Whoa! Didja get the numbers off that truck?!?

April 24, 2004 - 7:11 a.m.

Unhelpful Desk

The UPS truck delivered my new DSL modem yesterday. It's tiny, about the size of a paperback book with a weak plot. It's so cute! My trusty Westell Wirespeed now languishes in the bottom of the trash can in the kitchen. I wonder sometimes how many gigabytes of ones and zeros got funneled through that thing?

Thing is, all that was in that box was the modem. Typically they put a CD in it with drivers and such. Undaunted, I carried it upstairs and plugged it in.

We're a two computer family at the JohnnieV household. I have this one upstairs and another in the dining room that the kids are supposed to use. They prefer this one. I do too, it's a bit faster. The one downstairs was slaved to the connection up here; that is, you couldn't access the internet unless this one was turned on and logged in first. It wasn't such a big deal but I always wanted independent connections.

I can do that with this one. Present day modems have the PPPOE protocol written in firmware. Have I lost you? That dialog box thingy that you use to type your name and password in. The protocols used to reside in the computer memory, now they're built into the modem itself. But, you have to address the modem first, to get to that portion of memory, and you do it with a browser. You do this once, after that the modem negotiates your connection for you.

I know all this stuff because I went through this with the Gardenangel's computer last winter, when her DSL modem hiccuped one night. I had a very anxious teenaged girl hovering over my shoulder whilst fixing this, she had to get to her man!

It wasn't obvious to me, I needed the IP address of the modem. So I called the SBC Yahoo "help desk" and got a very mechanized sounding Matthew on the phone. He robotically repeated back everything I was saying... probably vamping while he went through his little troubleshooting tree. I played his game because I knew what I needed. My Rosetta Stone was the IP address. Work with me, Matthew...

After answering all the obvious and insultingly stupid questions, he confessed that he couldn't help me. He would have to send me the installation CD, that was the only way to unlock the secret code to pave my way to the smooth new info highway I'd be driving on. I explained that I had already waited five days for a modem (Matthew's pronunciation of it: "Mow-DEM"), and now I was gonna have to wait another five to use it? He apologized all over the place in his sharp politically correct fashion, and gingerly delivered the sad news.

Ok, thanks, bye.

Hmmm, let's see... Start, Run, Command. IPCONFIG. There it is. Launch browser. Type in IP address. Bingo. Login screen. Username. Password. Done.

I get 634 kbits down and 132 kbits up. Not bad!

the last one -*- the next one

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