Sunday, August 20, 2006

It's Alive!

Finally--I have a fully functioning internet connection! And believe me, it wasn't nearly as easy to fix as I'd hoped. But I'm live-blogging from the wood-paneled cheesiness of the new world headquarters of

(Side note--I believe I had an English professor back in college that told me I should never use three prepositions in the same sentence unless I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death... HM)

I finally got the Desk from Hell assembled, and all of the bits and pieces of my own personal I.T. department moved over and hooked up over the course of the last three days when we had no internet service. But the Cox cable repairman showed up bright and early at 9:00 am on this sunny Sunday morning (Hat tip for weekend service--they could've just as easily told us to go scratch...), and was most helpful.

Turns out that there was no 'hub' issue like we were told over the phone--the problem was just a bad modem that coincidentally decided to die at the same time we lost our cable TV signal the other night, leaving us to believe that the two were related. And I actually have a spare cable modem, thanks to Dougie's generosity over a year ago... But since we were getting power to the modem, we didn't think that was the problem (because one light came on), and my roommate wanted to wait until the tech guy came out before we switched it out. The guy wasn't in the house thirty seconds before he diagnosed the problem.

Yeah, looks like your modem is fried.

And I had the other almost-new modem sitting there on the counter for the past three days collecting dust. But my roommate decided to just buy a replacement from the cable guy on the spot instead of having to replace it whenever I move out sometime in the future. A minute later it was hooked up, and both of my roommates that were home tested the connections in their respective bedrooms and proclaimed them good.

The cable man was walking down the driveway to the street when I tested mine, and almost got away when I realized that I still had no internet connection in my new room. It was all hooked up correctly, it appeared, but I could get no IP address to show and didn't have any connection whatsoever.

So we chased him down and brought him back in, and he did a few tests, scratched his head for a bit and we started running down wires. We have a hub/router in the back of the house with a tangled spaghetti mess of Cat-5 cables branching out in all different directions. Mine was the only blue cable, and it runs along the floor, through a hole in the wall to a closet, through another hole that goes outside, runs up the wall and over the roof, down the front of the house and through a hole in the wall in my new room--about 150 feet altogether. From there I connected a 15-foot patch cord that runs directly into my computer.

The initial diagnosis was that the router had a bad port on it because the blue cable at that end wouldn't 'light up' when it was plugged in. But we tried other cables in the different port outlets and they worked fine.


I envisioned myself spending my Sunday afternoon down at Fry's buying half a football fields worth of new Cat-5 cable and then sweating my ass off while running it through the walls and across the roof and such. Either that or coughing up the cash for a wireless card for my computer. It's much too early in the year for a fat guy to be climbing around on the roof, and I certainly don't want to spend any money on this obsolete computer, so neither option seemed particularly attractive at the time.


Just double checking the run of the cables, we noticed that once they got into the storage closet, there were two different blue wires--one going into the closet, but two blue ones going outside.


Unfortunately, it was another tangled mess of wires under the rug with about five years worth of my roommate's crap stacked on top. So the cable guy, my roommate, and I started pulling all of the junk out of the closet, tore up the carpet, and eventually found the unconnected end to a blue Cat-5 cable. We forced it through the hole in the wall, ran it to the router, plugged it in, and it lit up.

Hey, that's the one that goes to your room--it works!

I was skeptical, but the cable guy said it wouldn't have lit up if there wasn't a computer on the other end of it receiving the signal. I ran back to the other side of the house just in time to see my inbox filling up with 70 new messages...

Woo hoo!

So I asked my roommate if Tim (the guy who moved out, leaving me his room) ever complained about not having an internet connection or if he just went wireless.

Nope. He didn't have a computer.


But all is well, and I'm back in business! Good thing, too. Because lately this computer has been nothing but a twelve-hundred dollar deck of cards.


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