I fancy myself a software guy. I’ve kinda fallen out of love with a lot of aspects of computing. Hardware gets so confusing. Different types of RAM, CPUs, hard drives, video cards all plague the market. How is the average person supposed to be able to build their own screaming, dream machine? Whether for gaming or porn, the average joe or joelie should be able to purchase random pieces of hardware from any site with the words “computer” and “discount” in the web address. Sometimes I buy from a page with the word “sexy” in the address, too. Just don’t tell Megan.
I had little problem in building my computer. I had the kind words and advice of a host of computer genii, but I still found myself a little overwhelmed. All in all, the process went well. Building a computer found a soft spot in my heart.
I cannot say the same for networking. Networking has that hard, plague-crusted, artery-clogged part of my heart. That part of your heart where the blood is black and smells like soy sauce and rum. Collin, you know what I’m talking about, and if you don’t then you’re not the lead – guitarist – hair – band – wannabe – washup – x – ray – picture – taker – computer – science – ex – programmer that I think you are.
I thought that Christmas Break would be easy. I was all ready to sit back, read a little, plot my funeral, and write some posts. Boy was I wrong. Almost as soon as I got into the house, my mother was talking to me.
“Your father has all the wiring done. When are you going to get the internet working for your computers?”
“Hello, mother. I love you. Do you love me?”
“Get those computers wired. Then you guys can play games.”
Sigh. So, I got to work. After bringing my computer downstairs (to see three other computers sitting in waiting) my dad, Bryce, Ryan, and I started the process of wiring everyone.
“Kathy Tyler says that you need to use two routers, not the switch.” Oh, yeah. My mom tried to help, too.
Step one was to deal with the router. BEFORE YOU PLUG IT IN, you have to configure it. How do you configure something when it’s not hooked up? “Kathy Tyler says to put this CD in first, before you hook up the router.” I put the CD in. It spins up; it autoruns. I click through the menus, again it tells me to make sure the router is not hooked up. Then I click “auto configure”. While I’m watching the little hourglass go tumbling end over end, I bring up a browser and navigate to “http://awayken.com”. As I’m browsing the comments of my page, a dialog box from the install pops up. “Internet connection not detected. Please manually configure the router.”
This is just one example of many to show just how this was going to go. I go to the website to manually configure. Linksys has a page of ISPs and the settings that you should set your router to. I scroll through the list to find that there is NO Midcontinent Internet listed.
Great grand. The next day, went even better. We yanked all the wires down through the ceiling and put them all in the former laundry room, which is now the cat poop and pop place. We brought down the router. We hooked a bunch of computers up to it, but there weren’t enough ports. So, we tried to hook the two routers together. It was no good. The computers couldn’t see each other. I tried thousands of things. We wanted, one, the computers to all see each other, and, two, all the computers to see the internet.
I tried messing with router configs, hooking up different cables to different ports, and crying. They were all no good, but crying was the most satisfactory. We called Kathy Tyler several times. Pretty soon she was saying to use the switch instead of the router. No good. Now use both routers and the switch. No good. Sacrifice second born. No good.
We moved the main computer and switched the router/modem/computer/cable configuration. Then the home computer didn’t have internet for a while. Then I got it back. Then I moved some stuff, and it lost internet again. Then I got it working again. Back and forth we tumbled until I was about to give up.
I switched out the switch with the routers again. I tried to get them to talk to each other, and then my aunt Sue came over. She’s the network administrator and fourth grade teacher at Big Stone School. “Did you make a crossover cable?” Oh, lord. How can little things like that escape me. I made a crossover cable after that, but it didn’t go. I didn’t know if it was crossover for sure. I made it again. Nothing. I made it again. Nothing. When I had about 3 inches left to work with, I gave up. The computers could all see each other, so we gamed.
Day three, the final day. I got up and gave Midco a call. He set me straight on a lot of things.
“Did it work that way before?”
“No; it’s never worked.”
“Oh, okay. I’ve never heard of that working, so that’s why I asked. It probably won’t work that way.”
It’s good to have such helpful tech support people. I reconfigured the setup once again. Then the internet didn’t work again. I messed around and finally got it working again. So, I now knew what I had to do. I had to get the LAN jack to send little tiny network packets downstairs to that switch. So, the internet comes through the cable. It goes to the router. Then it goes to the main computer upstairs, and then through the LAN jack downstairs to the switch. Then it splits out and goes to every computer plugged into that switch. Some of it goes to the other LAN jack up stairs, and some of it goes to my dad’s garage.
The problem was that it didn’t work. The switch all worked. The router all worked. What was the deal. We called Kathy Tyler again. I got to talk to her way longer than I cared to. The nice part was that she couldn’t figure it out either. I sighed. I was close to giving up. I redid an end in the basement. I rewired the jack in the wall. Then I redid the end in the basement one more time. I was fed up. It was dark out now, and I was sick of it. I finally announced it to everyone.
“I’m done. I hate networking. I’m going to play Max Payne 2 downstairs, and then I’m going to go write the hit song, ‘Alone in my Principles’.”
I was in the midst of killing a herd of villians in sepia-tainted slow-mo when my aunt Sue came back over. My mother had called her. Over the gunshots, I told her what I had done. She sat for a bit and talked to my dad. I continued to be a good cop gone bad. Then she came over and tapped me on the shoulder.
“Restart your computer, and you’ll have internet. You had one wire loose in the wall jack.”
The internet has never been more bittersweet. For all the work it was, all I can say is, never again.