1 July 2007

Frustrating day with technology

I am writing this on my wife's machine after she has gone to bed as mine does not want to talk to the outside world anymore since I "upgraded" our home wireless network from BT Voyager 2Mb to BTHomeHub 5Mb.

I first got the new router working using this PC (running XP) which worked OK apart from the unnecessary changed the install made to the machine, i.e. making IE the default browser, putting 8 icons on the desktop, and installing Yahoo! Messenger with the preference set to load on every restart. I thought the days of software trampling over your hard disk like that had gone. It may even be illegal under the Computer Misuse Act.

To connect other computers to the new network the User Guide tells you to "simply install the CD" which does not help when a) two of my PCs do not have CD drives, b) I have seven PCs in the house, and c) we often have friends around who want to connect for game playing etc. At first I got around this simply by aborting the install process after it said that the new connection was working but before it spread unwanted Yahoo! software all over the place. A moan to their support desk, conducted as a web chat, established that I only had to modify the wireless settings for the new SSID and WEP key, which worked on the Ubuntu tablet just fine.

That left just my PC to do and that's where things went seriously and weirdly wrong:
  • the connection seemed to work first time but, for some reason, no applications could use it, i.e. they all timed out trying to find their host
  • when I tried the install CD (getting the external CD drive to be recognized was another challenge) it said that I did not have a valid wireless connection, even though it had worked little more that an hour previously
  • a longer chat to an Indian lady ended in deep frustration as she only had instructions for XP and I am running W98 still (the CD says it supports W98SE)
  • I installed the old router alongside the new one, seemed to connect to the old network but applications could not access the outside world then either
  • I uninstalled the wireless card but the uninstall process failed which meant that the reinstall process also failed. After deleting various components in network settings I was finally able to reinstall the wireless card but it still did not give me access to anything.
Desperation was getting high by now as an unconnected PC is a useless PC so I thought that I'd use the dial-up connection to Orange (a.k.a. Wanadoo, a.k.a. Freeserve), which I had last used about a month ago when staying in a hotel. The dialler did its stuff but instead of connecting to a gateway I hear a recorded message saying that this number should not be used anymore.

OK, so Orange could have written and told me this (they do have my email address after all) but I knew that the restore account process would install the latest version of the dialler with the latest number. Obviously I could not use my PC for this as it was unconnected so I used my wife's and made a note of the telephone number. Sure enough it had changed but the new one did not work either!!

So my PC sits in the front room unable to talk to anybody and I am running out of patience with trying to make it behave so I expect to be treating myself to a new MacBook in the next few days :-)

1 comment:

  1. You have my full sympathy. Techie stuff, who needs it, eh? Oh yes we do, but it can be, as you have described, extremely frustrating.I have still not sorted out my CD and DVD drivers with my new Vista machine. After some installation work they went on strike. I think I need to unistall them and reinstall them, when I have got time!

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