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.