I'm exhausted. And if I'm exhausted, I can only imagine how my two favorite tech support guys feel. We just spent a marathon geeky tech weekend holed up in our house, only going out twice for needed equipment. Jim and KC arrived here late on Friday night, and after a good night's sleep and an omelette breakfast, work began on setting up a wireless network here.
Now that might be a simple thing for most, and it would have been for me, were it not for the screwy internet connection I have. I feel certain if I had a 'normal' setup here, I could have done my own networking. But it's not normal. It's just weird. My next-door neighbor has the same ISP that I do, because I referred them to him. So why doesn't he have a problem with setting up a network? He just signed up with them last year. I've been with them for nearly four years. He has new equipment. Mine is old.
We have wireless internet through a company out of Omaha, Nebraska, and this is one of two options we have here for high-speed internet. The other option is satellite through DISH Network or DirecTV, which I don't want because it's not very reliable. We know this because we used to have DirecTV, and any time it rained or snowed, we had no service. Our current wireless internet service involves a transmitter that's placed atop a grain elevator eight miles away, which broadcasts the internet signal through the air by line-of-sight to an antenna mounted on our roof. Our antenna then transmits the signal to my computer via coaxial cable. And there is the problem. That coaxial cable. No router accepts a coaxial connection.
Neighbor Tim's signal gets transmitted by way of CAT5 cable. I'm jealous. I want CAT5 cable. My ISP says they'll trade their new CAT5 connection for my old coaxial connection for $400. I say that's not right, since they own my equipment anyway. They say my equipment still works, so if I want the new equipment, I have to pay. Not fair, I say. I referred my neighbor, he subscribes to their service, and he gets the new stuff? Hmmmmph.
You see, my dream has been to actually be able to use the laptop computer I got last year from Dell while sitting by Romie in the family room while he watches TV. I have used this laptop a total of five times since I bought it, and none of those times has been in my own home. All because of my internet connection from hell.
So after hours on the phone with Jim and a previous visit by KC and still not being able to get me networked, these two technological angels decided to coordinate their schedules and come from Cincinnati and the west suburbs of Chicago to go head-to-head with my nightmare. And my nightmare quickly became theirs.
I can't begin to tell you what all transpired in our dining room, where my desktop computer is located. I just know that they put in a total of 50-60 combined hours of work, while I kept the food and drink coming. There was a lot of tech talk that was flying back and forth between them. I did hear a few familiar words every now and then, such as the and and, but I don't know what DHCP stands for.
We made one trip to Ft. Wayne to Best Buy on Saturday and another to Office Max on Sunday. The first time was to purchase a different router than the one I had. Lots of configuring and programming went on with that, to no avail. So by the time they got to Plan F (or was it G?), another trip to Ft. Wayne produced a new 100GB hard drive. They had read in an online forum that one person had done all the things that they had done, but only a fresh install of the operating system finally allowed the wireless network to be established. I only had 7GB left on my original hard drive, so it was decided that adding another drive and starting over with the new one just might work.
Jim had to leave at 3:00 PM on Sunday, so KC started work on the new hard drive and used all the knowledge that he and Jim had gained through their combined effort. He worked late into the night last night, and got up this morning and started in again. And this afternoon, around 2:00 PM, I was sitting on my couch, reading and sending e-mail WITH NO WIRES! ON MY LAPTOP!
I am one happy girl. And grateful to two caring, giving people who drove hundreds of miles and spent an entire weekend doing this thing out of the goodness of their hearts. Of course, they refused any compensation, but if they think I am going to let this go unrewarded, they've got another think coming.
It's good to know that chivalry is alive and well in the world though.
*Picture of coaxial connection by Matt Myles.