Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Of Telcos & Table Lamps
Friday was Big Schnitzel Day

Since I failed last week to get a proper picture of the Schnitzelbrotchen at the Schillermarkt, I decided despite a week full of cholesterol to risk my life yet again in the name of journalistic integrity ... here it is in its full splendor.

The Parnterin and I went out for Greek on friday evening, and when we returned, the house was dark ... really dark. Something had blown the circuit breaker for the living room, so the lights and all of the electronics were dark, which was truly a shame because it meant that the West Wing was not recording.

So having restored power, I set about looking for the cause. I went to switch on the table lamp I had bought at the Nebraska Furniture Mart about twenty years ago: This is the lamp the Partnerin has been bugging me to put in storage for some time despite protestations that this was the first lamp I had actually purchased as an adult, thus earning it a special place in the house. It was on a timer, so it should have been on ... "Gee, the bulb must be burned out." So I check it and yes, it is bad. Having replaced it, I switch it on ... Blue flash and then darkness. Yep, found the cause.

I stand in the dark for a couple of seconds wondering what would cause a lamp that had been working well for several years since last being moved ... these things generally don't spontaneously melt down, with failure usually coming when parts are moved. I'm the only one who touches the thing ... the Partnerin is not keen on American Table Lamp styling.

My mind wanders as I ponder the possibilities: "Hmmm ... Maybe NSA has been reading my blog, and in a rare incident of interagency cooperation, the clandestine service of CIA have planted a bug in the lamp to gather more up-close and personal information on what we eat for dinner, and in typical CIA fashion the damn thing has failed." Ok, I'm really not that paranoid ... just wanted to make this mundane part of the story more interesting.

But I digress.

Having unplugged the lamp and reset the circuit breaker, I sit down to check the e-mail. The Network is working, but I'm getting "Server not found" on all pages. Seems my internet connection is down. So I climb up on the China Hutch, where the router and DSL modem are stationed, and I confirm the router is OK, but the DSL modem is stone-cold dead. Seems the power surge killed it. I open it to see if their is a fuse to replace, and in classic cheap T-Com fashion, there is not. It is truly fried. And this is the one piece of equipment for which I have no redundancy. I could handle a laptop, network card, or even the router failing, but I have no spare DSL modem. Bummer.

So yesterday I wander down to my local T-Punkt or whatever they call it to get a new modem. If I were really interested in keeping costs to a minimum I would have bought one at Saturn or Media Markt, but I also decided to finally upgrade to the 6MB DSL service ... I figure I can talk them into tossing in the modem for free if I upgrade, which they do. In the bargain, I can eliminate two of five boxes in the telephone-network chain (this thing also manages analog appliances, which had required another attachment to interface with the ISDN).

Of course, as I walk home I think of the 6000 things I must now do now that I have essentially eliminated the need for a separate router, which was managing all of the wireless security. And this means that I need to collect a bunch of MAC addresses and put them into the MAC filtering of the new AP/Router/Modem and re-do the keys on all the gadgets. What price, paranoia ... I do have a healthy regard for the fact that someone can camp outside our front yard and sniff packets, and I'm not going to make it easy for them.

Surprise, surprise, this thing is up and working in less than 20 minutes ... the first good OOBE I have ever had with T-online. Better stop typing now while good karma is on my side.


Blogger Maribeth said...

Last May I had a total Bad Karma thing going where my Internet service was down for over a week and no one could tell me why. Finally a young man discovered that the wonderful home repair tech had sent in the wrong modem box number! I felt like I was totally jinxed.
Anyway, after another week, the Karma turned and all was well.
That schnitzel looks pretty good!

3:43 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger Haddock said...

Its good to finally here a good story connccted with T-com! :)

7:14 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger Claire said...

So did you get rid of the lamp? As a woman, I would have used that as proof that I was correct, i.e. the lamp is no good. Good to know that the telekom is helpful somewhere.

8:25 AM, May 22, 2006  

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