Roughing it

For the last week, the Edge household has been on the verge of a breakdown. Tempers flared. Frustrations mounted. Passions ran high. Reason teetered on the, well, the edge of sanity.

No, it’s got nothing to do with that orgasm denial stuff. We’re talking some damned serious loss of control around here.

The internetz was broken.

Ah yes, I saw some wincing out there, didn’t I?

The new family Dell E5120 has been acting funny. Keeps dropping the DSL connection, necessitating a reboot to get the connection back. A couple of weeks ago, my SIL and her partner came up to help me set up a wireless network, and while they were here (they’re both net geeks, and a little more up-to-date than I am) we looked at the connection problem. Jiggled some wires, poked at some settings, and they declared it fixed. Got the old PC working in “my office” (the code name for the room that my wife is decorating for me to use, in colors that I dislike, and in arrangements that are inconvenient) with a new wireless card, and things looked okay. For about 2 hours. Did an XP update, rebooted the machine, and lost the signal.

After poking around at that (the wireless manager simply would not “stick” on some of the settings), the SIL came by later in the week. Mrs. Edge said that she changed a couple of things, and it seemed fine. Then the next update came by, and neither machine could stay connected.

I’ve had a couple of pockets of limited connectivity, and at some point I was so desperate for all of you that I used my phone to browse (and I should give honorable mention to Opera Mini as a great replacement browser for the default things that ship on your phone) and even leave comments.

Anyway, I seem to have narrowed the problem down to the new Dell, but at this point I can’t tell if it’s a hardware or a Vista issue. But I swapped cards and cables all weekend, and now the old XP machine that I built a couple of years ago is the “main” machine, and the office, which I’d been trying to keep free of wires, now hosts the command center. But putting the wireless card in the new Dell seems to be working, and right now I’m not touching anything.

Yes, I know I probably voided my warranty. But I’m also not ready to sit down for three hours with Dell tech support. You won’t tell on me, will you?

Anyway, I wanted to mention that to be suddenly deprived of my nightly routine was horrible. Each night, instead of watching TV, I read the ongoing soap opera/sitcom of Kimba & Fusion, or poke through the musings of the various bloggers on my sidebar, perhaps read a bit of Richard’s ruminations, check my own blog stats to see how many people loved me that day, and I finish up by reading the comedy stylings of Bitchy and Elizabeth, with occasional guest stars, like May and Eileen. Then, my heart lightened, I turn in for the evening.

Being deprived of this quasi-reality socializing entertainment-ism made me give some thought to the idea of relationships. What are they? Are relationships different now that so many of us spend hours online in any given day? Do we read each other for the entertainment, to feel connected, perhaps to imagine that we have some kind of social standing? Are some of us being more or less “real” by adding to our blogrolls?

These questions have come up in various places for the last decade as people become more attenuated to electronic communication. I’ve thought about it myself any number of times; it’s probably good for me – for any of us – to take a reality check once in a while in order to evaluate our relationships and what we get out of them – no matter the venue in which they exist.

By the way – I’m grateful that you all didn’t skip out while I wasn’t looking. I’d miss you.

About Tom Allen

The Grey Geezer Dauntless defender of, um, something that needed dauntless defending. Dammit, I can't read this script without my glasses. Hey, you kids, get off my damn lawn!
This entry was posted in Blogging, Communication, Humor. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Roughing it

  1. maymay says:

    Oh, Tom. I love your pensive meta-blogging meditations. Also, it’s rather telling that you and I have probably orbitted one another for quite a few years, don’t you think?

  2. Eileen says:

    So, May and I were in Boston, and now we’re back and surfing together while eating a late dinner, and I’m trying like mad to catch up with everyone and realizing it’s just impossible at this point. But lovely.
    And then I turned to May and said, “I feel a bit like I joined a cult.”
    His response: “Honey, you kinda did.”

  3. so what’s the name of our sitcom Tom?

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I’m going on vacation the end of this week. I’ll have my laptop but limited wireless connection.

    What WILL I do???

    Hugs, I don’t know how you made it through. Glad you are back!

    E

  5. havingmycake says:

    It’s amazing how dependent we are on it, isnt it. When I went on hols, the prospect of an internet-free zone out of contact with all my fave blogs as well as any comments on my own filled me with despair. Fortunately, my phone has some kind of WAP thing that at least allowed me to access my gmail so I could read what other people had said on mine even if I couldnt read everyone else’s blogs. Five days seemed like an eternity! We have a couple of dead zones in our house, one of these my son’s room and the wireless connection to the internet just kept dipping out or using someone else’s who wasnt protected properly. It was very frustrating. It might have been to do with it’s proximity to the Sky dish but who knows. Eventually, we reverted back to a wired connection. It’s not always brilliantly fast but it’s better than periods of nothingness.

  6. Tom Allen says:

    cake & E – the difference is that when I go away, I don’t expect to have access, and so the mindset is different. An analogy would be a sports fan who is goign to be away when the big game is on the tube – he resigns himself to missing it. But if the cable went out in the middle of the game? That’s a horse of a different shoe size.

    Kimba – what? I can’t hear you.

    Eileen – Mrs. Edge is convinced that I’ve joined a cult, too. It’s worse now that the Edglette has discovered how cool being online can be. My next project is to set up an IM account so we can “talk” to each other across the house.

    May – I’m aware that we’ve crossed paths for a few years now, but I’m not sure what’s “telling” about that. Well, except that we’re both exceptionally cool, of course.

  7. Richard says:

    The web as part of my real life I think I’ve taken for granted for years now. I’ve had many useful and fun exchanges. Made a few real friends. And bet my last two lovers online.

    My interest in and attachment to the bloggers I read is a bit parallel to that I’ve always taken in favorite writers. Without thousand page biographies to read.

    It isn’t anything as pernicious, say, as the weird attachment some have for media celebrities and TV personalities.

    (BTW, red on gray is very, very hard on my eyes.)

  8. EuroPosh says:

    I got my Dell Inspiron back from the repair center AND switched to Netgear from Linksys, and something is not working well, because I keep losing connection. I know I should spend some time and diagnose the problem just to save time in the long run, but I am just so damn tired and annoyed by dealing with DELL’s customers service in India, that I am just waiting for the problem to magically fix by itself . I think I will just drop off my computer at my tech-oriented friends and pick it up after my trip to EUrope. that’s what I consider magic.

  9. Arafinwe says:

    So sorry to hear about your lack of connectivity, (though no one who reads your blog would be likely to believe such a thing was possible). I play my violin for you and offer but three words of advice:
    “Mac” …. “Mac” … “Mac”
    Internet access withdrawal is probably a diagnosed human disorder by now, the seriousness of which is only matched by how badly the poor computer takes it. You say that you miss blogging with your friends, well just imagine how it must be for that poor Dell. You can at least walk somewhere to have a conversation via the antiquated medium of direct speech, but that computer is tied down to your desk like a submissive slave wrapped in steel, addicted to the weirdest electroplay imaginable, and taunted mercilessly by the most cruel of software Dommes.

  10. Tom Allen says:

    Richard – I’m not wedded to this particular template.
    The nice thing about internet relationships is that when the need arises, you can unplug the modem. I’ve gotten overly involved with certain groups in the past (usually the result of long-running flame wars), and later questioned my own behavior.

    But I’ve also made some actual friends who I’ve met only once or twice, or not at all. Of course, that begs the question of “friendship”, doesn’t it?

    EP – Until a couple of years ago, I was the “do it yourself” guy. I built my own PCs form the case up, and used various software utilities to tweak things along. Lately, though, I just don’t have the time, and my knowledge is falling behind. Considering that I’m not an IT professional, I do pretty well, but lately I just bite the bullet and call someone to fix it. Kinda like my car, that way.

    Ara – Throw in a reference to leather boots and strap-ons, and you’ve got a great story in the making!

  11. Kimba – what? I can’t hear you.

    maybe thats because she didn’t write that…

    I was using her computer though…

  12. Cat says:

    I think the definition of “friends” can be questioned with or without the internet. I mean don’t you think in general we are more isolated and less personal in our relationships? I know I do. There are people that I see everyday who know as much or less about me as you guys do. So does that make you my real friends and them not so much?

    BTW I like the new template it doesn’t bother my eyes at all. And we don’t need a name for Fusion and Kimba’s sitcom. The regulars will stay tuned whether it has a title or not.

  13. Susan says:

    Living in Hooterville as I do my access to the internet used to be determined by the weather.

    Perhaps you have seen the ads for net service directed at yokels like me?

    Do you have a clear view of the southern sky?

    No, not when it’s cloudy or raining or snowing, the times I’m actually in my house and on the computer.

    Glad the turmoil was not caused by not not having sex:)

    Triple negative baby!

  14. Garry says:

    Sounds like a couple years ago… I finally replaced my ‘bargain’ router with a better one that matched the modem. Bingo… no more complaints.

    Now… back to serious relationships (in your case, and burying myself back into my latest contract. sigh…)

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