Saturday, July 15, 2006


A few days ago, in the midst of many arrangements, commitments and confirmations online, my computer flashed the sign at me, "Cannot connect with the pop-server."

The problem with this, other than the obvious, is that it does not tell you WHY it cannot connect. It never tells you why it cannot connect. The only way to find out WHY is to find out yourself.

First, you try everything you can with software. You do this, because you can do this while sitting. Of course, that doesn't work. All you get is a squeaky clean computer that "cannot connect with the pop-server." Then, you climb beneath your desk, because you get to wiggle each one of your cords not once, but twice, because you have to make sure "everything is plugged in" at both ends. Add several reboots along the way, and you have a very smooth running machine... that "cannot connect with the pop-server."

Then, you are forced to call your cable modem service provider. I did not have an ear piece this time, so I was forced to press my cell phone with one hand, and type with the other. (Typing with one hand isn't so bad after a while. It feels like I've been doing it for years!) The first person to whom you speak has a set of tests he talks you through. Not so bad, but if those don't work, they transfer you to national help, and they have to make you do those tests again before you go to the more advanced tests.

These tests involve climbing beneath my desk (which, at 300+ lbs. I HATE) unplugging and plugging back in the cable modem, counting solid green and flashing amber lights, sending commands through DOS, oh and waiting. Waiting for your computer to do something on the phone is a very awkward silence, even for nerds.

Nothing worked. So, no internet for two days.

There is also the friend factor. Mostly, I call people to help me think of things I can try that I haven't tried yet. This time? Lots of verbal shoulder shrugs. The last time I went through this, I had to unplug six plugs, load it into my car, drive it to a friend's office, load it just so he could tell me, "Your computer is fine. Look, I'm on the net. Must be one of your cords." Load it, take it home, unload it, climb back beneath my desk, plug everything back in by touch. THEN, I get to go to Nerdateria to the amazing world of ...*drumroll* ethernet cables.

So, I want to be smarter this time around. I was going to make some sort of try with the wire, even though it's only four months old. One nerd-on-retainer told me that the blah-blah was on the motherboard, and that I could buy that blah-blah seperately and plug it in there. (I could provide the details, but trust me, my version was much more interesting. I'm glazing over thinking about it.)

Before I leave for Nerdateria, I dig through the package my provider gave me. There's a ethernet cord, but a USB cord. You may ask, "What's the difference"? The difference is, A LOOPHOLE. I love loopholes. So, I try this cord, and it works. Works works works. This time, no lifting, no loading, no unloading. Much less swearing. And, it only took 135 minutes on the phone with tech support. I did learn one thing, though.

The phrase "motherboard" is missing a word in the middle.