo that’s available on Netflix, and worth your time. I quite enjoyed it.
  • One of my favorite details in Breaking Bad is how much older Skyler looks at the end of the series than she does at the beginning. It’s a dramatic difference. If you ever go back through it looking for little treasures, watch for that one. That show is of tremendous quality.
 Posted by at 9:34 pm
Jan 212015

You don’t have to read long to know that I’m a regular Rocket City Mom contributor. It’s a site of considerable quality, and I’m proud of my association.

I posted about Jennifer and Stephenie, the original Rocket City Moms, taking us contributors out to a marvelous and entertaining dinner just before Christmas. It was a nice thing they did, but it was also an event because they were both actually in the same room with me. They’re crazy busy, and that just doesn’t happen often. Stephenie is my editor so I try to see her in person every few months or so, and I never know it’s going to happen for sure until I see her walk in the door. You know those kinds of busy people?

steph6So after dinner, Jennifer and I were walking to our cars, talking about the site, mass media, and so forth. Stephenie caught up to us and joined the conversation. Then she said “look! This is Caleb’s new car.”

Jen and I looked at either quizzically. Steph was standing next to a six-year-old Toyota Corolla.

The car was in fine condition, but we’re talking about maybe a $7000 ride—nothing you’d be embarrassed to drive to work, but nothing you’d call specific attention to in the Westin parking lot either.

So…I guess we need to find a compliment?

“Oh, wait…” (Stephenie looked around.)

It seems we were looking for something of similar color, but newer, and German. She’d made a spatial error. Ah. Here it is. Yes, indeed. Quite sharp. And are you sure you’re OK to drive, Steph?

(She was.)

I’ve enjoyed remembering it so much and deemed it postworthy for two reasons. One is that it was the first funny little just-us-chickens moment I’ve ever had with Jennifer. The other is that Stephenie is so smart and so together so much of the time that there’s something comforting about that slight malfunction!

Warm wishes, Stephenie. And I’m sure you’ll get even!

 Posted by at 7:56 pm
Jan 212015

I don’t much like State of the Union addresses even when I like the guy giving them. The State of the Union address has become a particularly shallow exercise even in a shallow town. I’d love to see a return to the president advising Congress of the state of the union by letter.

So I didn’t watch our esteemed president last night. I did, however, look over a transcript of his remarks this morning. I see he is taking implicit credit for the country being “as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.”

Indeed. You know, recently I had an Obamanaut ask me if I was enjoying the gas prices, as if her hero had something to do with it.

Our gas prices are not falling because of anything Obama has done.

Thanks to the ongoing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) revolution, the United States has accessible oil reserves in quantities unthinkable just a few years ago. OPEC doesn’t care for that at all. So they’re trying to lower prices to a point that it’s not profitable for us to get our own oil out of the ground. It’s no more complicated than that. Obama’s just there while it’s happening.

Thus, he might as well take credit for the sunset.

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Jan 202015

To whom it may concern:

I will not talk to your stupid automated “natural conversation” phone menus anymore.

No commonly encountered societal construct irritates me more highly, or takes me from content to extremely agitated more quickly.

Pressing 0 used to work reliably. I encountered one last week that kept saying “Tell me something about what you’re looking for” when I did so. An enraged, through-clenched-teeth “human being” finally did the trick. Robobitch understood that.

Big organizations, I get that it helps you to do some front-end call routing. And I don’t like push-the-button phone menus either, but I have come to appreciate their lack of ambiguity. Repeating myself to a computer that fake-greeted me and is now fake-apologizing to me for not understanding is something I’m not doing anymore.

So here is your notice, companies with whom I deal electively. When a call to you starts with me having to talk to something other than a person, it pisses me off. If you compel me to deal with a so-called natural language electronic stooge past one or two steps to get him/her the hell off the line, you shall lose my business.

Cortana is different. I choose Cortana. Ditto Kinect. Ditto Echo (eventually). An important distinction, yes?

 Posted by at 9:55 am is using WP-Gravatar