Routers and other tools of the devil

In the olden days, our TRS-80 model 3, with two 5.25 floppy drives, 48 K, used to be able to access other people via bulletin boards. On our black screen the white letters and bit block graphics seemed like miracles to us. If something went wrong troubleshooting took a few minutes, maybe an hour, but it was clear that only a finite number of things could have gone wrong.

But now we literally have bells and whistles. We have colors and sounds and moives and flashing messages, even messages we don’t want to read and don’t pay attention to. We have the ability to instant message our familiy and frieds from around the world.

What we don’t have is the ability to use these wonderful things. Our wireless home network (two laptops, one desktop) is wonderful, acessible– it changed our life for the better, but at some point the router began to play tricks on us.

First the router would spontaneously stop working. We would unplug and replug it and after one or two or three times, it would work for a week or two, sometimes a month or two. After a while, it began to go out and reconnecting it involved plugging and unplugging it numerous times, running upstairs to redo the router, oming downstairs, starting to work, having the router shut off again, and then running back upstairs to unplug and replug and then the party began once again. The process would repeat more and more often and more and more times until finally we gave up and bought a new router.

Then we decided to set it up. I won’t bore you, but with my son Akiva and me working together, it still was a tedious job getting everything to work because there weren’t a finite number of things that could have gone wrong if, for reasons of sanity, I would define “finite” as a number less than 100. The problem could be with the router setup, the internet connection, the computer setup, the computer software, the interface between any of the above. Multiply it by three computers and add in three very very adorable but not so silent grandchildren and even though the process ended successfully, it still felt like some sort of ordeal.

As to the ending well…. we are now able to work on all of the computers, and best of all, I had an excuse to have pizza with Yehuda, Tamar, and Ayala, an unexpected treat. As we say in Hebrew, איזה ×›×£ What fun!!

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