Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tech support

My internet had been slowing down recently. After a while, I also noticed that I was booted off frequently. If I didn't notice being booted, I certainly noticed the pop-up window saying I am 'now connected'. What? I was never NOT connected.

I became suspicious that someone was using my Wi-Fi. I used to have a WPA encryption key but my router got zapped in an electrical storm and the guy said that either I could buy a new router or I could go unsecured. That sounded hinky to me, more like the guy didn't want to deal with it at that moment, or he didn't know how. But no one was living nearby me and on the wireless list it only listed my network, so I went unsecured.

But lately the internet connectivity problems were getting worse and worse. Last week a pop-up message after I got booted off, said, "Another computer is wrestling with your IP address and there is a conflict" or something like that. I don't have another computer. The pop-up error message confirmed my suspicions.  Neighbor Net was underway.  Now, if they are stealing Wi-Fi from me, a paying customer, that is their moral quandary. But if they are doing something illegal, and the police track their activities to my IP address, it's MY legal problem. Enough is enough.

I searched on the internet and found tutorials on how to detect if someone else was using your wireless. In addition to my computer, I found a Blackberry and an Android have been on. I don't own a Blackberry or an Android. A-HA!

I found another tutorial on how to set your own encryption key. It took me a while. There were two false starts. Once, I pressed enter and the screen froze and went black. I hate when that happens. I pictured smoke coming out of the router and the modem sprouting wings and flying off in a crazed dash against the window, like a wounded bird.

I rebooted and amazingly the wireless network refreshed with my encrypt! Yay! I'm IN, safely!

Not so fast. Apparently now I had to make the service provider reset the router to reflect the changes and recognize them. I did that by myself too. I rebooted once more and what a relief, the little icon started blinking happily and the little radio waves coming off the icon were green.

I was live on the internet again. I felt really proud of myself that I kept it up and stayed calm and finished the job.

I have three online ministries which mean a great deal to me. My entire social life (by choice) is online. My entertainment is online. I don't like being off even for a few minutes. I don't even like thinking I won't have access even for a few minutes. Call it addiction. Call it an active writing life. Call it anything you want, just don't call it offline.

I was thinking last night about life before internet. What did I used to do? I can't really remember. I didn't get online until 1997 or so. I was 37 then. As an adult in the 80's and early 90s at night I guess I'd just read or cook or make art or listen to music. Cable tv was new in the 80s, and there was not a lot of programming then. I remember when MTV went 24 hours. It was a big deal. Back then we used to rent a VCR machine (few people owned a personal machine themselves, though that changed fast) and rent movies and watch those.

I'm unashamed that I love the internet. I think it is a great invention. I am unashamed I spend so much time on it. I read news from other countries, I write to people far away, I watch documentaries like "Atom" and biographies of people like Richard Feynman (who, it turns out, was not such a nice guy). I look at art and read about art interpretation. I look up words in Greek. Mostly I listen to sermons or Gospel music, or encourage friends on email or Facebook or Twitter.

I'm glad that patience and perseverance allowed me to fix my internet connectivity problems. I'm glad that the internet has such good tutorials. I'm glad no one will be piggybacking on my Wi-Fi anymore or stealing bandwidth for either benign or nefarious purposes. Mostly, I'm glad to be back online after only two hours of tech trouble, lol!

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