Friday, April 23, 2010

Things Fall Apart

It's been a rough week for technology around here.

The first thing to go was the microwave. I kind of feel bad about that, since by all the karmic laws this is probably my fault. I was staring at it the other day, trying to remember how long it had been since it was installed and remembering the warning we got from the salesman who wanted us to go for the more expensive model because it was more easily serviced. Why he thought telling me about how easily it would break and be fixed was a selling point I do not know, and at any rate we went with the other one. And I thought, "Huh. Hasn't died yet."

And two days later, tiny little black-shrouded figures emerged from my microwave waggling their scythes at me and escorting the departed spirit of the microwave to wherever it is that such spirits go when their time nuking hot dogs on earth is over. I'd like to think that there are no hot dogs there.

Now, on the one hand, this isn't that big of a crisis. I don't really use it for much these days other than thawing things that I'd forgotten to take out of the freezer ahead of time, for one thing. It was also nine years old, so it didn't really owe us anything. And it had the rather unnerving habit of waiting a couple of seconds after you told it to start before it would actually do anything. It was the Microsoft of microwaves. "Are you sure you want to do that? Really, are you sure? Because we can forget it, right now, like it never happened, go back to the way things were. Really? Okay, dude, it's your hot dog." Nothing like being second-guessed by machines to make you not miss them when they're gone.

On the other hand, well, I do miss being able to thaw my bagels quickly (you can't get non-frozen poppyseed bagels in this town full of goyim), and I'd forgotten how to cook vegetables with actual heat instead of radio waves. So I suppose a new microwave is in our future.

Hey, this way the terrorists lose.

So I was feeling pretty okay with this situation - problem arises, problem is not that much of a problem, problem has clear (if expensive) solution. And then the modem died.

We have a lot of things online in this house. My computer. Kim's computer. Our old computers, which now belong to Lauren and Tabitha, respectively. Kim's Chumby, which is a cube about 4" on a side that has enough computing power to run an aircraft carrier but serves as an alarm clock. We're a pretty wired and wireless household.

But ever since we upgraded to our new cable package - the one with the DVR, so Kim can watch Lost - our internet has been balky. You'd be motoring along on the information superhighway (does anyone remember that metaphor anymore?) and suddenly, WHAM!, there would be potholes as big as semis and you'd fall down and have to dig yourself back up to the surface, which could take up to 20 minutes. This is a bummer, especially since a) we're paying for an experience not defined by virtual potholes, and b) I am still teaching online, so this negatively impacts not only my blood pressure but my livelihood as well.

So I called the cable company about it yesterday.

We went around and around with this, and the bottom line is that they said we need a new router, which doesn't surprise me since ours is two years old and that makes it PREHISTORIC by router standards. All the new routers just stand around and tease it, asking if it knows what this new-fangled thing called "fire" is and if it really knew Dick Clark before he stuffed his portrait in the attic.

But after all that fiddling around, now the router doesn't work at all. Which means we have to plug directly into the modem - first the old one, then after this morning a brand new one, since apparently our modem was so ancient that the cable company would replace for free - and that means that we can only have one computer online at a time, and the Chumby is reduced to just being a clock.

So another problem, with another expensive solution.

I have to do a lot of driving today and tomorrow. Maybe I want to let someone else handle it, though. Machinery and I are getting along less well than usual, it seems.


KimK said...

And I hope the driving went without technology failure? (Or any other kind of failure, for that matter.)

Beatrice Desper said...

Bagels! I miss bagels.

No WiFi here. Sometimes I surf off the neighbors when Issam is hogging the Big Computer. Any other neo-luddites out there?