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 212015

You don’t have to read BoWilliams.com 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 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 […]

 Posted by at 9:55 am

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