CharlieMC (charliemc) wrote,

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Computer Power... Or Something Like That! Hahahaha...

I spent several hours of my day over at sister Sue's house.

I don't know if I've made this clear or not, but Sue took early retirement from her high-powered (and stressful) job with the CWA union some years back. She has a home on the Columbia River (dividing Oregon from Washington state) that she loves very much. Many years ago her daughter and granddaughter both moved in with her -- it's a small house (mobile home), but they each have a room. Plus there's a good-sized living room and huge kitchen that has an eating nook with table. The dining room has been turned into their OFFICE that they share. They also happily have two bathrooms, which is a good thing, considering they're now four people living there (including Candy's boyfriend, Buddy, who shares her room). It's really a nice house, all in all, with a ramp that goes from the front to the door and to the back deck. Nicole has a trampoline in the back yard, facing the river.

This house is probably a ten to fifteen minute drive from our house -- depending on the traffic. Because it's right near the BRIDGE that goes from Oregon to Washington, traffic can be a real bear sometimes! Candy works in Washington (a close drive from the house) and Nicole goes to school in our neighborhood (also fairly close to their home -- by car or bus).

Anyway, in their office, they've got three desktops set up. (Buddy has his own laptop.) And Nicole has an iPad provided by the school for her use (during the school year only).

They have COMCAST -- bundled -- providing their phone service, cable TV and internet.

They've been having a lot of issues recently! Trouble mostly with the internet. Getting and staying connected, problems with slow connections and on and on. They ordered a new modem, and it took FOREVER for it to arrive. They finally got it this week and tried to set it up, but couldn't get it to work. So I went over to see what I could do...

Buddy had done the logical thing: He tried swapping out the OLD modem and putting in the NEW one. But that didn't work. The old modem didn't have built in WiFi, which the new one does. So they needed to eliminate the router from the picture -- which had them networked so they could use their old one-connection modem for three computers. Anyway, I started out by moving the modem. Sue has a huge piece of furniture that's like a giant cupboard (closet?) that holds her computer. It's designed to be able to fold up and close and disguise what it is, but that makes no sense (and I don't think she ever really closed it, even in the beginning). The door is open and had a fold-down arm where you can put the mouse to use it -- and that provides a small 'desk' for writing notes and so on (or to put a phone).

This unit is REALLY HARD to work inside (!!!). It always has been. It's bad enough to reach her computer tower, without having the modem in there! Besides, I don't feel this provides enough ventilation for the modem, which needs air circulation (as do computer towers, for that matter). Anyway, I got the cords free and moved the modem to Candy's very modern and open-styled computer desk, which is next to Sue's. Then the first thing I did was plug Sue's computer directly into the new modem. And guess what? It worked! After that all I had to do was unplug the other cords from the old router and put them to the modem. Bingo.

Now that sounds like a simple and quick thing, right? Um... wrong. Both Sue and Candy play at an online gaming site known as Pogo. It can't function without Java for most games. And most of you are probably aware of the 'recent' (this past year or so) problems with Java! Anyway, you'd think constantly needing to upgrade/update/whatever Java would be no big deal, right? Again, wrong. I can't believe the issues we've had to deal with. (sigh)

When I had the computers connected to the internet, I was close to ready to throw in the towel. But Candy told me I couldn't leave until both she and her mom were able to play at Pogo! So I had to fix Java on both computers, and Adobe Flash, as well!!! (sigh)

Meanwhile, the old computer we'd given Nicole to use decided to die -- so it's out of commission. But apparently Nicole doesn't really use it, anyway, so I'm not stressing it. If I can get it working, fine. If not, fine.

Oh! And then there was the issue of setting up WiFi. They don't make THAT easy for you, either. Comcast's new deal??? To get you to PAY for upgraded support. No, I'm not kidding! They provide limit assistance via their normal support line or online chat, and then immediately pimp out this paid support ($80 a crack right now). That's just wrong.

Also wrong? It takes FOREVER to get connected to support! You have to listen to On Demand pimpage and go through a ton of animated crap. For those of you who have Comcast, the second you get to the support portion of a phone call, hit zero on your phone -- this will connect you to a REAL PERSON.

Finally, I'm APPALLED by the new system Comcast has for WiFi password. These are 'computer generated' -- that means you can't pick your own. Okay, that wouldn't be so bad, but the pw is a combo of uppercase letters and random numbers. There are no words. It's 16-characters long. So obviously there's no way to ever memorize this (unless you have a photographic memory). I complained that this doesn't make sense, security-wise. If you have to WRITE IT DOWN and have it there by your computer (which is what most people will do) so you can use it, then it sort of defeats the purpose of a complicated password, doesn't it? (I remember recently telling a support person I had a pw ready to go, that included upper and lowercase letters, plus symbols and numerals -- and the guy seemed surprised. I think that all makes sense -- and can still be done in a way that you can REMEMBER. This is the system I use for the passwords in the office! Admittedly, I do assign them, but I make WORDS so it's easier to commit to memory...)

Well, their password is written down and sitting on Sue's desk, so they can use it as needed. Plus I have a copy of it. Of course, anyone who has Comcast would probably be aware that it's also printed right on the bottom of the modem. (Gosh, I wish we'd known that when I was working on this same thing at June and Jim's house! I wonder WHY no support person ever told me that when I talked to them over there???)

Aside from all this, Sue and I went to The Burrito House to get some food for me to take home. And she bought us both a drink and a bean dip to share while we waited. Get this: The server screwed up and packed my four tacos in Sue's bag -- so I only got home with a small portion of my food! Very annoying...

I did my garbage and recycling right after getting home -- but it was already DARK (sigh). It's been one week since my BIKE was stolen from the garage...

Kris and Donn are BOTH coming in tomorrow to meet with me, so I guess I'd better get to bed soon! It's going to be a busy day.

My seasonal allergies (which are often SERIOUS this time of year) have been kicking my butt the last few days. There have been years when I ended up in bed for weeks at a time -- I sure hope it won't happen this year! (I'm sitting here right now plugged up and swallowing over and over. I just took a big swig of pop to try and help -- the caffeine is good for allergies...)

Also, tomorrow is cousin Linda's birthday. More about that later...

Can't think what else I'm forgetting to share... Oh well, there's always tomorrow!

Tags: 2013, allergies, bike, birthday, buddy, burglar, burrito-house, caffeine, candy, columbia-river, comcast, computers, cousin-linda, donn, festival, kris, marilyn, meeting, mexican-food, modem, nicole, seasonal-allergies, september-2013, sister-sue, sue's-house, wifi, work

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